A New Creation

By Miriam Rossow, Communications Coordinator

In the last months, the world has changed due to the pandemic. Overnight our lives were turned upside down. We have been asked to stay in our houses and only venture out for the necessary items of food and medicine, and even those items we are encouraged to have delivered. Everything; church, school, shopping, and socializing have all been moved online. In order to support, encourage, and teach we are all trying new things.

My kids' school has a chapel service each Wednesday while in session. Of course, they cannot do that now, so chapels have been moved online and are offered by different people and families. We recently offered to have my children share a message for one of these chapels.

For our chapel we used the last song, We Will Rise, by Kip Fox from the When From Death I'm Free Hymn Journal and the readings from 1 Corinthians 15 as the basis for their message. You can watch the original and entire Chapel service from St. Paul here or here on our website.
As I recorded my kids sharing the message of hope, new life, and resurrection I realized that they were sitting on the bench that sits over the top of my dad's ashes. He died of cancer almost 6 years ago.

' We will rise up from these ashes, as He rose up from the grave.'

This is the refrain from the song. We are placed in the ground after death. We are returned to the dust that we came from. We become ash even if we are not cremated. Our bodies are buried in the ground.

As my kids sat over the ashes of their grandfather, I grieved that they had a grandpa that they may not always remember clearly. I grieved that he would not and had not been part of their lives, the special occasions, and events. I grieved that he would not be part of their everyday life. I grieved that he was not part of our living in his house again and watching them grow.

I rejoiced that he was not battling cancer any longer.  I rejoiced that he was at rest. I rejoiced that he would one day no longer be ashes. He and others that I love and that you love, and us if we die before Jesus comes again, will be raised.

In death we are planted in the ground like a flower bulb. When we are raised, we will not be raised back into ashes or our old bodies. The promise of the resurrection is that we will be raised NEW!  We will be raised as full-grown flowers. We will be ourselves and yet we will be fully grown and different and not recognizable at first.

Remember Jesus after His resurrection? He was not recognized by His followers right away. It took Him saying their name, opening their eyes. He was the same and yet so different they didn't recognize Him. He went into the ground a bulb and came out a full-grown flower full of new life. He is the first fruits of the resurrection. In our baptism we are connected to and receive His promise of resurrection and new life.

The promise, maybe even surprise, miracle of Jesus death and resurrection isn't just that sin is defeated, and relationships restored. It is that in His death and resurrection we get to receive a place in the New Creation. We receive a promise, not only will we get to rest from our labors in the presence of Jesus, we will receive a new creation body. We will receive a body that is perfect, and that shines in the glory of the Lord.

Many years ago, I read the Twilight series. This was an attempt to stay up to date on what my children were reading. That goal has long since been shelved. In the last book there is a description that has stuck with me for many years and helps me imagine what it will be like to receive and see our resurrected bodies. (Spoiler alert... this description comes in the last book after a pivotal moment. I am sorry if you have not read the series. I think you can still enjoy the whole series even knowing the following details and scene.)

The series describes vampires as amazingly beautiful creatures. Their true selves are seen when the sun shines on them. In fact, in the sun they glow and sparkle. Besides being so magnificently beautiful the vampires also have heightened senses and amazing strength. They are very perfect specimens.

In the last book, Breaking Dawn, a human transformed into a vampire. The description of the first time she sees herself is to me an intriguing description of what our new creation bodies will be like to us. Of course, I am not suggesting that we become vampires or that any part of this book is theologically correct. I am suggesting that the way she experiences herself after the transformation can help us understand this idea of being the same yet so completely different.

'My first reaction was an unthinking pleasure. The alien creature in the glass was indisputably beautiful every bit as beautiful as Alice or Esme. She was fluid even in the stillness, and her flawless face was pale as the moon against the frame of her dark, heavy hair. Her limbs were smooth and strong, skin glistening subtly, luminous as a pearl.

My second reaction was horror.

Who was she? At first glance, I couldn't find my face anywhere in the smooth, perfect planes of her features.'

from Breaking Dawn, The Twilight Series
Our resurrected bodies will be so much more than the perfect image that we can imagine of our bodies. Our resurrected bodies will be so different from the bodies we currently are living in we will look as different as a flower does to the bulb it came from! We will be so full of life, with senses that are heightened, and bodies that perfectly glorify our maker!

So as I celebrated this Easter, I rejoice in the promise that my dad will rise out of the ashes he is now. He and I will be given new resurrected bodies that reflect us. And even better, they perfectly reflect our creator.

' We will rise up from these ashes, as He rose up from the grave.'

Watch the Family of Faith Devotional titled A New Creation from the Rossow children. 

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