Is There Real Life After Death?

On Easter Sunday, I preached a different kind of Easter Sunday sermon that generated more "buzz" than almost every Easter Sunday sermon I've ever preached. 

In that sermon, I explored the most glossed-over foundational aspect of Christian theology: the belief in our bodily resurrection.  

In essence, the idea is that when all is said and done, you and I will one day be raised to new life in bodies, natural bodies that are more completely "us" than we might possibly imagine.  

We've been trained for so long to imagine life after death as something spiritual, ephemeral, and somewhere else that it's hard for us to conceive that God might have something else in mind. 

But there's something within each of us that longs for the good things in the world to last forever.  We get a glimpse of this when we experience eternal moments that we don't want to end.  

Every one of us has memories of days that felt perfect or moments when our hearts were bursting with joy at what we were seeing, feeling, and experiencing.  

These eternal moments could be as simple as dinner with friends, a long, languid afternoon with a beloved, or a day spent in our favorite place.  

Maybe we stood before a majestic mountain and marveled at its beauty.  Or perhaps we waded into the ocean and watched the waves roll over our feet as they sunk into the sand. 

Fr. Richard Rohr taps into this longing in his book The Universal Christ as he reflects on the implications of Jesus' being raised from the dead in a body that was like no other but still tangible, real, though different than before his resurrection: 
If the universe is anointed or “Christened” from its very beginning, then, of course, it can never die forever.  Resurrection is just incarnation taken to its logical conclusion.  If God inhabits matter, then we can naturally believe in the “resurrection” of the body.  More simply said, nothing truly good can die! (Trusting that is probably our real act of faith!) 

The essential Christian belief that fueled the Jesus movement in the first three hundred years after its inception was that God's plan for all Creation, including us, is real, "bodily" resurrection.  

I know this is hard for most of us to put our minds around. Still, this belief held the Christian movement together long before there was a Bible and long before there were denominations, institutions, and the like. 

This means that all those beautiful moments in our memory, the eternal experiences we've been wonderstruck by in our lives, and all the beauty we've witnessed in the world will never die.  

They will be reborn, just like you and me.  They will be even more glorious than before.  All that is truly good "gets another go," to put it in terms my friends in the UK might employ. 

Because when God created, according to the Genesis account, God called Creation good, and then God called humankind "very good."  

This is not the end, friends.  There is more.  On the other side of time, as we know it, God is already there resurrecting a new world, a new Creation, and a new us. 

May this holy vision sustain us through all our days, now and forever.  And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us all.  Amen. 



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