1 Corinthians 15:35-38, 42-50 (NRSV)
Verse 35But someone will ask, "How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?" Verse 36Fool! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. Verse 37And as for what you sow, you do not sow the body that is to be, but a bare seed, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. Verse 38But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. Verse 42So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. Verse 43It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. Verse 44It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. Verse 45Thus it is written, "The first man, Adam, became a living being"; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. Verse 46But it is not the spiritual that is first, but the physical, and then the spiritual. Verse 47The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. Verse 48As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. Verse 49Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we will also bear the image of the man of heaven. Verse 50What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
In today's world of industrial-scale farming, few people other than gardeners truly grasp the wonder of a seed—a simple kernel; then a tender sprout curling out of the earth; and finally, rich, full leaves, stems, maybe someday a trunk, reaching for the sun.
Attempting to help the Christians in Corinth understand the resurrection of the body, the apostle Paul draws on his listeners' intimate knowledge of this basic process. He contrasts the seed that is sown—the perishable physical body, dishonored and weak—with the new life that blooms from it—the imperishable spiritual body brought forth in glory and power. By God's hand, the perishable is made imperishable.
God's commitment to life, however, is reflected even beyond the miracle of resurrection. We see it in every act of healing, every wrong made right. Through God's all-encompassing love, the depths of despair are filled with the bounty of hope.
O Lord Jesus, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is despair, may we lavish hope. Amen.