I Corinthians 15:12-20 (NRSV)
Verse 12Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? Verse 13If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; Verse 14and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain. Verse 15We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ-whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. Verse 16For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. Verse 17If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Verse 18Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. Verse 19If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
Verse 20But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died.
Mel was the sexton at our church cemetery. He meticulously cared for the graves with reverence and hope, because he had three children buried there and because he knew the resurrection to be the heart of his life and faith.
We care for all people and all of creation, in the midst of much loss and death, with great suffering love and compassion, because we and all creation are joined to each other in Jesus’ death. The death of any is a loss to our family. And we care for all people and all of creation with great hope, liveliness, and trust, because we are joined to Jesus’ resurrection, the first fruits of the promised transformation of creation.
Our God refuses to abandon creation to dead ends and death. Our God is a God of life and transformation. Alleluia! We are freed to live in the aliveness of every moment.
O God of resurrection, fill us with the hope of a future transformation. Bring that hope to bear upon this day and enliven us for lives of love and service. Amen.