December 29 - Messiah - 1 Corinthians 15:51-57

Saturday, December 29, 2012

December 29 - Messiah - 1 Corinthians 15:51-57

Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. The trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality.

Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 

After writing Messiah, Handel continued to write dramatic oratorios in “Samson,” “Belshazzar,” “Solomon.” He wrote dramas based on classic Greek tragedies and a gloriously patriotric concert piece, “Judas Maccabaeus.”  Like any talented composer, he faced criticism for his work.  There were those who thought his Italian operas were ridiculous, then turned around and criticized his musical settings of Scripture as profane.

I remember sitting with Mom before she died. I was weeping because I knew how much I would miss her.  She was ready to be done on earth. Her body had fought too long and too hard and she was finished with this place.  She said something to me about the fact that we would be together again in heaven and since I was feeling quite sorry for myself, I remarked that it was going to take a long time and those would be difficult years because she wasn't around.

We started talking about those years between her death and mine. One thing she said struck me.  “Diane, I know you’re going to live out years that seem like a long time on earth, but for me, it will be like the twinkling of an eye before I see you guys again.  I will shut my eyes soon and in just a moment, we will be together again.”

When I was little and anticipated an exciting day, Mom always told me that if I would just go to sleep rather than fight it off, the time would pass much more quickly and when I woke up, the new day with all of its fun and excitement would be here.  I learned she was right.  We tell our children to go to sleep on Christmas Eve so Santa can come and deliver gifts.  Their last thoughts are filled with excitement and anticipation as they shut their eyes.

We fight so hard to stay here on earth. We only know the limited excitement that is ours while we are alive.  What, though, will happen when we close our eyes for the last time on earth? Paul tells us that death isn’t the last thing we will know.

Imagine the moment – that twinkling of an eye moment – when we open our eyes and see Jesus face to face.  Never again will we face sorrow or fear. Never again will we know death.  We will know victory in Jesus Christ.