Monday, March 23, 2009

Passage and Beyond...

I'm about to re-read a book by one of my favorite authors, Connie Willis. It's called Passage and deals with death and the so-called near death experience (NDE).

I was googling this morning and I was surprised to discover many recorded instances of the dead coming back to life. Which as a Christian fascinates me of course. The bible records several instances of dead people returning to life. The most famous and crucial one for us of course is the resurrection of Jesus.

Interestingly, Jesus is the one whose body has been most damaged prior to his death. He has been scourged and crucified, producing huge trauma and blood loss. Death on the cross usually occurs by a sort of drowning in the lungs from fluids and in fact before taking down the body a Roman soldier pierces his side and out pours blood and water. Exactly what one would expect.

Yet, miraculously after three days and the accompanying decomposition, Jesus' body is brought back to life. And then, even more significantly his body ceases to exist in this realm. He is raised to his Father. Think about that and decide if it could be true. If his body was still around here somewhere and his followers had discovered it they would not have believed and gone on to do and say the things they did. Or his enemies would have found it and used it to discredit his disciple's claims. Could someone have removed it from the tomb guarded by Roman soldiers and hidden it? How could anyone keep something like that a secret? How could a Roman guard be so easily circumvented?

And then even more miraculously, over the next several days and weeks, Jesus begins to reappear to people, in a recognizable body. Often this body materializes inside a locked room, where he demonstrates that he can eat, he can be touched and held. And then he disappears again. Without these experiences, how could his disciples have been transformed from people cowering in a locked room, fearing for their lives, to powerful witnesses of his Life who founded a world-changing movement?

So, I guess when we refer to the resurrection of Jesus, it's not just that he comes back to life that is significant. That apparently happens more frequently than we might realize (see videos and links below and decide for yourself if these are real.) When we refer to Jesus' resurrection, the truly unique and awesome aspect is that he then goes on to be Raised to the Father. He is fully re-united with God, while keeping a physical aspect! And then he moves in and out of our time-space continuum. Now this boggles the mind - as intended.

Happy meditations on all this during the Passover & Easter seasons!

A Discovery Channel show (also some links below to more stories):

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