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Raised in Glory

But someone will say, "How are the dead raised? What kind of body will they have when they come back?" Look, fool! When you put a seed into the ground, it doesn't come back to life unless it dies. What you put in the ground doesn't have the shape that it will have, but it's a bare grain of wheat or some other seed. God gives it the sort of shape that he chooses, and he gives each of the seeds its own shape.....It's the same with the resurrection of the dead: a rotting body is put into the ground, but what is raised won't ever decay. It's degraded when it's put into the ground, but it's raised in glory. It's weak when it's put into the ground, but it's raised in power. It's a physical body when it's put into the ground, but it's raised as a spiritual body. If there's a physical body, there's also a spiritual body. So it is also written, The first human, Adam, became a living person, and the last Adam became a sprit that gives life. But the physical body comes first, not the spiritual one-the spiritual body comes afterward. The first human was from the earth made from dust; the second human is from heaven. The nature of the person made of dust is shared by people who are made of dust, and the nature of the heavenly person is shared by heavenly people. We will look like the heavenly person in the same way as we have looked like the person made from dust. This is what I'm saying, brothers and sisters: flesh and blood can't inherit God's kingdom. Something that rots can't inherit something that doesn't decay. -1 Corinthians 15:35-38, 42-50

So the Sunday is probably gonna seem a little bit like deja vu when we talk about resurrection, 'cause that's what we've talked about the last two Sundays, and yet it bears the conversation because, well, everything, everything about our faith is rooted in an established upon resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus, the empty tomb, is the beginning and end of our faith, that all of it matters because Jesus died and rose again, and Paul has spent a lot of time trying to explain this, if all, spent a lot of time, particularly to that community, trained to address some of the concerns that they had, because even in Bible study, we talk about it and we think, Boy, these weak, frail, frail, flabby bodies that we have now, who wants to spend eternity with this? But yet God has a plan for it. Paul tells us that these bodies will be raised again in some fashion, and so he continues his conversation, and many of Paul's conversations follow the practice of the Greek philosophers and orders where he proposes a question and it doesn't say that... Well, John came up to Paul and said, Hey, Paul about that. But he speculates and says, Well, someone will ask, how are the dead raised? And what kind of body do they come with, and Paul, and see if I can muster all of the compassion and pastoral care that he had in that moment, looks at this hypothetical person and says… DUH

Well, some of you will ask, How does this happen? What do they look like? And Paul's first word is fool, but then he goes on to explain it to the best of his ability. And he begins using that image in that metaphor of a seed, he says, You all know how seeds work, right, the seed isn't complete... The seed isn't the end result, it has to die, it has to be placed in the ground and buried like we do with bodies before it can emerge to new life. And I think Paul would even admit that analogies and metaphors often have shortcomings and that if you pick at them enough, you'll find flaws where they don't exactly line up, but he spends a lot of time talking about this, look, this substance and the stuff that we're made of isn't the same stuff in substance exactly we're going to be made of in the next life or in God's kingdom, He says something's going to happen, there's gonna be a transformation and a change that takes place. He's also adamant about it, that God also is not giving up on this stuff that he has created us of, he's not gonna throw it away and start over, and he talks about how Adam, the first, was a man of dust, and he alludes back to Genesis, to that creation story, where we're told that God formed humanity from the dust of the Earth and breathed the breath of life into humanity.

And part of that has reinforced that idea that there's physical dust and Spirit, God's breath, and that somehow God brings them together and that beyond this life, those get separated again and go their different ways, and yet Paul says No, what God created and what God brought into being God declared it to be good, but that good that God declared isn't quite ready... to enter into God's kingdom. And so something needs to change, something needs to happen, and again, Paul makes his best attempt at explaining this.

A little bit later, at the end of chapter 15, Paul says, listen, and I'll tell you a mystery, he spends all this time explaining, and then he comes back to the point, Okay, here's the mystery, and mysteries are those things that we just can't quite put our finger on it. So th