Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – November 14, 2020
For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 1 Corinthians 15:22 (ESV)
Years ago, my wife and I were blessed to spend several days in the city of Rome. We saw all the sites, ate gelato with every meal, and got intentionally lost on ancient cobblestone streets. However, one site that we intentionally sought out, which will forever stay with us, were the catacombs where early Christians were buried. These underground tombs were outside the city limits, reflective of the social disdain and rejection of this religious minority group. Within these tombs there was much to marvel at, especially their size and scale, yet the most impactful to us were the multiple chapels that have been excavated in recent years.
Though it is difficult for us to fully grasp, early Christians had a close bond with the dead, especially the dead in Christ, so much so that they gathered in their tombs and created holy spaces of worship alongside those who had gone ahead of them. Why? Because they knew what we are prone to forget: the dead are alive in Christ and we together worship the same Lord.
It is difficult to live a faithful Christian life. Taking up your cross and following Jesus can be a lonely and isolated journey, increasingly so as our society moves further and further away from the way of Jesus. And yet, just like the early Christians, we are invited to take great comfort and encouragement in the fact that we are surrounded by “a great cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 11:1). As the 17th century poet Thomas Traherne said, “To delight in the Saints of God is the way to Heaven…With all their eyes behold our Savior, with all their hearts adore Him, with all their tongues and affection praise Him.”
You may not gather underground in a tomb to worship in secret anytime soon! That said, you and I would be wise to regularly and intentionally cultivate a rhythm of celebrating the faithful who have gone ahead of us. We look back to the strength of their witness and faith in Christ, we find encouragement in the present, and with them we share in a longing for a future day when every tear will be dried and every wound perfectly healed.
“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this” (John 11:25-26)?
Father, as we look to the heroes of our faith, help us to see you in them, and join them in looking to you for our hope and peace. Amen.
Give thanks to God today for 3 people who have been an encouragement and inspiration to you in your faith journey.
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It is difficult to live a faithful Christian life. Taking up your cross and following Jesus can be a lonely and isolated journey. #alive #WisdomHunters #truth #Jesus
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