But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. … Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. ESV
It’s almost that time again — the running of the Boston Marathon. I am surprised at the number of people I know who will be running this year. I ran a marathon once — when I was a lot younger and several pounds lighter. For me, it was a very grueling experience. I hit the wall very early (at about 17 miles) and was not sure I could finish. In fact, I am quite sure I wouldn’t have finished except for one very special friend, Randi. She was waiting at the 20-mile mark. As I came running by (if you can even call it running at that point) and when I saw her, I stopped and declared that I was done. She calmly reminded me of how far I had come and that I only had 6 miles to go. She helped me to focus again on the finish line and what would be waiting for me there. All of a sudden, I was ready to go at it again and eventually, I finished.
We have just celebrated the highest holy day of the Christian year — Easter and the account of the resurrection of Jesus. This is the only hope for the Christian believer — that Jesus died as our atoning sacrifice to cleanse us from our sins and that He was raised again from death to reconcile us to God. This is what Christians understand to be the Gospel, the good news! If we confess Jesus as Lord and believe that God raised Him from the dead, then we are united with Him in death and in resurrection. Everything is roses after this, right?