TEXT: Matthew 25:31–46

The space age has generated its own questions. One asked recently was, “What would astronauts do with the body of a crew member who died on a long voyage to a distant planet?” A scientist replied, “The body could be pushed out into empty space where it would dissolve into cosmic nothingness.” The prospect, while frightening, is obviously true. Yet even in this materialistic age, we remember the long Hebrew, Greek, and Christian traditions with the joyful hope that while the body may dissolve to “cosmic nothingness,” life continues.

We listen to Isaiah as he writes: “Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for … the earth shall cast out the dead” (Isa. 26:19b). We view death with “the Preacher” and hear: “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Eccles. 12:7). We peer over the rim of eternity with Daniel and are stirred by his words: “Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Dan. 12:2).

When we turn to the pages of the New Testament, the words of Jesus lift our hopes to the stars: “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” “My sheep hear my voice … and I give unto them eternal life.” “In my Father’s house are many rooms.” He proved his words with his resurrection in triumph over the grave, and now, hope becomes assurance.

We turn the worn pages of an old philosophy book and hear the most venerable Greek philosopher, Socrates, say on the eve of his execution, “… when I have drunk the poison I shall leave you and go to the joys of the blessed.… Be of good cheer, then, my dear Crito, and say that ...

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