Headstones and foundations


My family gathered Easter morning to lay my dad’s headstone, celebrate his faith in Christ and the freedom it brings. Easter is important because the resurrection of Jesus laid the foundation for everything that will last beyond the grave. Here’s my thoughts on that from a while ago.

We live in a world of passing fancy, of quickly-made junk and torn-up contracts – a world of new deals that seem old and worn. Only three things will endure forever: faith, hope and love and the resurrection of Jesus is the foundation for each of those.

The resurrection is the foundation for our faith because as Paul says in 1 Cor. 15: 14, 19 “if Christ has not been raised then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain….If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we of all people are most to be pitied.”  Timothy Keller asks, “If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn’t rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said?”  The historical evidences supporting the resurrection (and there are many) mean that our faith is not blind or in vain; and that the scripture, which speaks of and points to Jesus, is not an epic fantasy or delusional wish-fulfillment.

The resurrection is our foundation for hope. Hope in Jesus is not a wing and a prayer. It is an expectation. We may hear someone say they ‘hope’ for world peace, but studying world history and surveying our planet tells us we have no reasonable expectation that it will ever be a reality. Hoping in Jesus is different because he fulfilled his word by his resurrection. Now we have an expectation that what he promised for us awaits (1 Peter 1:3-9). This is our only hope. When we embrace the message of the cross and the resurrection, we are encouraged by the hope that our Creator is a God who redeems the suffering and pain and garbage we endure in this life. Because we have hope, no matter how dark our Fridays and Saturdays, we know that Sunday is coming.

The resurrection is our foundation for love. Dostoyevsky said “If you were to destroy the belief in immortality in mankind, not only love but every living force on which the continuation of all life in the world depended, would dry up at once.” Here’s a cliché, “Love conquers all.” Usually clichés are true. What could possible lead us to believe this one is true? No matter how much I love my wife Christy, when one of us dies, no amount of love is going enable a resurrection. There is no greater longing in humanity than for a love that never dies. Only once did love conquer all – in the death and resurrection of Jesus. According to 1 John 4 God is love, love was made manifest in Jesus, the only love that will never die is the love that he enables by his Spirit in us, and this living love gives us confidence for the time to come.

And another time is coming. One day, this shifting world will pass away just like each of us. The universe as we have known it (with our fractionally-used, often-overheated brains) will cease to be. As Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 13 “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love endure, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”


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