Where are the Dead in Christ?
My apologies for my long absence. Life is busy at the moment, but I have few excuses other than my sloth. :-)
This month I am teaching at the Collegeside Church of Christ in Cookeville, TN on Wednesday evenings. I chose as my subject something that I have read, studied and reflected upon for many years. Topic: Where are the Dead in Christ?
On the one hand, I immediately grimace when I raise the question. I remember many polemical debates and sermons about the topic. I have no interest in polemics on this question. My concerns are pastoral, meditative and theological. So, as I share with you on this question, this is not a polemical but a pastor-theological context. I can only share my perspectives in the context of my own meditations and experiences.
The question is an important one for me. Ever since my wife died in 1980, I have thought about this question. I have rarely taught about it since I have often thought it too speculative to press. But it has consumed some prayer and meditation time in my life. And I have noticed that it is an important question in the minds of many grievers. They are not interested in polemics either, but they are curious--not so much in a "I have to know" kind of way, but in an anxious kind of way. What I mean is that agnosticism here has an unsettling effect upon the heart. It becomes, where it should or not, oppressive and debilitating at times.
And answers like "they are with Christ," are soothing but informationally and even affectively vacuous. It leaves the griever hanging, at least it did me and does with some who have shared their anxieties with me.
So, I will attempt to share in the next few days with you. Thoughts, and even experiences, that have comforted my heart. For it is peaceful for me to meditate now upon where my wife, my son, my father, my brother-in-law, my grandparents and my many aunts and uncles experience ongoing life. And part of that peace is that there are somethings (better, there is Someone) that I experience with them. We, even now--separated by death--share experiences and participate in the same reality.