Easter is a time of rebirth and new life. Plants that look dead during the winter regain their strength of life. Insects and bees are flying around. Children are coming out of their homes to enjoy nature and the resurrection of life. It is truly a wonderful time to live and explore God’s nature. My Nancy and I were once members of Aldersgate United Methodist Church, the congregation among whom we were married. I can remember that every Easter, the Rev. Bob Cofield who was the pastor of our church, would have young butterflies that he would release on Easter Sunday. They had just become butterflies, and Bob would use them to represent the glorious resurrection of Jesus as well as the fact that our loved ones who were no longer on this earth were now with God in Heaven. This makes me think about my parents, Charles and Betty Miller, who are now with the Lord. I had very fine Christian parents, and I miss them deeply. My parents had and still do have unconditional love for me. My mother had come from a very poor family. Her father would work long hours, but he still had a hard time. My father’s family has a unique history. I have ancestors who were members of Britain’s Parliament and were related to prominent relations. Even though that is true, my father’s family lost everything during the American Civil. My father was not able to get the education that his forebearers had received. He was a hardworking man and was employed by the Ford Motor Company. My parents were not able to obtain the things I now have, but thanks to their hard work and love for me, I was able to achieve many things. I am more proud of them than any of my ancestors.
As I have already said, Easter is time for resurrection of life. That renewal of life symbolizes things that are much greater than that. As the Apostle Paul said in II Corinthians 5:1:
For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
My father went home to Jesus April 11, 1985. It was a day I shall never forget. I came home that night and wrote the sermon that was to be used on April 13, 1985, the day of his funeral. A pastor friend of mine carried out the ceremony for me. At the end of the service, Scott said: It is my belief that today Charles Miller, aged fifty-six years, has a new body. It was not that my father will have a new body; on the contrary, it was that he has a new body. Eternal life was his the moment he accepted Christ and in some way he was with the Lord even though we could not see that.
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, a liberal Methodist minister once said the following to a friend whose son had just left this life: I know how you feel, George. But may I just say to you, your boy isn’t in that cemetery. Only the mortal remains of your wonderful son are there. Where is he then? he asked. He is right here with you now, for you loved him, didn’t you? He loved you, and you were both in Christ. He isn’t in that cemetery. Peale then writes the following:
When our loved ones leave us, we lay away their physical bodies, no longer needed, like coats that are worn out. But at the time of death, the person is released into a heavenly body.
Revelation 7: 9-17 demonstrates that the people of God who have left this life are already with him. Somehow eternity makes that possible even before our Lord’s Second Advent in time. One can also see that in Colossians 3:1-4. We need only to look at spring and Easter to see that God renews life. Keep that in mind. God bless.