Speaker: Jerry Cisar
There is broad confusion in western culture about what happens when we die. Just visit one of the make-shift altars that invariably pop-up at the site of a tragic death or mass shooting. Or read several customized decals on cars in tribute to someone who has died. Is the departed an angel, doing their favorite activity in some alternate universe, or still with us? This confusion was illustrated in one message left outside Buckingham Palace, as if spoken by the departed Princess Diana: “I did not leave you at all. I am still with you. I am in the sun and in the wind. I am even in the rain. I did not die, I am with you all.”
Most peoples’ view of the afterlife seems as if they took contradictory ideas from Christianity, Hinduism, and a handful of other religious ideas, and mixed them up in a bucket. With all the confusion, it’s no wonder that, culturally, hope is in short supply. And, as N.T. Wright says, “in the absence of real hope, all that is left is feelings.” And frankly, without hope, most of those are not going to be good.
This Sunday’s text, Genesis 49–50, covers the dying scenes of two great patriarchs: Jacob and Joseph. In a book that includes the story of the flood and describes the effects of the fall, one might expect these scenes to be absent of hope. But they are far from it. The book of beginnings ends imparting hope that will carry us to the end. Hope in life, and hope in death. These last chapters of Genesis bring us face to face with hope in life through God’s blessing, and hope in death through God’s promise.
Join us in worship as we celebrate the glorious promises that we have in Jesus Christ.