Please watch this short video in conjunction with this article, https://youtu.be/iT3hYXjZ6oA , called: “We Shall be Changed”. It has its roots in 1 Corinthians 15:50-55, and resonates with where my ministry has taken me, as a Chaplain for the very old. It revolves around hurdles, we all face at one time or another, but as we approach the last stages of life, the final hurdle calls out for something for us, to hold on to. The light at the end of the tunnel.
” I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:“
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
A vision to live on and approach our own mortality with.
Such incredible words. Such incredible force. The inevitability of ‘The change’ or death, we all know is coming to us but also the assurance of spiritual life a Christian holds real.
Death is swallowed up in Victory
I spend a lot of time around people for whom, those words are soon to be fulfilled. The perishable aspect of our last days is gruesome, there really is no other way of describing it, but the final relief and freedom from the waning body, has to be glorious.
Recently, I spent time with an elderly couple, at an assisted living facility which I have not visited before, who were going through the agony of their failing bodies; he more than she. Right off the start he desperately asked me to get him back to bed because he said he was so exhausted; the nurse would not let him, because he had spent too much time in bed and only just got out. He would have to wait till after lunch. He felt sick to his stomach and could not imagine the act of eating. Sitting in a wheel chair and slumping over a table in the common room, the television was blaring commercials. Nobody seemed to notice the television, as loud as a leaf blower in the room.
The pain this man was experiencing was tangible, but he was caught hostage to the authority and care of the attendant. I prayed with the couple, but felt complete opposition all around. As if there was mockery pouring out at my attempts. Why would I expect to come into a situation, so established, and expect to see relief for my friends. The television was relentless, lunch was not coming, the hopeless pain was too much for me. So I decided to get them both out into a nearby court yard, away from the noise. After wheeling them out, I started praying again, now just in my prayer language and forcibly, holding on to both of their hands.
Finally my man started to relax, the extreme exhaustion started to lift, he lent back into his wheel chair. The hot Floridian air was caught by a breeze that lifted his hair. With open eyes he told me the Holy Spirit was cooling him and he started to see flashes of color in his eyes. Orange, bright, flashes he said, over and over, as they appeared. The pain was gone and a smile was back. He is 96 and she is 94.
They are dedicated to each other but not married, both of their spouses have passed, so they care for each other now. Together with God, they face their hurdles, wondering if this is going to be the final one in this perishable life; knowing, we shall be changed.
Christine has just finished the beautiful Our Lady of Guadalupe Icon and is ready to ship it to California. It is an amazing icon! She will be leading an intergenerational art activity for our church later this month on “The Face of Jesus”. Together we are facilitating a small group also for Church of the Redeemer, that will meet six times this summer. It’s a wonderful effort to help us draw closer to each other in our relationship with God.
Well, that’s all for this month. We hold you all in prayer and ask for your prayers also.
Love and prayers,
Michael and Christine Hales