"The God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Now He is not the God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto Him."-- Luk_20:37-38.
WHAT IS Death? It is not a condition but a transition; not an abiding-place, but a passage; not a house, but a doorway. The Scripture refers to it as a birth--"the first-born from the dead"; as an exodus --"after my exodus," says Peter; as a striking of the tent--"I must shortly put off this tabernacle;" as the weighing of an anchor--"the time for me to loose-off from the shore is come." Each of these metaphors accentuates the fact that Death is but a momentary act. We are absent from the body one moment, present with the Lord the next.
Persistent Personality. In that other field we shall surely recognise each other, and shall be as close akin, yea, closer than we were in long-past happy days, when heart to heart had sweet converse, or co-operated in useful ministry. Abraham will still be Abraham; Isaac, Isaac; and Jacob, Jacob. Not bodiless ghosts, but living personalities etherealised and transfigured. Moses and Elijah were recognised as such by the startled disciples on the Transfiguration mount; and Mary knew the Master in the Garden. What gain would it have been that Jesus promised the dying thief that he should be with Him in Paradise, if, when he reached there, he could not recognise the Lord?
Persistent Love. Love will never fail! But how can it exist without an object; and how can it forget! Why did Jesus promise the "many mansions," unless He meant that there should be homes! He knows that the heart clings, even in the light of Resurrection, to the dear objects of human affection, else He would never have mentioned Peter's name, nor have sent a message to His disciples, nor come a second time for Thomas! And will He ignore those natural cravings for us, whom He has loved better than Himself? How deep and sweet His assurance: "If it were not so, I would have told you!" Charles Kingsley asked that on the grave stone, which stood above his wife and himself, should be inscribed the words: "Amavimus, Amamus, Amabimus"--We loved, we love, we shall continue to love. And who shall challenge the truth or appositeness of these words?
Persistent Activity. "His servants shall serve Him!" The tasks we bungled here with our apprentice-hands will become possible; and unravelling our tangled skeins, we shall weave such fabrics as our wildest dreams never imagined.
I pray Thee, O Lord, to deliver me from the fear of death; and when mine eyes open in the dawn of heaven, may I see Thee standing to welcome me, and may I receive Thy Well-done! AMEN.