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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Trust the heavenly banquet

At a loved one's graveside, we need a gospel that carries us beyond this life

"If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied" (1 Corinthians 15:19). Paul uses these words about Christ's resurrection and ours to express one of the most important yet often misunderstood hopes for the church. Trust in God serves not only this life and this world but also the world to come. Far from providing escape, our future-looking hope sets this world in proper perspective, freeing us to serve our neighbor.

"But that's only pie in the sky by and by," some people sniff at talk about the hope of resurrection and the promise of a heavenly banquet. True, some people talk about heaven to avoid dealing with earth. But the New Testament proclaims a God whose promises point beyond to a new, eternal life. One teacher, accused of teaching on "pie in the sky," retorted, "What's the matter? Don't you like pie?"


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