Great Plains Daily Devotional for 4/6/2021

Today please be in prayer for

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Today's Lectionary Text

1 Corinthians 15:50-58

What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will 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 will be changed. For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:

“Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

Today's Devotional

Happy Easter! As I was making my preparations this year, with the memory of a rather empty and gloomy Easter last year, I thought about simply preaching and celebrating the return to normal, seeing the year without Easter as a glitch in the normal patterns of our lives. This whole year, in fact has been a balancing act between providing worship experiences that seem normal, or at least remind us of the normal when things are far from being business as usual. I decided in the end to lean into Mark’s account of the empty tomb, the one that end with the women standing in terror and amazement. The Easter I feel this year is not a return to normal, but an open-ended life after the experience of death. The future is hopeful, but not comfortable and certain.
This scripture for today is frequently heard in the funeral liturgy. I can hardly read it without thinking of a cemetery carved out of the wind-swept prairie. It is a statement of hope in the face of the experience of death, that death does not have the final say. It is also a text whose comforting words hide the challenge of resurrection. We tend to long for an eternity that is simply the continuation of life as we know it. Frequently, our “cemetery talk” reinforces this idea. But Paul is speaking into a fantastic, fundamental, unprecedented change. We are promised an immortality and an imperishable body that replaces our limited and sinful selves. God promises to lift us from decay, not simply to preserve us, but to change in into imperishable holy vessels of God’s love. And that is hopeful. But it is also awe-some and if we are honest, terrifying.
If we are faithful to this radical promise of resurrection, then we know our work will not be in vain, and we will excel in the Lord!

-Rev. Daniel Norwood
Barnes, Haddam, Washington UMC's

Prayer for Reflection

Merciful God, we stand in awe and terror at the promise of resurrection. May we see your vision and cling to the transformation of our lives into the reflection of your love you long for us to be. We know it is your love that clothes us with imperishability, that lifts us to immortality, that calls us to excel in working towards your Kingdom and Kin-dom. In the name of the Risen Christ we pray. Amen.


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