+ In Loving Memory: Phoenix Singh +
Saturday of Easter II + 10 May 2014
+ I believe in the resurrection of the body +
– The Apostles’ Creed
St. Paul preached the resurrection of the body (I Cor. 15:20-26). In Adam, St. Paul says, all die, as we see so profoundly today. Indeed, we cry. We are broken as we have never been broken before. But see how Christ has reversed the curse of death and made all things new! Jesus took the curse of Adam, the sting of death, yes, even the sorrow we feel this very day and nailed it to the cross. He died under the crushing weight of all sin, of every sudden death, and the sadness we know today. And Christ stepped out of the grave that first Easter Sunday, triumphant over sin and death. He rose not just in spirit or soul, but in His body, promising that those who are in Christ will also be raised from the dead. What blessed joy and comfort that is for us as we mourn the loss of Phoenix. The believer is not so much dead as he is asleep. And we all know what happens to those who sleep: they get up the next morning. And so, when Christ comes to finally destroy every evil power and authority, He will awaken Phoenix and all the faithful, and they will rise from the dead to enjoy a mother’s kiss and a father’s embrace in the life that knows no end.
Martha believed in the resurrection of the body (St. John 11:17-23). Her brother Lazarus had died a few days before. She was quite right when she said that Lazarus would not have died if Jesus had been present, for no one succeeded in dying in Jesus’ presence before Good Friday. And then this promise from Jesus, for you: “Your brother will rise again.” And hear Martha’s words of faith: “I know that [Lazarus] will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Again, hear the words of great comfort in the midst of our sorrow: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who believes in me shall never die.” Yes, “whoever believes in me.” Nick and Jeanna, we commend you for your excellent Christian parenting in bringing your children to church. The word of the Gospel, as we know from several Bible stories, cuts right through the mother’s body to the ears of the baby. Infants hear and believe the Gospel. And Jesus promises that those who believe shall not die eternally, but shall have everlasting life – the rich and abundant life of Jesus Christ!
These three Bible stories stand together on this solemn occasion to preach the good news that Phoenix will rise again in this very body. Nick and Jeanna, I don’t know why you chose the name Phoenix, except perhaps your habit of naming babies after places, as per your first son, who is named Memphis. But Phoenix is the perfect name because, according to ancient legend, the Phoenix bird sets itself on fire and dies a glorious death in its own nest. But then, out of the ashes of its own making, it rises to life, and spreads its wings over all creation. The ancients even believed the very tears of the Phoenix bird had healing power. And so this beloved child, named Phoenix, has come all too soon to “ashes to ashes, dust to dust.” But this young body will rise again, even from the depths of the grave, to the glories of the final resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. He will see fulfilled the promises we heard this morning from King David, St. Paul, and Martha, because these promises are written in Jesus’ shed blood and confirmed by His resurrection. Christ rose from the dead and spread His healing wings over all creation. And so will Phoenix and all who believe in Him who is the Resurrection and the Life!
+ Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! +