To Pastor Brian,
The way you loved Pam and I through this is unspeakable. Your words still bring life to me. Thank you for saying Ben’s name over and over again in your message. Thank you for loving our son.
To everyone reading this,
Please read this slowly, it’s just amazing… and full of hope.
John 11 (The Story of Lazarus)
Lazarus, come out / come forth. (vs. 43)
And the dead man came out. (vs. 44)
I wonder what those words sounded like? I think to the onlookers, they probably sounded like normal words. Strange words to be sure, but normal. It wasn’t like Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings when his voice changes when he speaks words of power. But at another level of reality, those normal sounding words were anything but normal.
In some unknowable way, those words twisted and turned and wound through the hidden corridors of existence and eternity.
Those words travelled through distant realms going to places almost never before visited… breaking through barriers virtually unbreached… until they burst forth into the Halls of Death where the principalities and powers were assembled. Death, Sin, Satan, Misery, Evil, Hatred of Life, Despair. There they were.
Those unholy halls were violated by Jesus’ words of life and love, joy and hope. As if those horrible entities in that unholy place existed not at all, those words of power and life brushed them aside, scattering them like leaves in a hurricane and seized hold of the one named Lazarus. And in an instant, those words brought that spirit, that soul, that essence back to his body.
At the same time, those words of power and life spoke to other principalities. They spoke to the powers of Entropy, Decay and Disintegration which had taken over the body of Lazarus . . . At the cellular levels of existence, where there was only death, the fires of life began to course through that shell, recreating everything, supercharging it so that the physical body could obey that irresistible summons when its soul was rejoined with it. Come forth.
For these words were not only unimaginable, they were irresistible. I think, few times since the very beginning, were such words of power and love spoken.
Those words were of the same order as those spoken in the beginning – let there be. Ex nihilo. Out of nothing. And there was. Lazarus come out. Ex mortis. Out of death. And he did.
I believe in the resurrection of Christ.
I believe in the return of Christ.
I believe that the returning Christ will return to restore all things.
I believe when Jesus returns, his first order of business will be the resurrection of all that must be raised.
On That Day, (which is how C.S. Lewis referred to it) Jesus will once again speak unimaginable and irresistible words when he says: Benjamin Edward Miller, come forth. And he will. Benjamin will come forth to new life. And oh what a day that will be.
That is why the church, especially at times has learned to pray:
Maranatha… come quickly… return soon, Lord Jesus and speak those words of resurrection.
That is why those who love and follow Jesus, at times like this, we grieve, but not as those without hope. Oh no. Never as those without hope. Sadness yet. But sadness always tempered by strong words of hope.
That is why we are always drawn forward… further up, further in (to use the language of Narnia) to that better, distant country spoken of in Hebrews 11 and even more so in Revelation 21-22.
This is what we believe.
Not only will Benjamin come forth to new life on that day, but we will all be taken forward to a new place we will enjoy together.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth . . .
I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God . . .
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, Now the dwelling of God is with men and he will live with them. They will be his people and God himself will be with them and be their God.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. No more death, or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
He who was seated on the throne said, I am making all things new. Revelation 21:1-5
Oh what a day that will be.
But that day is not today.
It is not this day.
So now we wait.
John and Pam, your long wait has begun.
The suitcase is packed.
And through the years of that long waiting, may your love and joy, your wisdom hope grow strong and deep and true.
Lord Jesus, until Your Return and until the Resurrection of the dead, into Your hands, love and safe keeping we commit the spirit and soul of Your child, and John and Pam’s son, Benjamin.
And now may the Love of God the Father and the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Peace of the Holy Spirit guide, guard and keep you. Now and forever. A-men.