Preparing for a trip makes me feel like a kid. To celebrate our 40th wedding anniversaries another couple, my husband and I took a cruise to Nova Scotia. Before the trip we discussed what to wear, what land excursions we might take, what to take to avoid seasickness. We took out insurance in case we had to cancel. As our date of departure for my first cruise approached, I got butterflies. But I focused on the destination and didn’t worry too much about what I left behind.
Perhaps that should be our attitude as we approach our trip to heaven. After all, that’s the trip of a lifetime, better than any cruise or party or vacation. It’s all paid for by our Savior on Good Friday. And our passport is stamped by His resurrection on Easter Sunday.
If we lived in Old Testament times, we would have to slay a lamb and paint its blood over our doors at this time of year in remembrance of that first Passover. During the Egyptian plagues, the Israelites were protected from the death of their first born by the blood of that slain lamb (read Exodus). Until the destruction of the temple in 70 A. D., the Jews practiced animal sacrifices. The blood of animals “covered” their sins but did not eradicate them.
But once Christ died, such sacrifices were no longer required of those who believe in His Name. Our sins are erased by the blood of The Lamb, and we are made righteous. Our way to heaven is paid, so we can prepare for it with all the excitement and butterflies we feel for earthly excursions.
Yes, it’s natural not to want to leave Planet Earth. We lead good lives. We enjoy family, friends, food, nice homes. We say God is good, all the time. And we mean it. Well . . . He is just as good when He calls us home.
Every birthday brings me closer to that trip. Closer to death. But closer to the resurrection as well. Paul says absent from the body is present with the Lord, referring to our spirits. And when Christ returns, Paul tells us, the dead in Christ shall rise first. These crippled, hurting, broken bodies will rise from the grave and be united with Christ in the air. If we’re still alive when He returns, we will be caught up with them.
So what preparation do we need to make? For starters, we want to make sure we feel comfortable about meeting God. If we don’t, we can talk to a pastor or another Christian who can assure us through scripture that in Christ our sins are forgiven. We need only recognize Him as our Savior. That is our insurance. Without Him to plead our case, we will be separated from the Father forever. I don’t know what hell will be like, but I certainly don’t want to find out. I’m sure you don’t either.
Once I’ve settled the spiritual issue, I can quit putting off filling out the booklet given to me by my doctor that states what measures I want others to take to delay my date of departure. Questions ask how I want to be treated (Hmmm . . . I like easy listening music, warm bed buddies . . . and chocolate) and what any final wishes are (Cremation? No, thank you).
And finally, I can assure my family that they need not grieve for me, because I will be on the trip of a lifetime!
Easter means far more than a new spring outfit and going to church, far more than egg hunts and marshmallow chicks. Easter means I will live forever in the Presence of my Savior!
Happy Resurrection Sunday! And BonVoyage!
May 4, 5:30 p.m. - Augusta Baptist Church, Sunbury, Ladies' Appreciation Dinner, "At Any Age, At Any Stage: Celebrating the Christian Life."
May 11, 5:30 p.m. - Mountain Presbyterian Church, Sunbury, Mother-Daughter Banquet, "That Face in the Mirror: Who Do You See?"