Posted in reflections

Resting in peace, rising in glory

Grave marker of Hector Pieterson, boy martyr of the Soweto uprising, 16 June 1976“Mommy, what is it like to die? Mommy, will it hurt?”

The 1955 film A Man Called Peter, based on the life of Peter Marshall, contains a story by the late pastor and Senate Chaplain, where this earnest line is on the lips of a terminally ill young boy, Kenneth. His mother does not know what to respond to her sickly son, and runs to the kitchen, supposedly to tend a pan on the stove. Finally, she has an inspiration, and reminds her son of a time when he had come home from playing outside. Exhausted, Kenneth had fallen asleep on the sofa. Later, his dad arrived home from work and gently picked up his sleeping boy in strong arms and carried him upstairs, laying him in his bed, in his own room. “Kenneth,” his mother said, “death is like that. You wake up in your own bed, in your own room, because Jesus loved you and carried you in his strong arms.”

In the same way, the Apostle Paul comforted the Corinthians:

Listen, I tell you a mystery. We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in a twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. – 1 Cor 15:51-52, NIV

We lost a member of the community this week. In a tribute, the site manager emblazoned a banner on the front page. Part of the message read:

May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

That’s a simple and comforting message. One day, I shall close my eyes in death, and one short sleep later, wake up in the presence of Jesus. What a resurrection promise!



Greg is interested in many topics, including theology, philosophy, and science.

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