Life Eternal, Life Beyond Death

Life Eternal, Life Beyond Death

The Nicene Creed says, “We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.” The Apostles’ Creed professes a belief in “the resurrection of the body.” 

Using language that has not been altered or updated since 1808, the United Methodist Book of Discipline says, “Christ did truly rise again from the dead, and took again his body, with all things appertaining to the perfection of man’s nature, wherewith he ascended into heaven, and there sitteth until he return to judge all men at the last day.”

“Resurrection” is one of the central doctrines of the church. That Jesus died is actually not that remarkable; a lot of people were crucified by Rome in Jesus’s day. What is remarkable is that he didn’t stay dead. He rose. Jesus transcended death and is alive forevermore. 

Charles Wesley’s great Easter hymn puts it this way: 

Death in vain forbids him rise,

Christ has opened paradise.

Death is a reality in the Star Wars universe, of course. The story deals with numerous deaths along the way. Each of the main characters has to grieve a loved one, or multiple loved ones, over the course of the story. One of the most poignant is the death of Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Obi-Wan is struck down by Darth Vader, and the entire moment is witnessed by Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan’s student and friend. And as Luke processes his grief, over time he discovers that his teacher hasn’t really left, that they still maintain a connection. This connection is mystical, mysterious, and beyond Luke’s understanding. Yet it is real.

In a way, resurrection is similar. It is through the power of resurrection that we stay attached to those who have come before us. The doctrine of resurrection connects us to our ancestors so that they continue to shape our lives, long after they die. Resurrection is the life that transcends death, in real and tangible ways. 

This week we will continue our series, “May the Force Be With You: The Theology of Star Wars.” And we will think together about life, and death, and life eternal. Like Luke said to Rey, “We’ll always be with you. No one’s ever really gone. A thousand generations live in you now.”