2 Corinthians 5:10 & 17
10 for we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
One of the mental images I believe the Holy Spirit gave me years ago was about finally meeting Christ face to face before that judgment seat. I’ve only shared it a few times and no one seems as wowed by it as I am. It was certainly meant for me. But I think it speaks of what the reality of anyone entering into eternal life with Christ will be like. As believers in Jesus we’re prepared but we’re not perfect. That moment of meeting is more than a pat on the head with a “well-done,” because life-saving reality requires absolute reality.
This is my vision of absolute reality, I am wrapped in Jesus’s arms, prepared for eternity…but first…I see my life for the first time through Christ’s eyes, like a movie. Frankly some of what I have to see makes me weep tears of sadness that I missed the mark so many times. But they are not tears of guilt or punishment, they are the final cleansing. They are the tears of purification. There in Christ’s arms, preparation turns into perfection; the purification of the heart, soul, mind and strength that knows the absolute reality of life and love that will last all of eternity.
In my own grief since Ken’s unexpected death, only last Friday morning that image comforts me in a new way. This time it was my husband wrapped in Jesus’s arms being loved and assured that his preparation in life is now the absolute reality of the purification of his heart, soul, mind and strength. He is loved by Jesus and perfect, forever. There’s a newer memory that comforts me too, something Ken repeated only last Thursday evening, Jesus Loves Me, This I know. I can easily imagine Ken singing that simple song he believed was the essence of his Faith, that next morning wrapped in Jesus’s arms, knowing he was right all along.
At about 9 a.m. Friday, April 9, my beloved husband of 62 years, Conrad [Ken] Bedient was killed in a motorcycle accident. At the end of those 62 years with tear filled eyes I can testify that instead of time diminishing our love, we understood the reality of our love more than ever before. I was still his bride. He loved me with a love that allowed me to become the woman I am today. Not even death can take that away. I can imagine him standing beside Jesus right now and urging Him to comfort me. I believe that because that’s how Ken lived his life of faith.
I am leaning harder on Jesus that I ever knew possible. I’m trapped by the desperation to avoid any familiar routine because that seems like a denial that my world has caved in and yet sitting here in the midst of no familiar routine is just as bad. Even a simple thing like making the bed, alone, has reduced me to tears. Every familiar part of life is going to be a reminder that I am now alone. I just don’t know how to do life right now.
I find myself sitting with my eyes closed a lot, like I’m trying to shut out the world. I’m heartbroken and shaken to the core. I’m never far from tears and my body is shaking most of the time. Those are the details of my need for your prayers. Friends and our two daughters are here with me. Their presence is the one blessing that reminds me there is still constancy I can count on. I am thankful for them. Please pray for all of us who knew and loved Ken as we try to cope with this unthinkable loss of husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend.
John 19:28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Jesus’ words “It is finished” are an important reality of our life in Christ. I thought about their importance to the personal drama of my own “first” Easter with Jesus. It felt so big, so dramatic, so epic…and so complete…but it had just barely begun.
I wonder why it’s so easy to look at epic moments in our life of faith as finales when beginning right there on that cross, our hope lies in exactly the opposite being true. That’s the truth of Jesus words “It is finished.” Easter was not an epic finale but The Crescendo of a New Beginning.
13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him. 17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
Preparation has been completed
Jesus is Risen!
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is earthshakingly dramatic. It’s the most critical part of our life of faith. That’s BIG! Our hearts are filled all those BIG things today; Praise, Gratitude and Alleluia’s. This is the Day the Lord has made! This is the day that ends weeks of participating in self-directed “remembering” to focus on celebrating Easter 2021. Jesus described Himself as the way, the truth and the life. That was a bold declaration for a man who knew death was ahead of Him. The resurrection was God’s bold declaration that Jesus’s description was truth.
There is another quiet part of the resurrection of Jesus that we need to remember and celebrate too: Jesus’s post-resurrection encounters with His friends. They were revelations of Himself speaking peace to calm their fears, reassurance to dispel their doubts, guidance to direct their futures and giving them His trust that would empower them to live IN their faith. It’s the quiet part of the resurrection that continues beyond this Easter celebration. The Way of crucifixion is Jesus quietly providing access to a new beginning as they ”walk along.” The Truth of “discussing” healed scars is testimony of resurrecting love that can quiet hurting hearts. The Life “together” with Jesus is the quiet part of trust; He is alive IN every part of faith for every day of every week AND this Easter morning. That’s BIG! Alleluia!
Jesus, the Way, the Truth, the Life has the final word this Easter…
“What are you discussing “together” as you walk along?”