How The Story Ends | 1 Cor. 15:51-57

Cinderella4Cinderella was the first Disney movie my daughter got to watch. As we sat down to a family movie night, I was ready for a gleeful, starry-eyed reaction and hugs of gratitude for her dad and I.

Instead, she asked to turn the movie off several times.

Cinderella, as it turns out, is a little scary to a 2-year-old. Yes, I’m talking about the G-rated, family-friendly, relatively vanilla animated movie. There isn’t much tension or drama in it. But our toddler doesn’t know yet that all these fairy tales end with a “Happily Ever After.” Thus, any tension is scary to her.

Which means pretty much every movie is scary for her.

Donald Miller, in his book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, explains that every movie plot is about a character who wants something and overcomes challenge to get it. Without a challenge of some sort, there’d be no story worth watching. Thus: every movie is scary for my daughter.

The first time, that is.

I’m sure you can guess what happened after that anticlimactic viewing of Cinderella. About a week later, tentatively, Eleanor watched it again. And then a few days later, again. And then again. And again. And again and again and again…

I already knew that small children like to watch movies over and over. Now I know part of the reason why: Once they’ve seen how the story ends, the tension isn’t scary anymore.

We are all living stories of some sort. We are all, as Miller points out, characters who want something and are overcoming challenges to get it. We all face our own unique challenges, but there is one we share in common:

Death.

The Corinthians asked Paul about death. They were expecting Christ to come back pretty quickly, so their question was something along the lines of, “What happens to those who already died?” In 1 Corinthians 15 we get to read Paul’s response, including where he reminds the Corinthians how our stories will end. It’s not with death.

Paul quotes the Old Testament twice to emphasize how Christ defeated death:

“Death has been swallowed up in victory,” (Isaiah 25:8).
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (Hosea 13:14).

Yesterday, for All Saints Sunday, we remembered “saints” in the New Testament usage of that word, meaning all Christians from all times. Because of the Resurrection, we can remember our “saints” who have met that challenge of death – and come out victorious on the other side.

This story we are living has its challenges, death not least among them.
But we can live bravely and live well because this story is written by a Good Author.
This story ends well.

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One comment

  1. Margaret Wood · · Reply

    AMEN!

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