Acts 10:34-43, Psalm 118, Matthew 28:1-10

April 4, 1999 by Tad Mitsui

The changes that happen to human bodies between twelve and sixteen years of age, are exciting ones. Boys are transformed into young men, and girls into young women. Voices change, beards start to sprout. Curves develop where there was none before. Some changes may be embarrassing or even scary. But we know those physical changes are normal – not just normal but they are exciting and wonderful, because they tell you that you are growing up into a whole new world. We must celebrate those and many other signs, because your bodies have begun the preparation to join the grown-up society.

There are other big and normal passages into different stages of our lives. A fetus leaves mother”s body and changes into a baby, a child into an adolescent teenager and into full adulthood, and an adult into a senior and eventually into a next stage of life through a passage called death. There are also small changes that happen all the time in the normal course of life. New cells are born and old ones die in our bodies every second by the billions. We get rid of dead cells little by little, whenever we take a shower. Butterflies, dragonflies, and snakes shed their old skins only a few times in their lives, but we get rid of old selves bit by bit every second, everyday. Our bodies are completely new every three months, if you speak about them only as cells and their chemical components.

Life is like a river. It is never the same, and that”s normal. You wish that an adorable and cute a year old baby stays the same forever. Never mind, it will soon turn to be a little devil of a terrible two. When your daughter – a little princess – treats you like you are the most precious thing in the world, just wait a few years until she turns to be a teenager. She will treat you like a public enemy number one. But that too will pass. Life moves on.

When two women, both of them called Mary, went to the grave where Jesus had been laid, they could not find the body. They were told by the angels, "He is not here." Don”t look for a live person at the same place. He is not there. A live person moves on. That is the message of Easter. Jesus went through the passage of death, and moved on to another phase of his mission. And he showed us that we have nothing to fear from change; transformation is always about discovering new life. Death is never the end of the story. So, let us not mourn the passing of the old. Let us celebrate new phases of life, even if it is old age, or even death, because it is a normal passage of life.

This is why the church has a celebration for every passage of life: Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, and Funerals. I personally think that there should be more, maybe once in every ten years, because all of us keep changing through out our lives. We welcome babies into a community through Baptism, and promise to support the parents to bring up the new born in the best way possible, the way of Jesus Christ. We welcome adolescents into the adult community by receiving them into full membership of the church. We mark those passages of life and celebrate them as a community.

But life goes on. It means there will be many twists and turns, ups and downs, happy and sad, easy and difficult. Children leave home, and people may quit the church. But you must remember, Christ is alive and lives within you and me. No one will ever be able to be separated from the love of God in Jesus Christ. God bless you.

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