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St. Paul writes to the Thessalonians, “We do not want you to be uniformed brothers and sisters, about those who are asleep, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope…”
One of the members of the congregation in Thessalonica has died. He was a believer. He was baptized into Christ where he died with Christ while he was still alive, and was raised with Christ before he died. But now, the brother or sister in Christ has FALLEN ASLEEP.
To “fall asleep” is a good way to think about the death of the believer.
What is ‘SLEEP’ but a time of ‘REST.’ When our bodies are tired from a long day’s work, or as we get older, even a short day’s work, SLEEP is a needed and welcome relief. And if it’s a good sleep, we awake in the morning, refreshed and ready for a new day.
To all who have ears to hear, Jesus says, “come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you REST.” (Matthew 11:28). REST that awakens to a new day that never ends, fully refreshed and completely restored, never grow weary again.
Sleep is also the place where we find rest for the troubled mind and the anxious heart, troubled and anxious from the tensions and stresses and disappointments and sadness and grief that pile up and weigh heavy on me and that as hard as I try to ‘put them behind me,’ I can’t get them off my mind. Sometimes, it’s like a battle within me that I get so weary of fighting.
But in SLEEP, the battle suddenly stops. All of the mental clamor and commotion is switched off. It’s like a cease-fire is declared and everything is quite and there’s peace.
To all who have ears to hear, Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27)
It’s as though, while we were sleeping, the whole world declared PEACE ON EARTH, GOOD WILL TO MEN. And every conflict is over, and every trouble is past, and every worry is gone.
“We do not want you to be uniformed brothers and sisters, about those who are asleep, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope… Continue reading