Home improvement shows on television have captured the hearts and minds of the American public. These shows have developed a formula for their programming that has a vast, wide-spread appeal to its viewers. They start with something is old/broken/out of date/no longer feasible. Then Joanna Gaines, Ty Pennington, the Property Brothers, et al swoop in and go to work. That thing then gets fixed/updated/remodeled/expanded as the viewers watch the workers apply their craft, and the homeowners drop in occasionally to fret or complain. Finally, after the last set of commercials, we get to see the BIG REVEAL. The homeowners stand in front of their house, and the large “before” mural, or the bus, or their blindfold is removed, and PRESTO CHANGO, their home is beautifully and impossibly changed for something incredibly better.
The genius of these shows is that they make us wait for the end product. The majority of the show is dedicated to the transformation process, as we see walls coming down, plaster going up, farm tables being built, impossible obstacles being overcome, and so forth. The big reveal only takes up about two to three minutes of the entire show, but it is always worth waiting for.
In the 13th Chapter of Corinthians, Paul teaches us about faith, hope and love. Then he makes this remarkable statement:
1 Corinthians 13: 11
“It’s like this: when I was a child I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child does. But when I became a man my thoughts grew far beyond those of my childhood, and now I have put away the childish things.
In the same way, we can see and understand only a little about God now, as if we were peering at his reflection in a poor mirror; but someday we are going to see him in his completeness, face-to-face. Now all that I know is hazy and blurred, but then I will see everything clearly, just as clearly as God sees into my heart right now.”
The BIG REVEAL. Paul assures us that what we see now is only a glimpse of heaven. What we know now is only in part. What we understand about the kingdom of God is childish. But when see God as he is, we shall know, face to face. Our earthly existence is a process of transformation. We submit to the Master Builder’s plan and take down old and unsuitable habits and attitudes. Meanwhile God crafts new, updated and more Christ-like behaviors in our actions and thoughts. If we allow it, God rebuilds us from the inside out in preparation for that time when we experience our own Big Reveal.
See what we say at the beginning of every funeral:
Dying, Christ destroyed our death.
Rising, Christ restored our life.
Christ will come again in glory.
As in baptism (the departed) put on Christ,
so in Christ may he/she be clothed with glory.
Here and now, dear friends, we are God’s children.
What we shall be has not yet been revealed;
but we know that when he appears, we shall be like him,
for we shall see him as he is.
Those who have this hope purify themselves
as Christ is pure.
These words of gathering assure the congregation of two things: what we shall be has not yet been revealed, but the person we are remembering sees everything now. They are enjoying Big Reveal as we gather to remember them, and that brings a soothing kind of hope to every mourner.
Death is the big reveal. God has saved the very best for last. It is nothing to fear, nothing to run from, nothing to dread. Rather, it is the fullest culmination of all our our life’s dreams and efforts here on earth, and the final step in our transformation journey. Impossibly beautiful, we get to be clothed in glory. We get to be like Jesus. We get to see God as he is.
Oh Death, where indeed is thy victory? Where, oh Death, is thy sting? In life, in death, in life beyond death, GOD IS WITH US. Thanks be to God.
Photo by Wende Pritchard.