In one of his lighter moments, Benjamin Franklin penned his own epitaph. Here’s what he envisioned to be on his tombstone:
The Body of
Like the Cover of an old Book,
Its Contents torn out,
And stripped of its Lettering and Gilding,
Lies here, Food for Worms.
But the Work shall not be wholly lost:
For it will, as he believed, appear once more,
In a new and more perfect Edition,
Corrected and Amended
By the Author.
The raising of Lazarus, celebrated in its fullness yesterday but also intimately part of today’s Palm Sunday festival, points to the Church’s faith in the general resurrection of all people. It is hope in the resurrection that enables us to live, that enables us to endure the trials that life brings us.
Most people have lost the sense of a life lived in the hope and expectation and experience of the resurrection – we’ve limited ourselves to worldly things; most don’t live in the light and perspective of eternity.
But the Lord Jesus Christ spoke these holy words: “I am the Resurrection and the Life” (John 11:25). Not only did He speak them, but also proved them by His actions: by raising others, and by raising Himself from the dead: “I lay down My life and I have the power to take it again” (John 10:18).
However, our Lord is not only the Resurrector of the body, but also the Resurrector of the soul. During His life on earth, He resurrected only a few human bodies, but countless souls. Almost all human souls were dead, separated from God, when He came into the world, and He resurrected countless souls by His power, and imbued them with His life.
If we allow our loving Jesus Christ to raise us up spiritually today, if we allow Him to remove whatever stone that separates us from His Light and Life, then, at the Last Day, as Benjamin Franklin wrote, our body “will appear once more, in a new and more perfect Edition, Corrected and Amended By the Author.”