Today’s reading is drawn from Job 19:25-27 and 1 Corinthians 15:20-23.
Author Tony Campolo tells the story of a funeral he attended for his friend Clarence when he was 16 years old. For the last 20 minutes of the sermon, the pastor preached to the open casket. He yelled at the corpse: “Clarence! Clarence!” He said it with such authority. Campolo said he wouldn’t have been surprised had there been an answer. “Clarence,” the pastor continued, “there were a lot of things we should have said to you that we never said to you. You got away too fast.” He listed a litany of beautiful things that Clarence had done for people. When he finished, he said, “That’s it, Clarence. There’s nothing more to say. When there’s nothing more to say, there’s only one thing to say. Good night. Good night, Clarence!” He grabbed the lid of the casket and slammed it shut. Shock waves went over the congregation. As the preacher lifted his head, you could see the smile on his face. He said, “Good night, Clarence, because I know God is going to give you a good morning!” Then the choir stood and starting singing, “On that great morning, we shall rise, we shall rise.”