The year was 1976. The powerful dictator of the Communist party in China for 27 years, Mao Tse-tung, had died.
The Politburo demanded that his body be permanently preserved so it could lie in state in Tiananmen Square.
His personal physician objected, for he had seen the bodies of Lenin and Stalin. However, he had his orders, and he attempt to preserve the remains.
His efforts were enough for the funeral, but a team continued work in an underground hospital for months to no avail. Finally, an identical wax dummy was made.
The body and the wax figure were taken to the mausoleum in the square. Thousands of people filed by the crystal casket to pay their respects. The amazing thing is that even the doctor could not tell if it was the wax replica or the chairman's body that was lying in state.
Man's efforts at preserving life, or memorializing the dead in huge, magnificent structures like the Egyptian pyramids and the Taj Mahal, have gone on for centuries. The good news of the gospel is that there is eternal life.
The fall time of the year produces wonderful beauty for a short time. Red, yellow, gold; the leaves turn many colors and provide a pretty panorama of colorful images.
Yet we don't attempt to preserve the leaves on the trees. It would be foolish to try to glue the fallen leaves on the limbs to keep the colorful scenery in place.
Instead, we brace ourselves for the coming winter, knowing that it will bring its own version of bright beauty. Hopefully, spring will come early with new life bursting forth all over.
The Bible describes our life as being like a vapor, or grass and flowers, and a shadow. It is here and then gone.
Preparation for the next life, not preserving the remains from this one, should be the priority.
Eternal life is what Jesus offered his followers. He demonstrated his power by bringing several back to life during his time in Palestine.
Then, his death on the cross seemed to put a final end to this miraculous ministry.
However, the resurrection that followed three days later put hope in the hearts of his disciples.
It wasn't just verbal teaching now that the believers remembered, but a living reality they could see and hear. The empty tomb was positive proof that the resurrection was real.
Based on the powerful event of the resurrection, believers today can determine to obey the divine directives that will bring abundant life, and open up for them the hope of eternal life.
The Bible's promise is "...whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Mitch Glover is the pastor of the Sterling United Pentecostal Church located at Swanson River Road and Entrada. Sunday School is at 10 a.m., and the worship service is at 11 a.m.
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