There’s a marvel of a song by Van Morrison that manages to mix upbeat, life-affirming music with the soul searching of a troubled mind- “I’m Not Feeling it Anymore.” The title says it all. But despite the angst of the words, you can’t help but move and groove and sing to it. It lifts my spirits every time I hear it. From the opening line it’s clear what the singer needs: “I have to get back to base,” he shares, and everything flows from there. When we were kids, “home base” was the safe place- in tag and hide and seek, water gun fights, playing army. It was where we could find rest and refuge, a “time out” when we were overwhelmed or chased or scared or confused. The author longs for such a place to rest and regroup and knows intuitively, like we do, that healing depends on it. Getting back to base means stripping away the empty and superfluous distractions of this life and getting back to basics. Back to what’s true. And so, we will. The catalyst for this Uplift is a reunion I attended with a handful of childhood friends, where death and dying slipped in and out of conversation without so much as a raised eyebrow- like politics and sports. With the discussion of the great beyond still fresh, I came across this blessed assurance in Scripture. 1 Corinthians is a pep talk, in letter form, from the Apostle Paul to a fledging band of believers at the church in Corinth, Greece at a time within living memory of Jesus on earth. It got me back to base.
1 Corinthians 15. Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep (died). Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all, he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed. But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.
Friends, some of the folks alive when this letter was written, witnessed the resurrected Jesus with their own eyes and heard His promise of everlasting life with their own ears. We can hear it too if we listen. Until next time, stay safe, be brave and keep walking in the light. The song pairing is, of course, Van Morrison’s “I’m Not Feeling It Anymore” with Tom Jones singing it in glorious fashion. Enjoy!