The changes to our lives brought about by COVID-19, one being the ability not to meet in person, has us longing to be clothed. What in the world do I mean?
In 2 Corinthians 5 we read: “For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked” (vv. 1-3).
This text is not speaking about our physical homes being destroyed. This text is speaking about our earthly bodies being destroyed and “longing to be clothed” with our “dwelling from heaven” (v. 3).
In a similar way, this pandemic has caused all of us to long to see each other in the flesh once again. Yes, seeing people’s faces on Zoom is wonderful, but it is no substitute for in person, “fully clothed” (i.e., in physical flesh) interaction. Virtual hugs are not the same. I feel “distant” from you, my brothers and sisters of Grace Community Bible Church, even though I have seen many of you over Zoom in the last two months.
Even so, I have been wondering about our brothers and sisters who have died: those “absent from the body” but “at home with the Lord” (2 Cor 5:8). What do they feel right now? What is their longing? Is there a longing to be clothed with a physical body once again? Perhaps this pandemic has given us a tiny glimpse into what Christians feel in the “intermediate state”—the state between our death and the resurrection of our bodies—perhaps a state of longing to be clothed with a physical body?
You see, the ultimate hope for Christians is not that when we die we are with the Lord. Our ultimate hope as Christians is that one day we will be resurrected: our glorified body will be reunited with our souls to be with the Lord forever in the new heavens and earth (see 1 Cor 15:42-58).
So, the great news is that sooner than later we are anticipating the ability to meet in person once again. The even better news, because of Jesus, is that one day we will be resurrected and see each other with glorified bodies. And on that day, no virus will separate us ever again!