The sea of teeming faces settles into still. The white-haired man, younger than his years and walking unbent, stands to speak to the chapel assembly.
The Apostle Paul lived in sight of two days: this day, and That Day. He ran the race with a single eye on this day, so that he might receive the incorruptible on That Day.
He, white-haired and respected, school president, speaks of That Day. Judgment Day - the day of rewards. Old bodies discarded, standing in vestige of the greatest vintage - brand new, never decaying. We stand face-to-face to receive the reward, but isn't this itself the reward, and would He want us to come to Him for a reward of lesser value than Himself?
Face. To. Face.
Three words more than we can imagine, more than we could now bear. These worn tatters weren't designed for face-to-face, for touching, for breathing and full knowing. But our new bodies awaiting are ready.
Here we, like Moses, see the back of His head as He passes by, and that is enough to make our knees knock until they buckle, and our faces meet the ground hard in worship.
A skype connection. The president conjures up a 21st century analogy.
Our contact with Him is a warped, garbled skype connection. Try to imagine face-to-face.
Our skype connection had been intensely clear on Friday. Two and a half hours of Spirit-powered prayer with Jeremy, Emmy, and Lois. We sought and He answered. He drove us broken to our calloused knees in puddles of tears. We broke chains in His name and broke joy open over each other. We prayed down Spirit conviction to bring the running ones back home, and blood-binding for the wounded nearly beyond repair.
The static of our skype connection shocked us into Him - into arms that held fast and lips speaking clear.
But the dim mirror kept us living.
When the mirror is shattered and face-to-face is revealed as reality, when we stand in judgment in a place that for us defines the afterlife, it's a wonder we call this death. The suddenness of full life shocks our temporary shells to make way for what was intended all along.
This face-to-face is the fulness of life, the only Life we were ever meant to know. What we call life He called a Fall - a fall that brought death.
It's not the dying that does us in, but the truly living.
The skype connection isn't meant to be a pastime, but a line to Life, until He restores it all. When we forsake even to seek the dim mirror image of His face, we pull the plug on our Lifeline - we hand ourselves over to the sever of the Fall.
Most days it's foggy, the picture blurry, our hearing distorted and impaired, but even a waterlogged lifeline can still carry some oxygen, and hasn't He promised to shock us from death into Life when the lifeline has run its course?
"Then I shall know, even as I am fully known."
Then He'll resuscitate, nothing between His life and ours.
The Spirit will breathe right in.