An 1862 Easter

Happy Easter.  Thoughts and hopes of restoration are hard to resist when learning about our kindred ancestors who’ve moved on, especially the many who suffered and died in war.  I found an Easter sermon written in 1862 at Civilwar.com that sheds light on concerns and challenges of the day.

In addition, I’ve included a couple of videos about Aimee Copeland, a young woman who recently suffered the challenges of amputation.  She is an inspiration as are many others in our own family.

The sermon does not lack for words, thought or content.  Death is likened to sleep.  Just as the body requires sleep and rest for restoration, so does the soul require death to be restored, calling it “tired nature’s sweet restorer . . . ”
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“Now, such is the effect of the body’s visit to its grave . . .  all weary and worn . . . They go there with the furrowed brow, the hollowed cheek, the wrinkled skin—they shall wake up in beauty and glory. The old man totters there, leaning on his staff. The palsied comes there, trembling all the way. The halt, the lame, the withered, the blind journey in doleful pilgrimage to the common dormitory. But they shall not rise decrepit, deformed, or diseased, but strong, vigorous, active, glorious, immortal!

Out of the 3 million men who fought in the Civil War on both sides, most of them had a rural, agrarian background like James DICKERSON.  They had a keen understanding of the growing seasons and the importance of seeds with their renewal or germinating power.

“The shriveled seed, so destitute of form and comeliness, shall rise from the dust a beauteous flower. A green blade all fresh and young shall spring up where before there was the dried decayed grain . . . “

The casualties of war included not only loss of life, but amputations and disfigurement as well.   The reference to ‘the holy martyrs’ who suffered similar trials gives way to hope of restoration.  Back then in 1862, most relied on faith in God to make sense of death.  But today we have . . . uh, well. . . let’s see . . . about the same thing.

“Well said the holy martyrs, when their limbs were being torn away—’We cheerfully resign these members to the God who gave them to us.’ Our members are not ours to hold or lose, no torment can rob us of them in reality. For when we wake up in Christ’s likeness it will not be as halt or lame, but full of strength and vigor—more comely than earthly sons of men . . . The winter of the grave shall soon give way to the spring of resurrection and the summer of glory. Blessed is death, since it answers all the ends of medicine to this mortal frame and through the Divine power disrobes us of the leprous rags of flesh, to clothe us with the wedding garment of incorruption!”

A modern story of inspiration and bravery in the face of bodily trials is found in Aimee Copeland, a young University of GA student who suffered a gash to her leg from a river rock when she fell from a faulty home made zip line.  An infection in her leg gave way to a flesh eating necrosis that led to amputations and organ failure.  Not only did she beat the odds and survive but she continues on with life in a very good way.

From Aimee’s official website, her dad writes:
“. . . although many of you are amazed with Aimee’s tremendous love of life and her incredible spirit, I think it is important to know that she is a child of God. I firmly believe that she is a living testimony to the power of prayer and the greatness of a merciful God. I think we will all one day understand why God chose Aimee to survive the impossible. I believe He will ultimately use her as a vessel to minister to many. It is very important to understand that this incredible story of survival is not about Aimee, it is about a wonderful and loving God whose grace is beyond human comprehension. Make no mistake that our story is about faith, prayer, miraculous healing and the incredible power of love.”
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