[forthright] Fly Away Home

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Fri, 3 Apr 2009 06:30:56 -0700 (PDT)
Forthright Magazine 
http://www.forthright.net 
Straight to the Cross

A story of friends. A study of salvation. 'Discovering
the Kingdom of God,' by Tim Hall.
http://forthrightpress.com/#KingdomOfGod


COLUMN: HEAVENLY CONNECTIONS

Fly Away Home 
 by Tim Hall

Though the practice has been around for some time, I
had not seen it before. Gathered at a cemetery where a
loved one’s remains were about to be interred, we
witnessed a moving scene. One basket containing three
white doves was opened; the doves flew overhead but did
not depart. A second basket was opened and a single
dove emerged. When the lone dove joined the three, they
all flew out of sight.

A story was told as the birds flew away. The lone dove
represented the soul of the departed loved one joining
the Trinity. That solitary dove did not have to make
its journey home alone, just as our loved one would not
travel through eternity unattended.

The Bible doesn't portray it exactly that way. Nowhere
are we told that the Father, the Son and the Holy
Spirit meet disembodied spirits to lead them to heaven.
But there are elements of the visual parable that are
true.

Ecclesiastes 12:7 was written before the dramatic
announcement of Jesus' resurrection, but it teaches
truth: "Then the dust will return to the earth as it
was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it"
(NKJV). The physical body is laid to rest beneath the
earth, or in some other way disposed. The spirit,
however, makes a different journey.

Jesus gave more details in the story he told of a rich
man and a beggar. (Whether an actual account or a
parable, it teaches truth either way.) The beggar, a
man named Lazarus, was one who pleased God. When he
died, Jesus said, he "was carried by the angels to
Abraham's bosom" (Luke 16:22). The rich man, who lived
outside of God's will, "was buried" and lifted up his
eyes in a most uncomfortable situation (Luke 16:23).

How do homing pigeon (the more accurate description of
those white doves) know their way home? The birds
brought to the funeral had been transported many miles
and across a mountain range. Experts have studied these
birds and still have no clear explanation for this
amazing ability. Yet our lack of understanding has not
prevented us from using these birds as messengers in
times of crisis.

How does the soul find its way home after death? Not
much information is supplied by God's word. There is no
doubt, though, that God takes care of those who are his
own. Those who are people after God’s own heart often
wish, "Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly
away and be at rest" (Psalm 55:6). One day God will
provide wings (of angels) for his people to enable
their final voyage. Jesus' story tells me that my soul
will be safely and lovingly guided to the home I’ve
long desired.

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