From Debra Rienstra
During worship services this Easter season when we say the Apostle’s Creed together, I naturally attend especially to the words focusing on the Easter event. “On the third day he rose again from the dead,” we proclaim. And in the section on the Holy Spirit, we profess our faith in “the resurrection of the body.” Familiar, precious words. A couple weeks ago it occurred to me, though: do we believe in the resurrection of the mind?
I have spent the last few weeks helping my 85-year-old parents through the latest crisis. Dad had been in the hospital for bronchitis and then went to a nursing home temporarily for rehab. The plan was to get him stronger through physical therapy and then get him home again, with supporting visits from nurses and home health aids. The homecoming happened a couple days ago, he’s doing much better, and the present crisis has resolved. But I have watched him for several years getting physically weaker and mentally more forgetful, more confused, more distant. The truth is, we may be OK for the moment, but the overall trend is downward. Diminishment is the unavoidable, relentless, cruel truth of old age.
We believe in the resurrection of the body. We take deep comfort in this faith as we watch a dear friend fight cancer, as we grieve with a young person paralyzed in an accident, as we watch our elders grow more stooped and thin. In the resurrection, our broken and scarred bodies will be healed, renewed, even enhanced—if we can take Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances as a clue. My children are definitely planning on superpowers of some kind. “The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable,” writes Paul to the Corinthians. In that triumphant hope we endure the body’s weakness and rejoice when bodies heal. We receive the healed body as a sign of the resurrection.
How much harder it is, though, to heal a mind.