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OPEN: His name was Roger Williams and he was a famous 17th century religious leader.
He died in 1683 and was buried in a poorly marked grave in the backyard of his home.
Nearly 200 years later (in 1860) one of his descendents ordered his body exhumed and moved to a more suitable location. But when they excavated the grave they didnít find a body. All they fond were a few badly rusted coffin nails and few scraps of rotten wood.
But they did find something else in the grave that amazed them.
It seems an apple tree had grown up next to the burial site and one of roots had grown into the spot where Roger Williams had been laid to rest, taking the shape of Williamís body Ė from its head to its heels.
As it grew, the root apparently had encountered Williamsí skull and followed the path of least resistance inching down the side of his head, backbone, hips and legs, molding itself closely to the contours of his body.
The corpse itself was gone, absorbed into the tree through its roots.
The tree had eaten Roger Williams
And over the years, it had produced numerous apples that had been eaten by people in the community.
Now, the Bible tells me that Ė when Jesus returns - weíll all rise from the dead and have a new bodyÖ but HOW is God going to put Roger Williamsí body back together again?
Itís a mystery to me. But itís not a mystery to God.
ILLUS: Back in 1994, Brian Kelly, a fireworks handler, went out with a bang during the grand finale at a convention of fireworks technicians near Pittsburgh. As he was dying he told family members he wanted his ashes loaded into a fireworks shell and exploded - scattering his remains across the sky
Now how is God going to piece that man back together again?
I donít know. Iís a mystery to me. But itís not a mystery to God.
ILLUS: Years ago, a painter died and was cremated. His friends mixed his remains with white paint and the paint was used to paint the white lines along U.S. 50 somewhere between Cincinnati and St. Louis.
Now how God is ever going to get that man up out of that paint?
Itís a mystery to me! But itís not a mystery to God.
When the trumpet sounds and Jesus descends Ė if need be Heíll come down with a celestial scraper and scrape that man up off of the pavement and Ė if heís a Christian he will zoom up to meet Jesus in the air. But if heís not Ė heíll go someplace else.
(With grateful acknowledgment to Ed Bousman)
The idea that our bodies will be resurrected from the dead - even hundreds of years after weíve died - is difficult for some people to accept.
ILLUS: On my computer, my home page is msn.com.
Since this was the Easter season, they decided to run a couple of articles on the resurrection of the dead and their articles seemed to be in agreement that Christians down through the ages have had difficulties accepting the bodily resurrection of the dead.
One of the articles was by senior religious editor of Newsweek magazine - Lisa Miller (the article was posted on March 25th to be published in Newsweek April 5, 2010). Commenting on the idea of the physical resurrection, Ms. Miller called the idea a ďconundrumĒ
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