I was working as a funeral assistant, and it was the first time I had ever touched a dead body when it happened. We had been called to a house to transfer the body to the hospital or funeral home. "THE BODY" - that sounds so impersonal. She was sitting in the living room, curtains draped, with her mouth gaping open. The daughter was sitting in the next room and had requested if she might keep her mother's wedding ring, and I was asked if I could take it from the old lady's finger. The warmth of her hand was surprising, and her lifeless fingers were soft. I suppose I had expected rigor mortis and a clammy coldness, but she had died only a short time ago.
I retrieved the ring for the daughter, and it was time to transfer the body. As I lifted her from the chair onto the stretcher, her lifeless body sagged in the middle. Some of the remaining air was expelled from her lungs, and she seemed to gasp. The expired breath was so totally unexpected that I almost dropped her, not realising what was happening. A cold chill ran up and down my spine. Just briefly I had thought that SHE WAS STILL ALIVE.
I think it was partly that experience that prompted me to start praying for dead bodies to be raised back to life--just to be sure that it was really their time.
Jesus gave His disciples authority to raise the dead. In Matthew 10:8-10 (NLT) Jesus says to His disciples "Heal the sick, RAISE THE DEAD, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. ... "Don't take any money in your money belts-no gold, silver, or even copper coins. Don't carry a traveler's bag with a change of clothes and sandals or even a walking stick..."
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