Greetings, brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series where we seek to
explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly
Father has revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them with you. This
morning we will ponder our lives as we seek to understand the meaning of the grateful dead.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Grateful Dead
"And he shall send his angels with a great sound of trumpet, and they shall gather together
his elect from the four winds, and from one end of heaven to the other." Matthew, Chapter 24,
Brothers and sisters, two grave sites lie in the sun, one well manicured, the other run over by weeds.
Everyday the caretaker comes by and tends the immaculate grave site. The family of the deceased
loyally and faithfully carry out their pledge religiously to their now deceased loved one. While alive,
the loved one had extracted promises from the survivors to carefully attend the grave site so that he
might rest in peace. The survivors think that their deceased loved one is really pleased with the care
of his grave site. They are absolutely sure that if he were only present, he would tell them so. They
come by regularly to pay their respect to their now deceased loved one.
The other grave site has only the wind and the rain and an occasional wild animal as visitors. The
changing seasons manicure the grass. While alive there were few who really loved or understood
him. There were no relatives to extract promises from, and he died just the way he came into the
world, without fanfare or fuss. And both of these now deceased people are grateful, for while their
bodies are rotting in the grave, their souls rejoice in the mansions of the Father's house in heaven.
Dead bodies are like discarded old clothing: having served their purpose, they are of no further use
to the people who once used them.
While in the flesh, they both lived life, one the worst, the other the best. In one the light scarcely
burned; in the other it burned brightly. In both, as they struggled down the path of life, being driven
by pain, sorrow, and disappointment, and being pulled by truth, beauty, and goodness, all the while
basking in the Father's love, the struggle of light wore down the physical bodies even as it built up
the souls. Like a valuable mineral deposit that is gradually revealed by the eroding waters that flow
over it, the soul was gradually revealed, becoming brighter and brighter even as the physical body
was gradually torn down.
Lacking spiritual insight, the body that lay in the well manicured grave when it was animated spent
a large portion of its time and money trying to find a way to cheat death. In blindness and vanity this
soul tried its best to prevent the only process that could free itself from its prison of flesh and blood:
the metamorphosis of death. In response to its unutterable urges, this soul tried to express them in
its material philosophies. In response to its unquenchable thirst and insatiable hunger, this soul tried
to satisfy them with the wines of evil and foods of error. In response to its longings for eternal life,
this soul said that there was no hope with the consequence of a nameless fear, and increasing anguish
while secretly hoping that somehow, someway, the life of the body could be preserved, reflected by
the elaborate arrangement for the meticulous care of the grave site.
But the Father is merciful. He takes note of our origin and circumstances of our life. He knows our
frame; He knows that we are dust. Even though there was only a faint flicker of hope in the soul, the
Father fanned it into a raging fire of faith and thanksgiving as this soul found itself on one of the
Mansion in the Father's House in a new glorified body with a new understanding. Now, how he longs
to tell those still living on earth what unspeakable glories await them in heaven, but that is their
struggle of faith, not his. His opportunity for service on earth is a thing of the past.
The body of the other soul that lay in the windswept and weed-overrun grave site, with only the
howling of the wind and an occasional wild animal to memorialize it, while it was alive gradually
responded to the leading of the Father's spirit. This soul was able to more fully recognize the truth
of life and the goodness of the values of truth. This soul gradually learned the way of the Father as
revealed by His Son, Jesus.
Under the leading and powers of the Father's spirit, the powers of this soul were gradually diverted
away from the service of self towards the unselfish service of other souls as it learned to view these
other souls as sisters and brothers. Under the influence of the Father's spirit and the Spirit of Jesus,
the Spirit of Truth, this soul learned to serve them even as the Father serves them. It learned to use
all the powers of spirit, mind, and body to carry out its labor of love.
Throughout the long years, this soul gradually learned to recognize that nothing happens unless the
Father wills it or allows it. If the Father allows it, it creates good. If the Father wills it, it is good.
Either way the soul benefits. Absolutely nothing could harm this soul that had been entrusted to the
care of the Father. This soul drove the material mind with its doubts and the physical body with its
frailties to carry out the spirit program of love, patience, mercy, and forgiveness.
In response to its unutterable desires, it trusted them with the Father and accepted by faith that the
Father would, in due time (or surely in eternity), actualize them. In response to its unquenchable
thirst and insatiable hunger, it drank from the well of living waters and ate from the bread of life,
which satisfied these urges of the spirit with a sublime satisfaction and unspeakable joy.
When the body of this soul began to fail, this soul was not alarmed. It drove on even harder to
complete the spirit's program of revealing the Father's love and the Son's mercy to his less
illuminated sisters and brothers, fully confident of the glorified body awaiting it on a new and higher
level of existence.
And once on this new level of existence, this soul does not regret that it did not reveal the Father's
love or the Son's mercy since it gave its last full measure of dedication and devotions to the Father's
will. Those left on earth may say that they are the grateful dead, but on another level of existence,
they know as they are known. They are the grateful living.
This concludes today's message on understanding the meaning of the grateful dead. We hope you
find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day. Until next time,
this is Dr. James Perry.