Your Bible probably reads something like this, “ but your dead will live, Lord, their bodies will rise” Translations are always interesting because in order for us to be able to read comfortably and understand, phrases, verbs, syntax, all become very important. The first part of Isaiah 29:19 literally says “live shall thy dead, my corpses shall arise.” The predicates are placed at the very beginning and at the end. There may be some confusion as to who is speaking. Is it the Lord, or his believing people, or is it both? The point is the blest in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints, and so the death of saints is important to the church to whom they belong and to the Lord who claims them as His own.
I have been haunted since this virus scare by some discussions, I have had with some of my Catholic friends and by some articles written by various Catholic laypeople.
The phrase that haunts me the most was a kind of mournful cry that said “we can’t even bury our blest dead”. Of course there are health issues that are extremely important and that is why we are going to the length we are, but there are psychic, spiritual, and emotional issues too. Health is extremely important, but it is not all there is. The idea that we cannot bury our dead, our Blessed dead, because of the fear of death is fascinating. First of all it shows the difference between Faith and hope, and the mechanistic view of life and death that is slowly invaded our society. In many ways our views of life and death act like a virus.
Here is a marvelous Bible study/devotional/written a long time ago by a man named Theodore Laetsch
The Church knows that her members are not immune against death and corruption; not exempt from God’s judgment upon all sinners, Gen. 3:19; Ezek. 18:4; Rom. 6:23. Yet the Church calls these dead “My dead bodies.” The Church does not repudiate its members after they have died. During their lifetime these members were united in one body with the Holy Christian Church by common faith in the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who loved them and gave Himself for them. And in death they are still the Church’s dead, be-loved not only by their family, but by the Church, mourned not only by their relatives, but by the community of saints, honored even in death by being given a Christian burial, their memory being blest also after they are dead and buried (Prov. 10:7). The Church knows that not only the memory of her dead shall not perish like that of the wicked (Is. 26:14). Her dead are not the corpses of unbelievers whose hopes and expectations die with their death (Prov. 11:7). Though, like the corpses of the unbelievers, they will be turned dust to dust, ashes to ashes, yet they are and remain corpses which the Church acknowledges as her dead bodies, to which the promise of her Lord applies that He will swallow up death in victory. In fullest confidence in this word of her Lord, in a jubilant Amen to His promise, she cries out, “My dead corpses shall arise!” “Thy dead shall live!” Her corpses are not only her own, they are the Lord’s. Having lived unto the Lord, they were the Lord’s, acknowledged by Him as His own in life and in death. The dead body of the believer is the body of one upon whom the name of the Lord has been named by the Covenant God and blessed by Him (Num. 6:23-27; Ex. 20:24 b); whose heart the Lord had circumcised (Deut. 30:6), had daily cleansed from all sin, renewed and
sanctified (Ezek. 36:25-27) ; whose weary and sorrowful soul He had satiated and replenished by His Word and Sacraments. This dead body is the body of one whose name was written in the Book of Life of the Lamb that was slain (Rev. 13:8) and rose again (Rev. 1:18; Rom. 14:9). This dead body is the body of a member of that Church whom the Lord has graven indelibly upon the palms of His hands; whom He will never forget, even though a woman forget her suckling child (Is. 49:15-16); who, whether he lives or dies, is the Lord’s, to be forever with the Lord. “Live shall Thy dead! My dead bodies shall arise!” The graves shall be emptied! The dead, no matter how long they have been dead -a few hours, or centuries, or millenniums -shall come back to life. No matter how and where they died-in flames of fire, or in their sickbeds, or in the maws of wild beasts, in city or desert -they shall arise. The one condition of their resurrection is their death (1 Cor. 15:51) . The very fact which we bewail, the death of our loved ones in Christ, is really an assurance by the Lord, who cannot lie, of their resurrection, their restoration to life! That is the joyous faith, the glorious hope, the firm conviction, of every member of the Church of the Risen Lord -Easter faith, Easter hope, Easter joy!
The only condition of our resurrection is our death. The thing we fear the most had been transfigured by Christ to be the greatest joy.