Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart: http://sothrichfield.podbean.com/
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18New International Version (NIV)
Believers Who Have Died
13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
This passage sounds similar to Palm Sunday, but speaks of when Jesus will come again. Paul also says that this should be encouraging to us and we should encourage others with the knowledge of the coming of Jesus. Is it encouraging to you that Jesus will come again? How can this help you live today? First, Paul says we grieve differently. We have hope that our loved ones who have died will rise and raise palm branches to escort Jesus back to earth! Second, this is a reminder that despite all that we see around us, our King will return to set things right. Let us pray that the Spirit of God would encourage us so that people might see us alive with hope and peace instead of despair and anxiety!