If for this life only we have hoped in Christ… I Corinthians 15:19
For this life only.
The life of tireless toil and struggle, as St. Paul described his ministry in the beginning of his letter to the Corinthians.
This life in which baptism is administered, with immeasurable attendant mystery, and the eye sees practically nothing of what actually happens.
This life in which the Church lives in a unity which no one can see, in which individual personality does not matter, but only Christ crucified for our sins.
This life, in which the wisdom of the wise amounts to so much foolishness in the face of God’s inscrutable mind.
This life, in which it is better to suffer injury than to seek justice according to the world’s norms, better not to eat than to do anything that could harm anyone else’s conscience, better not to marry, better to bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things.
By the time St. Paul has made all his pastoral demands on his Corinthian people, in the course of his lengthy letter, he hopes that they, too, would see the absurdity of hoping in Christ for this life only–the utter absurdity of the idea–and laugh out loud at it. Hoping in Christ for this life only?! Hah.
But we are not pitiable men. We have the sure and certain hope of a future resurrection. We look forward to sharing the undying life of the Son of God.