Church in a Coffin

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When Vladimir Lenin wrote up his will, he made is very clear that when he died, he was to be buried next to his mother in St. Petersburg. When Lenin died in 1924, however, Josef Stalin had other ideas.  In a bold political move, he placed Lenin’s body in a glass coffin and put it on display in a marble and granite mausoleum.

Through the years, millions of people have filed by the casket, and everyone has marveled at the life-like appearance of the man who fathered the Soviet Union. In fact, one U.S. journalist wrote, “His blond-red goatee is neatly trimmed, his eyes shut, his hands resting on his thighs. He does not look waxy, but one nevertheless expects him to rise at any moment, walk out and give a fiery address to the crowd on Red Square.”*

So how have they kept this dead man looking so alive? Well, now we know. Every time a chunk of flesh goes rotten, they simply replace it with wax. Last I heard, the man in the box is 40 percent flesh and 60 percent wax.

That’s the way it is for some churches. They look alive and secure in their granite walls. And then the Divine Coroner comes along and says, “You are dead! You are nothing more than a mass of decaying flesh and phony wax jobs.”


Dan Martella is the administrative pastor for the Paradise church in California, and managing editor at Best Practices for Adventist Ministry