Saturday, November 10, 2007

That Resurrection Question

In our Gospel lesson for tomorrow, Luke 20:27-38, the Sadducees (a religious/political party of Jesus' day) approach Jesus sporting for an argument. They set up a hypothetical situation in which one woman is left widowed by seven brothers in succession. Last of all she dies, and the Sadducees ask, "In the resurrection, whose wife will she be, for all seven had her."

Jesus knew full well that they were trying to set him up, because the Sadducees did not believe in bodily resurrection, the afterlife, or in the existence of angels and spirits. They were quite the opposite of the Pharisees, and gave them a hard time too.

The Sadducees were trying to say that belief in resurrection did have any foundation in scriptures with which they were familiar, but Jesus stopped them with the story of Moses and the burning bush. They knew that story well. Moses had asked God's name and God said "I am." "I am -- the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob" who lived and died hundreds of years before Moses. So logically if God is God of people who lived hundreds of years ago, Jesus tells us that God is God not of the dead, but of the living, for to God all are alive.

We can reason that God transcends our mortality and sees both sides of the thin veil that separates life from death. Resurrection from the dead is a great mystery. Only God could do such a miracle. Belief in bodily resurrection from the dead is also a belief that sets Christians apart. It is known as the "scandal of particularity" and we reaffirm this every Sunday when we say the Nicene Creed. This is where faith comes in. We don't have to understand it to believe that it is so.

In peace,

The Rev. Linda McCloud
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

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