Weekly Church Service – Pentecost 22: 10 November 2019

‘I am the resurrection and the life,’ says the Lord. ‘Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.’  John 11:25-26

God of all the living, 
in the resurrection of Christ Jesus
you have given us the promise of life
which death itself cannot destroy:
in the strength of this unshakeable promise,
give us a new heart to live, even now, 
as your new creation.
We ask this through your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you in the 
unity of the Holy Spirit, one God,
for ever and ever Amen. 

  • Haggai 1:15b-29
  • Psalm 96
  • 2 Thess 2:1-5, 13-17
  • Luke 20:27-40

next week

  • Isaiah 65:17-25
  • Song of Isaiah
  • 2 Thess 3:6-13
  • Luke 21:5-19

Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost
“[The Lord] is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to God all are alive.”

The Sadducees, the wealthy governing class of Judaism at the time of Jesus, were very conservative in matters of religion.  Unlike the Pharisees, they dismissed the oral tradition and any doctrinal developments not specified in the Pentateuch.  They put no credence in the thousands of detailed regulations and ritualistic practices that the Pharisees embraced.  They rejected the notion of angels or spirits, the belief in an afterlife and the idea of a messiah.

The hypothetical case that the Sadducees concoct based on Moses’ teaching on marriage and pose to Jesus in today’s Gospel is designed to ridicule the so-called “Messiah’s” ludicrous teaching on the resurrection.  Jesus, first, dismisses their attempt to understand the reign of God in human, worldly terms: the life of God transcends our understanding of human relationships and values.  And second, citing the Sadducees’ own cherished Mosaic writings, Jesus reminds them that God spoke to Moses of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the present tense, as still being alive before him and not as long-dead memories.  God is not the God of the dead but the God of the living; Christ comes with the promise of always living in God and with God.

Our God is a not a God of condemnation and retribution not does God call us to condemn or seek vengeance – our God is a God of love that redeems and transforms; and God calls us to love in the same way.

We often try to gauge God by our standards, to measure him by our yardsticks, to define God by our systems of reasoning and understanding.  But the God revealed by Jesus defies our explanations and designs.  Our response to Jesus’ call to be his disciples begins with opening our minds and spirits to become what God intends us to be.

To become “sons and daughters of the resurrection” we must embrace that Gospel vision of love of neighbour as brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us children of God. Resurrection is the promise and hope of our faith as Christians – but resurrection is also an attitude, a perspective for approaching life and sorting out the decisions and complexities of our lives.  In dying to our own worst impulses, disappointments, and the sometimes-overwhelming sense of hopelessness, we can rise to the heights of the life and love of God.        © Connections/MediaWorks

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