To proclaim the bodily resurrection of Christ is to affirm that his whole person was restored to life. — Katherine Willis Pershey, ‘Making sense of chronic pain’, The Christian Century, 7 January 2015
There is nothing wrong with making sense of life from within the human perspective. That is what human beings do. After all, in Jesus Christ, God stands with us as a human being and empowers us to respond to God from our standpoint, as broken, messy, and complex as it is. The mistake, however, is to insist that all that life can mean is contained within the horizon of our own experience.… Jesus explodes the human horizon. There is profoundly more to life than just the human experience of it, even if that means we cannot wrap our heads around it. Death is not an ultimate condition for Christians, and it does not permanently bind the experience of life and its meaning. — John E Senior, Feasting on the Gospels—Luke, Vol. 2
Human lives are bordered by birth and death; and very often, human lives are bound by the fear of death.
I read a lovely article last Monday in which former US President Jimmy Carter said that when doctors told him in 2015 that his cancer had spread to his brain, he found that he ‘was absolutely and completely at ease with death’. While he would of course miss his family and his work, it didn’t ultimately matter if he lived or died. Though I’m sure he’s happy to be alive and still very active at the ripe age of 95.
In an argument with a religious group called the Sadducees, Jesus spoke about ‘Children of the Resurrection’. I think Jimmy Carter’s attitude to death suggests that he may be a Child of the Resurrection.
I’d like to illustrate what it means to be a Child of the Resurrection today, but first let’s recap that conversation Jesus had with the Sadducees in our reading from Luke.
Luke introduces the Sadducees as ‘those who say there is no resurrection’. There was quite the argument going on back then. While the Sadducees denied it, others like the Pharisees believed in newer ideas like the end-time resurrection from the dead. In this debate, Jesus sided with the Pharisees.