Tag Archives: Sadducees

Children of the Resurrection

Reading
Luke 20.27–38

 

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

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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. 

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“Children of the Resurrection” (32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C)

Readings
Haggai 1.15b — 2.9
Luke 20.27–38

 

In his argument with the Sadducees in today’s Gospel reading, Jesus says:

Those who belong to this age marry and are given in marriage; but those who are considered worthy of a place in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. Indeed they cannot die any more, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection.

What does it mean to be a ‘child of the resurrection’? Let me mention two things:

  • It means to be a person who even in grief or disappointment lives in hope of the living God.
  • It means to be someone whose way of life reflects the new life of Jesus Christ, the risen Lord.

A child of the resurrection is someone whose way of living is marked by the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. A child of the resurrection is not determined by the past, by its hurts and slights or even by its abuses. A child of the resurrection lives out of the future, God’s future, God’s new world.

A friend of mine, a child of the resurrection, recently wrote:

…we have the power to change the voices and rewrite the patterns and not make ourselves wrong or soiled or not good enough.…we have to have the courage and believe we are worthy.

A child of the resurrection receives the strength to have this courage and belief through the presence of the living Jesus within.

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