Sunday, November 10, 2019


This morning we listen as the Sadducees try to stump Jesus with an impossible dilemma- “If she had seven husbands, whose wife will she be?” It’s an outlandish “what-if” scenario, the absurd possibility of six of the so-called “brother-in-law” marriages prescribed in the Book of Deuteronomy. What makes it even more ridiculous is that the Sadducees don’t believe in the resurrection anyway. For them the dead are dead, period. It seems pretty clear- they only want to taunt Jesus. “Let’s see how he gets out of this one.”

Jesus is undaunted. With characteristic beauty, integrity and directness; he takes the Sadducees’ crazy story, flips it around and draws them and us into a more astounding revelation. Marriage in its beauty, intimacy and commitment is appropriate to this present age, but it will come to an end. (Joseph Fitzmeyer) And raising up heirs, so that family and race may endure, will be inessential in the age to come. Something new, breathtaking in its beauty, is to come- the reality of eternal life, unending intimate relationship with God and with those we have loved, in God’s Kingdom.

What is essential is connectedness, the relationships of love and real intimacy with God and one another that we are made for. All the rest is a lot of babble, a smoke screen. It may remind us of the current political blathering, which can distract us from something very deep and sincere, something about who we are- that is value-driven, and if you will, even compassion and mercy-driven- loving, everlasting interconnectedness. This is what Jesus reminds we’re built for. The essential question is simply, “Where is your heart? What is your deepest desire? What do you want?” That is the most haunting question. - What do you want? And put even more directly for us as women and men of faith: Who do you want? This is the question that cuts through all the yammering.

For Jesus one thing is true- we live for God; and those who live for God are truly alive, forever. (Alois Stoger) God is the God of the living. And we are made for eternal life. Jesus’ vision of our destiny is something ample and full of delight- vast and truly beyond our full understanding. He beckons us toward the reality of eternal life and everlasting relationship with God and with one another, a reality beyond even the beauty and communion of marriage. Indeed all human connection and friendship, all our loving here and now, give us glimpses, beautiful glimpses, but only glimpses of the union and communion with God in Christ, with one another and with all creation that we are destined for, a communion that far surpasses anything we’ve experienced. And “those who are deemed worthy,” says Jesus, “will be raised up like angels; for they are the children of God.”

All during this month of November we’ve been enacting this breathtaking connectedness between heaven and earth, as we pray to all the saints and pray for the departed. We are in relationship with them all, for the heavens have been opened, and there is now easy interchange between heaven and earth. God’s dream of intimacy with his creation has come true in Christ Jesus.