Friday, 8 November 2013

And after all

GospelLuke 20:27-38 

Some Sadducees – those who say that there is no resurrection – approached him and they put this question to him, ‘Master, we have it from Moses in writing, that if a man’s married brother dies childless, the man must marry the widow to raise up children for his brother. Well then, there were seven brothers. The first, having married a wife, died childless. The second and then the third married the widow. And the same with all seven, they died leaving no children. Finally the woman herself died Now, at the resurrection, to which of them will she be wife since she had been married to all seven?’
  Jesus replied, ‘The children of this world take wives and husbands, but those who are judged worthy of a place in the other world and in the resurrection from the dead do not marry because they can no longer die, for they are the same as the angels, and being children of the resurrection they are sons of God. And Moses himself implies that the dead rise again, in the passage about the bush where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now he is God, not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all men are in fact alive.’

Belief in life after death is a matter of faith and imagination, not only does it happen or how does it happen but what would it be like? Questions that spin into the night and and are born again in the morning; all ready for a new debate.

Such challenges were common in the synagogues as the Jews literally 'chewed; their way through the words of the Torah. Combatants would justify their stance claiming the name of Moses and so it would begin. 

The 'what if?' of the Sadducees is a convoluted challenge by a group of people who do not even believe in an afterlife. So this question is simply meant to confuse matters; Jesus' answer seems to confuse matters even more.

We may find it a disturbing thought that that we won't be spending eternity with those that we love. We think of our family saints, surrounding us with their prayers and relationship; we look forward to joining with them - the promise of always -  a brand new life. 

 The Sadducees, in the world they represent, are not talking about marriage as we understand it and hope it to be. This is no loving relationship, but dutiful ownership. The widow, if she existed, would have no choice in the matter, she would be passed from one to another - as property; a legal obligation to prove adherance to the Law. 

Whose property will she be in the afterlife? 

If Jesus takes this challenge at all seriously it is only to address this one failing of humanity - the failure to love others as we love ourselves; to make caring for others an obligation rather than a privilege. 

In his reply, Jesus assures those whose lives are not their own that life in God will be a life of eternal and loving freedom. That there is no need to make contracts out of relationships; vows out of desire; obligation out of promises. That they will be reborn as the angels; as precious children of God; loved and loving; eternal and full of life.



Claire Bangasser said...

Beautiful and inspiring, Word. Thank you.

Gelli Ma said...

Thank you x+