This week’s texts play with the tension between a living and permanent God.
Luke 20:27-38 starts with the foolish humans asking a question. It is important to note that these Sadducees are Jewish, like Jesus is a Jew and to avoid making an anti-Semitic argument about how wrong they are. The Sadducees, are however, human. So they ask a question about one of the important bonds we humans make with one another, marriage.
If a woman is married 7 times and had no children to claim on her, when she is in heaven, who is she married to?
It’s interesting that the Sadducees who ask that don’t even believe in resurrection. Yet here they are, juxtaposing the permanence of marriage with the permanence of heaven.
Jesus’s answer is that God is alive and the God of the living, and as such the things that we think of as permanent need to be conceived completely differently.
This has some strong implications for the church. God is permanent and alive, God is always our God, and yet is the God of the living. Our understandings with permeate and grow. Our relationships will permeate and expand beyond our current ken.
Our understanding of church will continue onward, but will change and grow.
God is indeed in the thin places.
In the places where things no longer quite make sense, where possibility and impossibility seem to push each other out of the way.
It’s funny when you think about it, after all with are mortal beings trying to conceptualize immortality. We are finite, trying to grapple with infinities.
Perhaps this is why in Job 19: 23-27a, Job talks about permanently carving out the words “I know that my redeemer lives and at the end he will stand upon the earth.” He has to see these words, to practice them, to be reminded of them every day in order to contend with the daily trials and tribulations of life.
We are but dust, to dust we shall return.
Even as Job is continuing to wait for God, he practices this reminder.
https://www.shakespearetheatre.org/events/waiting-godot-17-18/ Image found here
We need the encouragement, to have clean lips and the clean hearts we petition for in Psalm 17. We need to be filled with God to even start to understand how the divine lives and moves and breathes into our lives.
We need to ask questions, even as we realize there might not be a way for our human brain to understand the answers.
I’m sure the Sadducees in Luke were struck silent not just because they were convinced, but also because Jesus basically admits that’s it’s impossible to understand.
We humans are very concerned about our legacy. This is why it’s important that the widow has no children in the question.
This is why it’s important in Psalm 17 that the writer says “from mortals—by your hand, O Lord— from mortals whose portion in life is in this world. May their bellies be filled with what you have stored up for them; may their children have more than enough; may they leave something over to their little ones”
What are we leaving our little ones? What are we creating that is permanent on this earth?
Job has the answer–it is our relationship with God.
We know that our redeemer lives. And we pray for the spirit of the living God to fall afresh, to open our hearts and minds and lives up to the greater understanding of the world.
Let us live our lives with our jaws slack, our hearts quivering and with eyes to see and ears to hear the truths that are just barely within our grasp.
Teach us to not be hypocrites and to consistently learn that our redeemer lives we pray, O God. Amen.
Where are you going with this week’s texts? Share where you are and how God is speaking to you.
Katy Stenta is a solo pastor at a tiny church that is bigger on the inside in Albany, NY for over eight years and blogs at firstname.lastname@example.org She is also the co-founder of the fledgling TrailPraisers inclusive Worship. When she is not dreaming up projects and ideas, some of which creep into the church, she plays with her three boys-boys or goes and visits her husband at the library, while he works, to read.
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