God of the Living
April 2, 2016
Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him and asked him a question, saying, ‘Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no child, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. There were seven brothers; the first married and, when he died, left no children; and the second married her and died, leaving no children; and the third likewise; none of the seven left children. Last of all the woman herself died. In the resurrection whose wife will she be? For the seven had married her.’
Jesus said to them, ‘Is not this the reason you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the story about the bush, how God said to him, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”? He is God not of the dead, but of the living; you are quite wrong.’
I’m not very good at Easter. Hope is not my strong suit. Waiting in darkness for the light, reflecting on my creatureliness, and lament all come much more naturally to me. Like Jacob I prefer to stay up in the night wrestling with God.
Today’s text (and this Easter season!) challenges me to step out of that comfortable, if dark, place. I could resist that call and focus on other interesting dynamics in Jesus’ interaction with the Sadducees. I could talk about how people in power (like Jesus’ challengers in this story) have no need for the resurrection. I could discuss the bizarre logic of levirate marriage. It’s always fun to speculate about the nature of our future bodies. But today I am drawn to the last line of the Gospel reading (especially when read alongside the text from 2 Corinthians 4-5). God is God of the living.
So far this Easter there has been a lot of darkness to dwell on–the tragic Easter day attack in Pakistan, the daily reports of lives lost in Brussels, the decision not to prosecute the killer of Jamar Clark, the denial of the full humanity of people in North Carolina, and on. Yet in the midst of this darkness we know that God makes life. Not sometime in the distant future but here and now. God is today God of the living. Can you see where God making life today?
Where do you see God making life? What gives you hope? Take a picture of it and post it online with the hashtag #GodOfTheLiving