Date:
04 Nov 2001
Time:
17:08:03

Comments

11/4 With divorce so high I think this passage will help a lot of people. Just to konw that if a divorce happens it is not relived again in the after life. ls in nc


Date:
04 Nov 2001
Time:
20:39:14

Comments

Hi, I am hoping to revist Sept 11, this week. It seems like a good time. Is anyone else out there attempting this?

Incidently, the ladder was great. I did it from a few notes and was plenty nervous about that part! Thanks to all who participated last week, you were all helpful. I love that fact that some stir the kettle. Nancy-WI


Date:
04 Nov 2001
Time:
22:06:58

Comments

This is off the subject, but I am looking for some suggestions and advice. I work in a part-time position as a lay pastor in a very small rural church. This morning one of the senior members took a bad spill and hit his head. This has happened many times in the past because he has refused to use a walker instead of the four-pronged cane he has been using. I went to visit him after church to see if I could talk him into using the walker--something his family has been unable to do. I was not surprised to learn that a great deal had to do with reluctance to accept his need for the walker. I found a man in his late 80's who has been working most of his life. His father died of pneumonia when he was 6, leaving a wife and 8 children behind. He has worked hard as a farmer, a quary worker, a truck driver and a carpenter among other things. A debilitating illness and poor circulation has robbed him of most of the feeling and flexibility in his hands and feet. Hence the loss of stability on his feet and his sense of worthlessness. This has become progressively worse in the 2+ years I have been there. After listening, shedding tears, and praying, I asked him if he would consider a new job in the ministry of the Church. I asked if he would be willing to become a prayer warrier. This caught his interest, especially when I reassured his that God could work with a "stubborn, uneducated" (his words) man--like Peter. I'm looking for suggestions for scripture and literature that would address the need and value of a prayer warrier. Any other advice/ words of wisdom would also be appreciated. Thank you all for the the blessings (sermon ideas, shared views etc) that I have recieved from this site. May God's blessings and peace be with you all. drl


Date:
05 Nov 2001
Time:
02:49:26

Comments

As I consider the lectionary texts this week, I am aware of the tension between tradition and God's revelation. In the Thessalonians passage, Paul clearly states that the faithful are to hold onto tradition (granted it is the traditions(s)taught by him); in the Luke passage, we see how the Saduccees held onto their tradition (their views of resurrection)so tightly that some want to trap Christ and some seemingly miss what the Christ has to offer. I am aware that in many churches we serve, that tradition is important. I am pondering when does the tradition "yield" to God's revelation, God's calling to live in a new way in a new day? Some traditions are Godly, others clearly are of a cultural bent. Also not every voice or vision is of God... how do we deal with the tension between tradition and revelation?

jjinchassc


Date:
05 Nov 2001
Time:
05:48:21

Comments

I'm thinking of starting my sermon with a couple of the innocent questions kids ask about what heaven is like (found in books like Kids Questions about God). Then contrasting their curiousity with the Sadducees questions, which are not innocent inquiries at all, but attempts to get Jesus. Jesus doesn't feel the need to put the Sadducees down, and show his superiority in being right, which as humans we often have the need to do. Nor does he give a simplistic answer. Instead he goes to the heart of the gospel. Through him is new life both now and after death, as God is a God of the living. The Sadducees were already "dead" in their faith, being distracted by power plays, instead of seeking a true and intimate relationship with God. Jesus addresses our real needs, giving true hope. GB in MI


Date:
05 Nov 2001
Time:
06:35:22

Comments

November 11th is also Veterans Day, which also adds to the brew. I also used the ladder. For once I really had everyone's attention! Thank you for your contributions last week! Mark in WI


Date:
05 Nov 2001
Time:
12:34:02

Comments

This passage of scripture is not about marriage per say but about the resurrection. How do we speak of the resurrection in light of the events of in our wold today? The resurrection is our hope I believe. For God is a God of the living and not of death. God is a God of hope and not despair. God is a God of life and and not destruction. For we believe in the one who is resurrected. We believe in the one who said, "I am the resurrection and the life..."

I believe this can be a very theological sermon about the resurrection, yet I'm not sure how to present it...yet.

RB in NC


Date:
05 Nov 2001
Time:
12:51:28

Comments

I just bought a book on prayer last night (i can't think of the name but will add it later.) It will convince you as well as this man of the positive need he can be for prayer. Also at my church we got prayer partners last night.


Date:
05 Nov 2001
Time:
13:49:55

Comments

I too am thinking of revisiting Sept. 11--perhaps with a view as to how we approace Jesus with "trick" questions in order to shore up our own prejudices. It would seem that old "Just War" theories answer the question "May we engage in war?" and do not address the larger and more important question of "should we engage in war?"


Date:
05 Nov 2001
Time:
13:56:31

Comments

Help! My stewardship committee and head pastor chose this Sunday to be the one for the Big Stewardship Sermon, and it's my Sunday to preach. All my initial thoughts of how to work with this are going nowhere. We are "children of the resurrection" and we celebrate this new life and freedom by giving of ourselves...? Unfortunately when the people know this kind of sermon is coming, many tend to automatically tune you out. Any voices of experience out there with some ideas? Steph in SD


Date:
05 Nov 2001
Time:
14:04:48

Comments

I preached the All Saints' Day lection on Sunday, so I missed out on the ladder. What is it, or where can I find it in last week's discussion?

Sally in GA


Date:
05 Nov 2001
Time:
14:15:31

Comments

Never mind; I found it. Cute.

Sally in GA


Date:
05 Nov 2001
Time:
14:36:17

Comments

Hmmm dont know where I will go this week yet, I got a word in the spirit on Haggai and 2 Thess passages, begin shaken, alarmed, I keep hearing Vanessa's song "Save the Best for Last" God speaking to Christians then and Phophet speaking to the 'dudes' to know this world is not ou home- God's got a place for us! The latter is the best...

****Stewardship campaign answer to SD, Maybe preach on the Psalm this Sunday Psalm 145:1-5, 17-21. I Thanksgiving Sermon, giving God praise, have congregational participation- ask them How do they give God Praise? Thanksgiving? through music, hymns, liturgy reading, study of HiS WORD. Start off emphasizing physical how we praise and give thanks to God- dont mention money yet! Maybe ask ahead of time to get people to share songs of praise like a child, youth, younger adult, and mix it up traditional and comtempory! then emphasize Psalm 145: 17-21 how Our God is just, loving, He is all to us... then throw in the kicker, dont we all want to do our all for Him, Look at our ministries and Mission we do in thei community-VBS, i.e God gives us Himself completely- therefore we should return that...We are to be like Christ, right...dont hold anything back, your time, your love for others, and you money- tithes and offerings...God gives us ewverything, so the money is really all his to begin with with.... O.k. does that help??? SD


Date:
05 Nov 2001
Time:
14:52:30

Comments

For the one looking for prayer warrior materials, try renewalministries.com. It has some very helpful prayer resources and the author is an outstanding man.


Date:
05 Nov 2001
Time:
14:52:44

Comments

For the one looking for prayer warrior materials, try renewalministries.com. It has some very helpful prayer resources and the author is an outstanding man.


Date:
05 Nov 2001
Time:
16:47:42

Comments

Steph in SD... a little advice, probably of little use. Regarding Stewardship, I'd say feel free to go off the lectionary. Develop your own sense of stewardship - what it is all about to you. Find scripture which informs you. Share it -just witness from your heart. If you want to be sure they don't ask you to do it again next year, start with this (as I once did)...."Stewardship really has almost nothing to do with money"...It'll drive the trustees crazy. Then go on to talk about stewardship as a way of living thankfully and faithfully before God - the Provider of all. Money is just one little part of a life of stewardship before God. However, as the only pastor, I was not excused from preaching on the subject the next time around. Be not afraid, and rememebr that in the congregation there are some who "get it" and live life as thankful, generous stewards. Some of them are wealthy and some are like the widow and her one coin, giving all they have. They can really teach others a lot by their example - its great if you can get them to share in worship or in groups their sense of stewardship. There are also those who think its only about the money and the budget, and they have much to learn from the others. Then there are those who are on the edge of getting it, and have great potential to discover the blessings of generous sharing of God's gifts - our time , talents, material treasures. Maybe you can't preach to all of these people, so perhaps decide who your "target" is. Jim in CT.


Date:
05 Nov 2001
Time:
16:48:15

Comments

Steph in SD... a little advice, probably of little use. Regarding Stewardship, I'd say feel free to go off the lectionary. Develop your own sense of stewardship - what it is all about to you. Find scripture which informs you. Share it -just witness from your heart. If you want to be sure they don't ask you to do it again next year, start with this (as I once did)...."Stewardship really has almost nothing to do with money"...It'll drive the trustees crazy. Then go on to talk about stewardship as a way of living thankfully and faithfully before God - the Provider of all. Money is just one little part of a life of stewardship before God. However, as the only pastor, I was not excused from preaching on the subject the next time around. Be not afraid, and rememebr that in the congregation there are some who "get it" and live life as thankful, generous stewards. Some of them are wealthy and some are like the widow and her one coin, giving all they have. They can really teach others a lot by their example - its great if you can get them to share in worship or in groups their sense of stewardship. There are also those who think its only about the money and the budget, and they have much to learn from the others. Then there are those who are on the edge of getting it, and have great potential to discover the blessings of generous sharing of God's gifts - our time , talents, material treasures. Maybe you can't preach to all of these people, so perhaps decide who your "target" is. Jim in CT.


Date:
05 Nov 2001
Time:
17:49:15

Comments

Right now I am calling my sermon disturbed ground. It is based on the field of flanders. (Whole people) Disturbed ground can be very good for new growth. I cant connect it to this yet. seems better over in thes. and Haggai. The last few week we have had the prophetic voice call us to worship. Rambling here. I really like the question idea too. Fertile ground this place. nancy-Wi


Date:
05 Nov 2001
Time:
18:02:47

Comments

Please tell me, where is the story about the ladder? Thanks mbs4c


Date:
06 Nov 2001
Time:
06:03:26

Comments

mbs4c There is no story really, some of us used a ladder to preach from. A new perspective. I talked about what Z, might have seen from there and how it might have been safer. Then went on with some other points. Nancy-WI


Date:
06 Nov 2001
Time:
06:08:44

Comments

Is this passage about the future or the present? For me there is a conundrum woven in here. It relates to how you emphasise the grammar.

The Sadducees raise a very important point in their question. They are implying that the resurrection applies to the future. In other words, for them marriage is related to the present and that if there is no resurrection then it all works out ok. It ends with the death of the wife. But if there is a resurrection, then it causes (for them) major ramifications for relationships later.

And this is a very human concern. I am often asked whether grandparents will have alzheimers following the resurrection. Will they recognise their grandchildren? Will handicapped people have their impediment? All of this is caught up in the question the Sadducees are asking, because for them, they are essentially applying divinely revealed Law to this issue. The Torah, required that a woman marry her husband's brother to produce offspring.

Jesus confirms that marriage is for the present, but that they have the wrong concept of the resurrected life. Jesus is virtually saying that the resurrected life, which he is offering means that a person cannot die anymore and therefore the requirement for marriage is nonsensical. People of the resurrection love beyond the boundaries of earthly existence.

A society that effectively cannot die and loves all people as God requires does not require the institution and order of marriage, because procreation is not necessary and all are already in a marital relationship state. A healthy and fulfilling marriage is a precursor or a foretaste of the kingdom of God. Married couples are supposed to represent the relationship shared by all in the Kingdom of God.

It pays us to remember that in Jewish custom a woman was a man's possession, and that marriage often was regarded as a commercial transaction.Marriage was therefore instituted to promote order in community. Jesus is saying that for those who understand the freedom of the renewing life of the Spirit, marriage takes on far more divine dimensions.

The example of Moses, indicates that this is not a futuristic endeavour but a present reality.

This is a powerful reminder of the difference, between a meaningless life of human endeavour,(marriage for offspring or for lawful reasons) and the difference that acknowledging God's imprint in our human activities can make. (marriage based upon mutual concern and care)

One lot of people are dead to the possibility of such a society (They are stuck on the Law), the other are resurrected, or renewed in their minds of the potential of such a state of being (They are freed by their faith in God). Read Romans 7:1-6.

(Be attentive to how you read - "neither marry nor are given in marriage.)

By the way, this is in no way advocating total freedom of sexual expression, fornication or all out orgy, (which it was sometimes interpreted as during Paul's era) but the transforming power of "marriage" freely accepted by both parties as an eternal relationship. "Neither death nor life can separate us from God's love." Romans 8:38-39.

Have a wonderful week everyone.

Regards,

KGB in Aussie.


Date:
06 Nov 2001
Time:
11:27:28

Comments

Seems to me that this is one of the passages that deals with a question that has little interest to us - I wonder why? perhaps it is because we don't have a real concern for heaven and the way things will be in heaven - we don't trouble ourselves with stuff like this because we don't take heaven as literally as the ones in this story. Now granted they were trying to trap Jesus - but the point for me is the fact that I hear few questions if any about heaven - because we just don't care? What about a sermon where the preacher would make an effort to really challenge the congregation to take the heaven more seriously? so that each of them might put more hopes in heaven and thus put more effort into their spiritual lives. I like the idea of looking a some of the questions kids ask about heaven - why don't we ask any questions like that anymore? revdan


Date:
06 Nov 2001
Time:
12:46:16

Comments

GReat discussion this week. I was wondering if anyone had an illustration of someone who wrestled or struggled with her/his faith. Willimon claims that it takes some effort as well as some risk to come to faith. THe Sadduccess were unwilling to take that risk or make the effort. Any help would be appreciated.

Paula in sunny Fl


Date:
06 Nov 2001
Time:
12:46:25

Comments

GReat discussion this week. I was wondering if anyone had an illustration of someone who wrestled or struggled with her/his faith. Willimon claims that it takes some effort as well as some risk to come to faith. THe Sadduccess were unwilling to take that risk or make the effort. Any help would be appreciated.

Paula in sunny Fl


Date:
06 Nov 2001
Time:
17:47:01

Comments

Thanks for the idea of the ladder. I adapted it. I retold the story of Zacchaeus--talked about what it is like to be small (I was always small for my age). Had the kids look out into the congregation--they couldn't see all the faces, then had them look out at the congregation from the pulpit (pretty radical here!). Doesn't life look different when you're up high in a tree. Maybe this is how Zacchaeus felt. Can you imagine Jesus calling to you? What would you say? The congregation loved it--especially when I lifted the little ones so they could see out. Thanks. Roberta


Date:
06 Nov 2001
Time:
19:40:59

Comments

Like many of you, I am not sure where this sermon is going yet. I have been pondering the question of what life would be like if we did not believe in the resurrection. Seems to me it would seem pretty bleak. I would hate to think that this is all there is -- & I live a pretty good life compared to many. I know the Saducees were the priestly aristocracy, but I wonder what life was really like for them. Just a few open-ended considerations for now. Art in KY


Date:
06 Nov 2001
Time:
21:32:07

Comments

Steph, On the stewardship thing, I heard Dr. John Maxwell talk about an approach he used once which was interesting in getting across the point that is in the Haggai passage, "All the silver and gold is mine." He said before church he gave someone a fifty dollar bill with the instruction that they were to give it back to him at the place in the sermon where he asked for money. Right at the beginning of his sermon, he said. Some friends are coming by after church today and I find that I need some money to take them out. Could someone give me some cash to use. At this point the person dashes up front with the fifty and hands it to Maxwell. Maxwell thanks him and begins his sermon. In a few minutes he says. I'll bet you wonder what that little exchange between X and I was really all about. In fact there are a few of you that are saying I wonder why I didn't jump up and give the pastor the money. Why did X react so quickly? The truth is that X found it easy to give me the money since the money was already mine. He was just giving me back what was already mine. Well you can see the implication this has for stewardship, that we can truly be generous when we recognize that all we have is God's to begin with. It is not ours. J in IL


Date:
06 Nov 2001
Time:
21:33:52

Comments

Steph, On the stewardship thing, I heard Dr. John Maxwell talk about an approach he used once which was interesting in getting across the point that is in the Haggai passage, "All the silver and gold is mine." He said before church he gave someone a fifty dollar bill with the instruction that they were to give it back to him at the place in the sermon where he asked for money. Right at the beginning of his sermon, he said. Some friends are coming by after church today and I find that I need some money to take them out. Could someone give me some cash to use. At this point the person dashes up front with the fifty and hands it to Maxwell. Maxwell thanks him and begins his sermon. In a few minutes he says. I'll bet you wonder what that little exchange between X and I was really all about. In fact there are a few of you that are saying I wonder why I didn't jump up and give the pastor the money. Why did X react so quickly? The truth is that X found it easy to give me the money since the money was already mine. He was just giving me back what was already mine. Well you can see the implication this has for stewardship, that we can truly be generous when we recognize that all we have is God's to begin with. It is not ours. J in IL


Date:
06 Nov 2001
Time:
21:35:11

Comments

Steph, On the stewardship thing, I heard Dr. John Maxwell talk about an approach he used once which was interesting in getting across the point that is in the Haggai passage, "All the silver and gold is mine." He said before church he gave someone a fifty dollar bill with the instruction that they were to give it back to him at the place in the sermon where he asked for money. Right at the beginning of his sermon, he said. Some friends are coming by after church today and I find that I need some money to take them out. Could someone give me some cash to use. At this point the person dashes up front with the fifty and hands it to Maxwell. Maxwell thanks him and begins his sermon. In a few minutes he says. I'll bet you wonder what that little exchange between X and I was really all about. In fact there are a few of you that are saying I wonder why I didn't jump up and give the pastor the money. Why did X react so quickly? The truth is that X found it easy to give me the money since the money was already mine. He was just giving me back what was already mine. Well you can see the implication this has for stewardship, that we can truly be generous when we recognize that all we have is God's to begin with. It is not ours. J in IL


Date:
07 Nov 2001
Time:
03:30:36

Comments

revdan, I agree with you that there seems to be a general disinterest in the passage.

But is it a disregard for "heavenly things"? (By the way heaven isn't even mentioned in the passage.) Or is it more simply an unwillingness to address the complex consequences of resurrection thinking.

This exchange recorded by Luke, reflected the slight movements people have in thinking about death. The Sadducees regarded death as the end of being. Mortality and relationship with God were connected. In their thinking, our relationship with God only extended to the extent of our mortal life. This had resultant consequences for which they had formulated answers for.

This is different to Christ, however, who regards death only as the end of the mortal body. For Jesus, it is not the end of spiritual significance. To have life, is to have significance beyond the grave.

I would suggest that it is precisely because many Christians have trivialised the resurrection and have simplified it, that has allowed for the disinterest. Disputes over the resurrection of the body/spirit only exasperate those who are struggling with the question. Are we raised as a 5 year old or a 35 year old? Do our resurrected bodies have wrinkles or not? Will we recognise each other? etc, etc....

When the resurrection is regarded as a present reality, it becomes much more relevant in the normal person's every day life. Every single choice that we make contains elements of it. For Jesus/Luke, the resurrection life is not just a future hope, but a current crucial aspect of our existence.

Most human beings simply do not want to struggle with the reality, that every human choice contains the universal elements of life and death/right and wrong. For them it makes life too difficult and too demanding. Much easier to blame God or the devil.

The resurrection life for Jesus, translates as the way of the cross. In other words it infiltrates every moment of our life.

When the disciples finally understood what Jesus was getting at they asked the crucial question. "Who then can be saved?". It is still a very good question.

Yes, the Christian resurrection life, requires tough thinking and uncomfortable wrestle, but it provides the only fully loving way to live our life. It is not about marriage or children (Which the Jewish culture regarded as immortality - your life continued through your children) but about individual relationship with God's Spirit/Life/Word. It is a journey of never ending struggle.

No wonder many are disinterested. They prefer a more simplistic approach.

Thank-you all for this page, and the space to voice my thoughts. I look forward to the rest of the week.

Regards,

KGB


Date:
07 Nov 2001
Time:
06:27:39

Comments

This is a facinating reading. The Sadducees try to "trap" Jesus in this discussion. How interesting that such an aristocratic group choses the very issue that they don't believe in to try to bring him down!!!!

What does this suggest for us? How often do we have discussions during the fellowship hour about similar issues: homosexuality, the death penalty, abortion, etc. People trying to find the one "flaw" to capture something that doesn't exist!

Anyway, it is appropriate to discuss the meaning of the resurrection and eternal life in these passages - something that us modern day "Sadducees" need to be reminded.

I know you all have heard the old joke:

Why were they called "Sadducees"? Because they didn't believe in the resurrection -- "sad-you-see"

Peace, tom in ga


Date:
07 Nov 2001
Time:
08:59:46

Comments

jjinchassc asked: "how do we deal with the tension between tradition and revelation?"

I haven't seen anyone tackle the question ... so I'll give it a shot.

As an Episcopalian, I have had to deal with this question rather often because our Anglican theological method (first enunciated by Richard Hooker during the reign of Elizabeth I) purports to draw from three streams: Holy Scripture, Divinely-inspired (or "right") reason, and Tradition. Sometimes this is referred to as Hooker's "three-legged stool." (Hooker was pre-Enlightenment, so for him "reason" was not the cold rationality of the modern age; "right reason" as he called it included an experiential component. Post-Entlightenment Wesley, as the Methodists amongst us will testify, took Hooker's "three-legged stool" and made it into a quadrilateral by separating "experience" from "reason" and ending up with a four-legged pedastal for theology: Scripture, Reason, Experience and Tradition.)

As I have understood the application of Hooker's method, Scripture has precedence over "right reason" or "tradition." If the answer to an issue is not found clearly in Scripture, one moves on to the application of reason (and experience) within the community of the church (this is not an individual exercise!). If the issue cannot be clearly decided thusly, one finally looks to the "tradition" -- how has the church dealt with similar issues throughout its history?

It's interesting that in the discussion this week there has been mention of a ladder.... because I once heard a theologian suggest that Hooker's three-pronged method should be pictured not as a stool but as a ladder: Scriture and Reason constitute the uprights of the ladder and the church's Traditions make up the rungs. As we "climb" through history or as we "climb" toward greater understanding of God and our relationship with God we leave various traditions behind, just as we leave behind the rungs of a ladder. We actually build this ladder as we move up, adding new rungs of "tradition" to help us move forward.

So, the tension between tradition and revelation (which includes Scripture _and_ Reason guided by the inspiration of the H. Spirit) is a healthy thing. That tension keeps the rungs of tradition steady so that we can use them to progress forward. As we move, though, we leave behind the various little-t traditions but always rely on the "uprights" of Revelation (Scripture and Reason). Traditions (little-t traditions, but not the steam of Tradition), thus, are intended to be abandoned, but Revelation is never abandoned.

Whenever we discuss Tradition, I am reminded of Jaroslav Pelikan's remark about the difference between "tradition" and "traditionalism": "Tradition is the living faith of the dead; traditionalism is the dead faith of the living." That seems particularly applicable to the Sadducees in this week's Gospel lesson.

Blessings, Eric in KS


Date:
07 Nov 2001
Time:
12:47:22

Comments

Eric KS- I like the ladder theology. I think it will preach and I can tie in Haggai too. The ladder is the way to think your way out of the despair of September 11. We find a vision hope in both the promise made to the Israelites and the promise of resurrection. Any insights will be welcome. Nancy-WI


Date:
07 Nov 2001
Time:
14:15:37

Comments

I have a vague idea brewing that is related to the image of the people in the story being compelled by law to assume the roles they did. The women and the men are in a sense treated as objects -- the woman must marry the next brother, and the next brother steps up and assumes the role of his "fallen" brother. Almost like in war, when the next man, it doesn't matter who it is, steps up and retrieves the banner that fell with his comrade. I guess I'll tie this image to Veterans' Day somehow, and the idea of doing what you conceive to be your duty, etc. But when I retrieve the idea of the freedom of the resurrection, that no one marries or is compelled to do anything, this life seems grim in comparison. I don't want to draw this stark a comparison. Can anyone give me a suggestion? Or should I scrap this idea and turn to another emphasis within the text? Thanks for all the great ideas I take in whenever I preach.

Jeri in IA


Date:
07 Nov 2001
Time:
14:28:13

Comments

Steph in SD - I don't know why everyone hates Stewardship. I think it's a most inspiring time, a chance to put our faith into action. In fact, at the offering each week I often say, "Let us bring our tithes and offerings and worship God with our money."

Anyway, the Haggai passage is good on this theme: "Shaking earth and heaven." On 9/11 lots of people were shaken up (although I wouldn't say it was God doing it, the result was the same). One of the results was an amazing expression of generosity. Sometimes it takes some shaking up for us to realize what's important in life. And when we put our lives in perspective, we also tend to be much more generous.

This is related somewhat to the theme of resurrection. You have to die before you are resurrected. You can't be resurrected until you are shaken up in death (whether physical or spiritual).

I'm not sure where that's going. We "did" stewardship last week, and I've already made many of these points in previous sermons. So I'm still waiting to see what the word is for this week. Thank you for all your helps.

DGinNYC


Date:
07 Nov 2001
Time:
16:44:05

Comments

This was sent to me Though someone might like it. Don't konw who wrote it.

" MEET ME IN THE STAIRWELL "

You say you will never forget where you were when you heard the news on September 11, 2001. Neither will I. I was on the 110th floor in a smoke filled room with a man who called his wife to say "Good-Bye." I held his fingers steady as he dialed. I gave him the peace to say, "Honey, I am not going to make it, but it is OK...I am ready to go."

I was with his wife when he called as she fed breakfast to their children. I held her up as she tried to understand his words and as she realized he wasn't coming home that night.

I was in the stairwell of the 23rd floor when a woman cried out to Me for help. "I have been knocking on the door of your heart for 50 years!" I said. "Of course I will show you the way home - only believe in Me now."

I was at the base of the building with the priest ministering to the injured and devastated souls. I took him home to tend to My flock in Heaven. He heard my voice and answered.

I was on all four of those planes, in every seat, with every prayer. I was with the crew as they were overtaken. I was in the very hearts of the believers there, comforting and assuring them that their faith has saved them.

I was in Texas, Kansas, London. I was standing next to you when you heard the terrible news. Did you sense Me?

I want you to know that I saw every face. I knew every name - though not all know Me. Some met Me for the first time on the 86th floor. Some sought of Me with their last breath. Some couldn't hear Me calling to them through the smoke and flames; "Come to Me... this way... take my hand." Some chose, for the final time, to ignore Me. But, I was there.

I did not place you in the Tower that day. You may not know why, but I do. However, if you were there in that explosive moment in time, would you have reached for Me? September 11, 2001 was not the end of the journey for you. But someday your journey will end. And I will be there for you as well. Seek Me now while I may be found. Then, at any moment, you know you are "ready to go." I will be in the stairwell of your final moments. God author unknown


Date:
07 Nov 2001
Time:
18:17:21

Comments

I remember the old movie "The Portrait of Dorien Grey" where his portrait gets older and uglier because of the sins encountered and involved in in this world. Seems like the Saducees are convinced that our enganglement in this life would really screw up the next life. Jesus says, those fit for the next life, don't get permanantly marked in this life. That is different, radical and is a gospel point of view!


Date:
07 Nov 2001
Time:
18:19:51

Comments

Whoops, I forgot to say, I'm Heltoni in SC to the Dorian Grey thing. Just in case someone wants to respond


Date:
07 Nov 2001
Time:
18:20:13

Comments

Whoops, I forgot to say, I'm Heltoni in SC to the Dorian Grey thing. Just in case someone wants to respond


Date:
07 Nov 2001
Time:
18:23:41

Comments

On the other hand, I have always wondered if this isn't where Paul got the idea that if folks could avoid burning with passion they should refrain from marriage, since Jesus said 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. Heltoni in SC, hope this only gets posted once.


Date:
07 Nov 2001
Time:
19:42:32

Comments

Thinking on Nancy-WI comment on “revisiting Sept. 11” this Sunday, as we come to “Veteran’s Day” overlapping God’s day, it might be interesting to look at where Sept. 11/Nov. 11 overlap theologically.

The Job 19:23-27a lection (not mentioned on this site as such, though it is in the lectionary for Nov. 11) provides cover art and quote for UCC bulletin covers: “I know that my redeemer lives.”

HarperCollins Study NRSV indicates “redeemer” Job seeking here is “an avenger of blood.” It might be interesting to look at the redeemer Christ came as instead (or even the response Job actually gets from God). And even more interesting to see where we put our faith — in the Redeemer who came among us or the Vengeance we may prefer!

Peace and courage, Bill in NY


Date:
08 Nov 2001
Time:
08:30:01

Comments

I am truly impressed with the quality of the discussion this week! Thanks esp. to KGB, revdan, and Jeri. I'm afraid my only contribution is to say that, having pastored a blue-collar urban church, a small, rural church, and hospital and nursing homes in the rural West, there are a LOT of people out there in our congregations who truly do believe in the resurrection -- or who at the very least speculate a lot about what it might mean. They may call it "heaven," or they may think of themselves as too sophisticated to call it that, but if they have had deep love on this earth, they hope to rejoin with those they have cared most for. Sometimes to resolve the issues that never got resolved in life. CE in CO


Date:
08 Nov 2001
Time:
11:50:56

Comments

CE in CO, your words are well taken and you are correct to realize that folks have many ways of thinking about the resurection even if they can't put them into words. Sometimes we can sell folks short and not realize that spiritually in the end is not about words but about the lives that we live and the ways we make it through each day. Let me make a new statement about the passage - we don't care about it becuase it is not asking the "right" question for most of us. The real question we want them to ask Jesus is simply - will we be united with the ones we love? if the answer is yes, then all the rest is just details. RevDan


Date:
08 Nov 2001
Time:
12:58:56

Comments

Here's a great interview with a modern day charming Sadducee -- listen to his view of life beyond this life. In particular, I liked his self-description: "you know what an agnostic is -- a cowardly atheist!" Go to npr.org, click on Programs A-Z, go to Morning Edition, click on experience the show (Nov. 8), then scroll down to Studs Terkel. It's worth the search, sorry I couldn't get a link to work here. NM in TX


Date:
08 Nov 2001
Time:
15:47:04

Comments

This is a tough text to preach on... divorce is always difficult... I'm looking forward to finish reading your contributions...

I think I might preach on Veterans day instead! :?)

pulpitt in ND


Date:
08 Nov 2001
Time:
15:54:32

Comments

drl,

Sounds to me like most of what you have done... a wonderful way to keep your friend active! I'm going to "steal" your idea about prayer "warriors" I might use a more peaceful word... like "prayer partner"...

still, the idea is a good one, thanks,

pulpitt in ND


Date:
08 Nov 2001
Time:
19:50:05

Comments

How's this for a sermon title on 11-11-01...

"All for one and one for all..."

pulpitt in ND


Date:
08 Nov 2001
Time:
20:49:37

Comments

The key is at the end - he is the God of the living, not the dead. The real question is not about marriage or resurrection, but the God who is the God of all the living. this is a liberation text, as I see it. It is an affirmation that women are not property, nor do they relate to God through their husbands, as some claim even today, but have their own direct relationship with God.

The Saducees were trying to trick Jesus - they did not believe in the resurrection anyway. But Jesus obviously did, so they asked him what they thought was a loaded question. Because women were viewed very much like property, the question was basically, "whose property will she be?" To which Jesus replies, "No ones."

I think this text really belongs with "there are no longer ...male nor female ... for all are one in Christ." It is our declaration of freedom and unity in the "God of the living."

Marriage is just a sign of a greater union, as Paul says in Ephesians 5. In the resurrection there is no marriage, because all will enjoy a closeness that marriage only hints at. I think of it as trying to describe the sunset to someone who cannot see - we do not know what it will be like, and cannot even begin to capture it in words, or even in our experiences here. But God has given us marriage as a gift, so that we can have a "sign" of that which is to come (similar, perhaps to communion as a "sign" pointing to a greater feast of love). The sign is one of unity, but also of freedom - the freedom found in love.

Anyway, a few thoughts!

Gary in New Bern standrew@coastalnet.com http://www.standy.org


Date:
09 Nov 2001
Time:
05:18:13

Comments

NM in Texas, thanks so much for the "modern day Sadducce" with Studs Terkel. Interesting!http://search.npr.org/cf/cmn/cmnpd01fm.cfm?PrgDate=11/08/2001&PrgID=3 Hope this link works! cla in WI


Date:
09 Nov 2001
Time:
12:41:13

Comments

A man went searching for his uncle’s grave in a military cemetery in Germany. They told him it would be impossible to find. His uncle was just 14, still a boy, when he died. It was the final days of the war, when bodies were buried in haste as the Allied forces advanced. You see, the man’s uncle had been a Hitler Youth.

When I was 14 I was a mass of insecurities and sometimes monumental stupidity. As an adolescent I really didn’t have a clue what was I was doing but I was too anxious to get my life going and never stopped to ask questions. Sounds familiar, I’m sure. We just went ahead. That 14-year-old boy who died in the war was prone to the same teenage uncertainty. I wanted to join the most popular club, the high school band, and that German boy jockeyed for a spot on the most revered club in the land, the Hitler Youth. And why not? It was like summer camp every day, steeped in German pride and history. He shouted their slogans, believed whatever they told him. In the end he was as much a victim of Hitler’s insane propaganda as any other who died.

The Allies didn’t have much opposition at the end. The neat white tombstones showed that Hitler had 14, 15, and 16 year olds in the army, boys who had scarcely finished playing with their toy soldiers.

A group of Sadducees came to Jesus. “In the resurrection, whose side will he be on? Will he be on the German side or on the Allied side?” Jesus said to them, “Those who belong in this age worry about allies and whose side you’re on. But those who are considered worthy of a place in the resurrection will not be concerned about allies and enemies. Indeed they cannot die anymore, because they are like angels and children of God.”

History may well judge these boys differently, but to Jesus they are victims of a world not yet made whole. May God's kingdom come soon.

[The story is based on a column in the Toronto Star, November 11, 2000, written by Martin Patriquin. His uncle’s name was Eberhard Rumscheidt.]

Rev. Karen in Ontario


Date:
09 Nov 2001
Time:
14:00:56

Comments

Gary in NC & Karen in Ontario - Thank you both so much. What inspiration takes on the text you have. Gary, I always find your comments helpful and have made a habit of reading your sermons which you post so amazingly early on your webpage. Peace, RWH in MD


Date:
09 Nov 2001
Time:
18:46:54

Comments

One small note: I see this passage as a debate between Jesus' challenging message of incarnation and the Sadducee's distrustful use of the theology of resurrection. On the one hand, with incarnation one is searching for God in the present and, on the other hand, with resurrection one is searching for the hope of God in the future. Neither is 'wrong' but I would argue that incarnation is the superior of the two. By searching for God in the present, we are also acknowledging our call to serve God with our actions, follow Christ's call in helping those in need and being open to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to discover the infinite ways God is present in our lives. One does needs the hope of a future resurrection but American Chiristianity often offers 'heaven' or 'salvation' as an end. It truely is only the beginning. Seeking the incarnation of God in our day to day living is the true work of a lifetime.

TB from MN


Date:
10 Nov 2001
Time:
11:12:38

Comments

I have benefitted so much from the discussion forum in the past that I felt I should post a sermon for the first time on DP. felt very uncomfortable with this week's texts for Canadian Remembrance Day. I am concerned that as preachers we don't set up the Sadducees and Pharisees as the bad guys--as a result of Sept. 11th we must seek religious tolerance (especially) in our preaching. So I turned to texts on "light". Genesis 1:1-5; Jn 1:1-9; Mtt 5:14-16. I spent a good deal of time reading Martin Buber, Elie Wiesel and talking to a friend who comleted a Masters in Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. He made sure I did not "Christianize" the Jewish philosophy. I have posted my sermon. I hope it sparks ideas. Roberta


Date:
10 Nov 2001
Time:
11:12:47

Comments

I have benefitted so much from the discussion forum in the past that I felt I should post a sermon for the first time on DP. felt very uncomfortable with this week's texts for Canadian Remembrance Day. I am concerned that as preachers we don't set up the Sadducees and Pharisees as the bad guys--as a result of Sept. 11th we must seek religious tolerance (especially) in our preaching. So I turned to texts on "light". Genesis 1:1-5; Jn 1:1-9; Mtt 5:14-16. I spent a good deal of time reading Martin Buber, Elie Wiesel and talking to a friend who comleted a Masters in Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. He made sure I did not "Christianize" the Jewish philosophy. I have posted my sermon. I hope it sparks ideas. Roberta


Date:
11 Nov 2001
Time:
11:10:39

Comments

Oops! The proper link for that sermon is http://www.stfrancis-ks.org/subpages/csermons/ordtime-pr27c-y2k+1.htm

Eric

 

Previous:

 


18 Oct 1998
20:52:02

So? What is the message in this? Where is the sermon in this? Where is the hope?

Jim - Iowa


21 Oct 1998
15:52:27

Why would Jesus say that marriage is a worldly thing and not a heavenly thing? Is Jesus saying that marriage does not reflect the perfect will of God but circumstancial needs of humans on earth? How does this fit with the narrative of Jesus giving Peter the Keys to the kingdom and saying what ever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven? What about the phrase, marriages are made in heaven?


21 Oct 1998
15:58:13

Any of you like the movie, What Dreams May Come? It offers a new paradigm for life after death which speaks especially to many people in younger generations. It raises many questions including what about marriage relationships in the life to come?


27 Oct 1998
23:36:12

It seems to me that this passage is making the point that the logic of the resurrection is not the logic of the world. The Sadduccees try making an argument to prove the concept of the resurrection as absurd. The good news is that our faith is not primarily a logical construct, but an eternal relationship with a living God!

Nick


29 Oct 1998
18:44:21

As I've prayed on this passage, I keep coming back to the fact that God is bigger than our human minds can handle. In our confirmation class last week we were talking about the names that we use for God. I had posted 31 different biblical names for God around the room -- and could easily have found hundreds more. The point was, none of those words was able to encompass all that God is. We need to learn (or perhaps only remember) that although we are restricted to human concepts, God is beyond our wildest imaginings. And that is the Good News -- God can do things for people that we can't even imagine. For example, God is big enough to forgive a person who abuses a child so badly that the child dies. Most importantly, God is big enough to send His Son to die for my sins -- 2000 years before I had even committed them. JJ


29 Oct 1998
22:25:04

WILLIAMS'S PEN FILLED With God's Spirit Again

THOSE COUNTED WORTHY

Oh those poor Sadducees' have been placed all in one lump but if we read real close only some were in a resurrection slump

Now here lies the perfect question for that Sad- ducee camp the ones oppossing a resurrection and using the law of Moses as their lamp

One wife and seven brothers all together in a marriage slate so the question seemed perfect to prove no resurrection state

So amazing were these Sadducees' reasoning so for if all eight were resurrected what would she do with these seven bows

But Moses pointed to a much stranger sign the God of the living so there is never any dead time

We only die to each other in this very short life but the Sadducees' were slow to account for God's living should have ended this very strife

Oh those poor Sadducees' have been placed all in one lump but to the ones oppossing the resurrection Jesus revealed a change in condition from that deadly slump

10/29/98


31 Oct 1998
15:38:08

For Rebecca in MD,

Thanks so very much for your posts. I find them very helpful. Do you accept direct email?

jah


02 Nov 1998
10:30:23

I understand that the Saducees not only denied the resurrection, they did not believe in life after death or any reward or punishment beyond this life. They denied the existence of angels and demons. They did not believe that God was concerned with what people did or did not do.

Doesn't this parallel Spongianity in many respects? And other neo-Christian sects who deny so much of orthodox Christianity while impying that they know the truth, the way and the life?

Early musings...

Rick in Va


02 Nov 1998
11:53:22

Sometimes, maybe most of the time we limit God to our vison rather than vision God as the ultimate. Perhaps this Lukan passage is not about marriage at all but about our concept of eschatology. Frequently or conceptual thinking of eternal life is clundy by our family view.


02 Nov 1998
12:08:26

where is the hope? As someone going through a divorce, it is a very hopeful passage.


02 Nov 1998
12:25:08

Please, let's not go into this scripture with a 20th century view of marriage. Marriage in the first century was an economic arrangement, usually initiated and concluded by the parents of the two parties. Generally speaking, the woman had no say in the matter, and the man often had very little, especially if he were 15 or so, which was a normal age to be married.

To me, when Jesus says we won't be giving people in marriage in the Kingdom, Jesus is saying that one human being will not be held subservient to another, that we won't have the economic necessities that made marriage what it was.

I find this very hopeful.

ST


02 Nov 1998
12:35:54

I need the help of all of you as I struggle to preach this week's eschatological passages. I have a great deal of trouble knowing how to approach this.

On the one hand, I am appalled by the kind of fasciniation with the "end times" and trying to predict Jesus' return that we see in a lot of pop Christianity. It's nothing new, my grandmother's cousins one put on white robes and got into their wagon to sit on a hill to wait for the appearnace of the Lord. He was sure to come that day.

On the other hand, I believe firmly in the resurrection to life everlasting. We go finally to the presence of God.

That in itself is a struggle for me, because I had seminary professors in theology who taught that to believe in a personal resurrection was simply a human wish to defy our mortality. They considered it a selfish belief.

I think that part of what Jesus is saying here is that our life in the Realm of God will be so different from what it is here that we can't understand it in those terms. It's not more of the same. No harps. New relationships.

Please share how you will deal with these issues.

ST


02 Nov 1998
13:13:21

Perhaps a way to 'manage' the issue, is not to answer the questions, but rather ask even more- stretching our congregations own imagery so that they can better push their own ideas and concepts which may be false, or at least too small.

RL


02 Nov 1998
13:14:26

Perhaps a way to 'manage' the issue, is not to answer the questions, but rather ask even more- stretching our congregations own imagery so that they can better push their own ideas and concepts which may be false, or at least too small.

RL


02 Nov 1998
14:52:54

My husband's grandparents were in our lives for quite a while. First the grandfather went. A good man, a Christian, a product of his time he was appalled when one granddaughter was seriously involved with a person of another color. He got over that. Anyway, both his first wife and the daughter of that marriage died and he re-married Julie, who was a widow with teenage daughters. After his death, Julie worried that in heaven would he be with his first wife or with her? She was tortured by these thoughts. She was not worried about getting in, just who wold be with whom. Interestingly, she was not worried about the first husband, just the second.

I offer this because these were real thoughts of a not-so-dumb lady. If your church is like mine, it has some widows and widowers and re-marrieds older folks, and who will be with whom may be for them more than a "sad-you-see" joke. Comments that "God is bigger than that" will surely need amplification.

Aloha, HW in HI


02 Nov 1998
15:37:40

Where is the hope? I find it in the last few words :for to him all of them are alive." I wonder why it can't be enough for us simply to place our trust in that. That to God, the dead are all alive. Whatever that means in terms of our relationships, we trust that it is good, that is is far better than our relationships this side of the grave, though through them we can experience eternal life for sure. IT seems here an "earthly" question gets a "heavenly" answer. Mary


02 Nov 1998
16:14:19

Mary,

I agree with you. The Saducees, who did not believe in the resurrection, ask questions of Jesus concerning the resurrection. Their motive was not the seeking of an answer but the entrapment of Jesus.

The Scriptures elsewhere tell of Christ, the bride-groom, coming for His Church, the bride. Would it be theologically sound to say that marriage, as defined this side of heaven will pale in importance when compared to our 'marriage' to Christ, our being united with Him, where we will worship, praise and glorify Him forever?

Hw In HI,

Your questions and comments display a strong pastoral sense, but I wonder if concerns today about which husband/wife we would be with in Heaven doesn't distract from or diminish the fact that our focus eternally will not be about each other but about the One who has reconciled us to the Father and whose existence and purpose has allowed us to be in His presence?

Great thoughts so far, keep 'em coming...

Rick in Va


02 Nov 1998
17:20:54

It's apparent from the context that Saduccees are just trying again to trap Jesus. They think that Jesus is a kook- at best a Pharisee wannabe, at worst part of the desert-dwelling lunatic fringe. They think that if they embarass him, they will somehow get people to stop following him. His answer is not really about resurrection, it is about relationship. What Jesus is saying is that only our relationship with the God Who Resurrects counts. He is not intending to give us some sort of a systematic explanation of the "resurrection body." After all, what does it mean that the resurrected "are like the angels in heaven?" What are angels anyway? The Saduccees considered angelogy to be pagan supertition, so why does Jesus use this image as the answer? Could it be that he is saying, "Hey, folks, eternity will be like nothing you can imagine. God, the Eternal One, will bring those with faith into resurrection life. Oh, and by the way, morons, if you ever read the Torah you would know that there was a resurrection. After all, didn't Moses call Yahweh the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. That means that death doesn't even count in eternity: only our relationship with God does."


02 Nov 1998
18:34:12

My grand suspicion is that we are nearly clueless about heaven, about resurrection about God.... But Jesus came to gives us clues, and that those clues are sufficient for faith. That in the resurrection our past alliances, marriages, loves, will not be trashed I am sure. But somehow they will not be critical, either.

One thing I have learned is to look at the scripture from the pain of the congregation. I once gave a sermon that side-stepped female subserviance, only to watch a woman sob and sob while i spoke -- she had been repeatedly raped by hre father as a child. Boy, did I feel awful! Now I try to look at the pain, as one aspect only, when i preach. And I still think its important to remember that some of our people will be wondering, just like the "sad-you-sees".

HW in HI


02 Nov 1998
19:13:18

I think this text is a wonderful door into challenging are members views of heaven. Are children have a better picture of heaven from Hollywood than they do from the church? Do I have a better picture than Hollywood? Perhaps/perhaps not, but I can tell you God has a far greater view than Hollywood does. God tears down the limits. Personally my marriage is the most wonderful gift I have been given in this world, and yet Jesus tells me there is still greater gifts. A love which surpasses the love I have for my wife!!! What a gift!

On a different note same theme I once asked a group of mental patients to describe what they thought Heaven was like. The most enduring answer to this question came from a woman who could barely move. She responded, "Heavens a place without Wheelchairs." This text helps me ponder what heaven is like, but still keeps me hoping.

Intern Mike


02 Nov 1998
20:09:12

The hope is in the fact that He is the God of abraham and not merely his creator.When the father tells us that he is our God, He means it in an active and living sense. His love for me is so great that he will not pass the rest of eternity without me. This hope in the ressurection was vital to the first century christians willingness to be martyred for the faith. Because Christ rose from the dead I can live for God and not worry that it is all for nothing that I give up certain worldly desires and attitudes. I fear that some of my more liberal freinds who deny the ressurection of Christ may be living the life of the dead before their time. Heideger was preoccupied with the notion that facing our death pushes us toward decision but I believe that belief in eternal life allows us to act fearlessly in our decision


02 Nov 1998
22:48:16

I agree with H in HA. This passage does provide some interesting commentary on relationships once we pass to the other side. But I think the main direction of the text is about the resurrection. Marriage is an transitory covenant that is not needed in heaven. Here on earth, due to the brokeness of sin we need covenants to help us treat people faitfully. We won't need these in heaven. But we will still retain the knowledge, intimacy, and love we shared with our loved ones here on earth. In heaven its possible to love two, three, four lovers with out jealousy, abuse, fear, because we will be filled with the love of Christ. Now what to say about the resurrection...


02 Nov 1998
23:07:22

The Great "I Am."....the God of Abraham.... I was hoping to weave Veteran's Day somehow into the morning message. I'm looking for the thread. My husband of 24 years keeps reminding me that we are only married "until death do us part." Oh well. What are the updates please? How was the baptism? Did we include Boomer? How is the organist? Any ideas for Vet's Day?


03 Nov 1998
00:42:22

THE MAIN THRUST OF THIS is that earthly considerations are not necesarily heavenly ones. It was acceptable for a widow to marry her brother-in-law in order to have children and keep the family name alive. SEE the word, 'childless' in the passage? In heaven, having children, keeping a family name alive is not a worry, not a priorty, not a necessity. Neither is the earthly complication from someone being married to 2 or 3 spouses throughout their lifetime. In heaven, I think we'll all be as close as if we were all married or at least close enough to be part of the family of God. The Book of Revelation describes Heaven usually NOT BY what IS THERE, but by what IS NOT there--no tears, no sorrow, etc. With this passage, we could add, no jealously, no abuse, no marital domination, no coveting, no treating someone as if they were exclusive property. What are problems and considerations here are not the same problems in Heaven. STAN


03 Nov 1998
10:08:08

I am touched by Mary's thought that heaven will be greater than our minds and hearts can even envision right now. What's hard for many people is that death is painful; it brings separation from the ones we love. So we latch on to the hope that we'll see them again, and that inevitably is understood in terms of the relationships we have had in this life. But we do forget that we are now living in the "shadowlands." Many things which exist for us now--even good things--are given to us by God because it is a broken world. Law, for example, is necessary to maintain order and justice. In the fullness of God's eternal realm, there won't be a need for law. Churches exist here because we are a people separated from God and forgetful of God's love and presence in our lives. We attend places of worship to remind us of who we are and to call us into mission into the world. But someday, in God's eternity, we won't need churches any more, for we will be always in the fullness of God's presence. Marriage, too, is one of those things that help us get through this barren world. Marriage calls us to discover the power of commitment, sacrifice, partnership, co-creation, tenderness, vulnerability, hopefulness, and the mystery of love in a world where those things are elusive and even avoided. Someday those same characteristics will describe every relationship, and we will be in the heart of love and joy. That doesn't diminish the importance of a wonderful marriage here. It gives us hope that we who strive for healthy, whole marriages here will be in practice for later on. We've been given a foretaste. And in all of this, we learn just to trust that God has better things in store for us, now and later, than we can even imagine. -- Tim in Deep River


03 Nov 1998
10:22:04

From time to time I hear parishioners express concerns that we will not know one another in heaven. I'm not sure where this anxiety comes from, but I suspect they are wrestling with one of the issues that Jesus raises in this passage. If there is no marrying or giving in marriage in heaven, what will human relationships be like there? From this dark vale, it's kind of hard to imagine the transcendent relationships that will exist among the children of the resurrection. The idea that God is not the God of the dead but of the living really is an excellent follow-on to the emphases of All Saints Sunday.

Do any of you know C. S. Lewis's "The Great Divorce"? It deals with some of these issues, though indirectly. It's one of my favorites.

Bill in SoMD (where we are finally getting a little rain, thank God!)


03 Nov 1998
10:47:09

Isn't it funny that the questioner is so "stuck" in worldly relationships? Jesus answers that it won't be like "this age" because then we will be "children of the resurrection." It sounds to me like THIS age is transitory and fleeting, and the "other" age is what is REAL. And still we are so hung up on NOW.

Has anyone read Verna Dozier and James Adams' book, Sisters and Brothers: Reclaiming a Biblical Ideal of Community? (a synopsis and reviews can be found at <http://www.cowley.org/home/dozier.htm#Sisters>). This idea that we are all children of God and so sisters and brothers comes as close as I can imagine to what I think Jesus is saying here.

Preacherlady


03 Nov 1998
14:45:34

Tim in Deep (and soothing) River,

Your words on Law and Marriage struck a chord. I couldn't agree with you more. It's always a joy to see someone articulate those ideas one is unable to express clearly but is thinking (or feeling) similarly.

Thanks... Let's hear more from you...

Rick in Va


03 Nov 1998
15:15:44

I was thinking of the movie, "As Good as it Gets". I wonder if the Saducee's ever asked themselves the question, "Is this as good as it gets?" That is the hope we have for our future, we know that the next life is going to be better and this isn't as good as it gets.

Colemine


03 Nov 1998
17:11:55

I wonder if this has anything to do with the need of the Sadducees to distract Jesus from their own behavior. They don't want the answer to any question and it has nothing to do with logic or reason. They want to trap him, so that they can preserve their own position of power. We do it all the time. Techniques to divert focus from what we are personally up to exist and are widely used from my house to the "white house." God knows there is plenty these days to divert us from faith issues, Bible Study, prayer or anything of God, peace or spirituality. PM, Long Beach, CA.


03 Nov 1998
17:37:09

It seems unfair to lable this a trick question. It seems like gossip for us to call the Sadducees names that Luke and Jesus are not using here. This question was already an issue between Sadducees and Pharasees and to put this familiar argument before Jesus as the master is something that Jesus seems to respond to seriously and kindly. Isn't the reason you cannot imagine relationships in Heaven because you have closed your mind about the resurection when the scripture points to it. Try imagining this...


03 Nov 1998
17:49:12

People in my church have asked about knowing each other in Heaven. I don't know where this concern comes from. Could it be partly from Erick Claptons song about his son's death where he sings, "would you know my name, would it be the same if I saw you in Heaven?"


03 Nov 1998
17:57:21

Most of the older people in my congregation are now single. One man drives over a hundred miles about every other week to be with a lady he enjoys being with and who loves him. He told me that he would never marry again because of his commitment to his wife who died 30 years ago. It is as if he wants to make sure that he would still have this bond with his only wife in Heaven. His feelings and beliefs are important and I won't argue with him. Yet I wonder how many of these older people would prefer to remarry except that they fear it would cause problems when the get to Heaven.


03 Nov 1998
18:06:22

When we pray "thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven" we are guided and I believe also empowered by our sense of God's perfect will in Heaven. 1 Cor 13 says that love never ends but it also says that when the perfect comes the imperfect will pass away. I fear that to imagine not being married in Heaven sort of implies that parents who are clearly anxious to have a son or daughter get married may be pushing an ideal that may not be the ultimate ideal.


03 Nov 1998
18:09:12

Is the idea of the church having a worship service for a divorce, not as a celebration but as an act of healing really a crazy or unChristian idea?


03 Nov 1998
18:35:02

I like the way Eugene Peterson paraphrases this passage and it seems to follow along the lines of the discussion here: "Jesus said, 'Marriage is a major preoccupation here, but not there. Those who are included in the resurrection of the dead will no longer be concerned with mariagenor, of course, with death. They will have better things to think about, if you can believe it. All ecstasies and intimacies then will be with God." (from the message) W.in NJ


03 Nov 1998
22:35:46

To me this passage is actually talking about focusing on what is important. The Saducess are more concerned about something that will not make a difference in anyones life. I see Jesus as calling us to focus on doing something that impacts lioves in the here and now.

Greg in Nashville


04 Nov 1998
08:07:26

I think the questions and thoughts for this text have been great. To add to the discussion, there seems to be another problem, the Sadducees are thinking of keeping people in their same pigeon hole as on earth. The woman remains a prisoner, in their thinking, by continuing her status of being a servant to her husband, or husbands. So ofte we find ourselves wanting to keep the same settings in our our idea of heaven as we do here on earth. This sort of reminds me of Mark Twain's sarcastic remarks in his book that discusses heaven, "Damned Human Race and A Pen Warmend in Hell" where he quips that we humans want to include in heaven things we do not like on earth, but keep out our joys and pleasures. The idea of a heaven being some place new and filled with growing in faith has a better appeal to me, than whethere or not we keep women and others in a set pattern of continued submissiveness. To the one writer, I too liked C.S. Lewis "The Great Divorce".

Thanks for the comments.

jdl in Ohio


04 Nov 1998
10:41:41

This seems like an absurd scenario that the Saducces come up with, but folks have always been fascinated by this passage.

In the early 1800's a couple of different groups based whole theologies on their interpretation of this passage. Joseph Smith said that since there is no giving in marriage in heaven, we better get it right on earth so it will last into eternity, and hence the Mormon practice of "temple-sealed marriage."

At about the same time, just down the road in N.Y. state, John Humphrey Noyes concluded that if marriage doesn't matter in heaven, it shouldn't matter on earth either, and the Oneida community adhered to a kind of "Free Love" sexuality which maybe seemed like "eheaven on earth" to Noyes (but probably not to anyone else.)

When I first considered this passage, I thought in terms of how we ask so many foolish question in order to avoid the real ones. But after further consideration, I think that while the Saducees question is not sincere, it is not a stupid question. The seven brothers-one bride story carries things to an extreme, but for some widows and widowers in my congregation, this is a very real issue. At funerals, I generally talk about being with our loved ones again, and while I believe that to be true, the way in which that will be true is probably far different (and greater) than we can imagine.

For me, this passage is not so much about marriage, but about the nature of resurrection life.

I've enjoyed all of the input this week--been away from the lectionary a few weeks and it's good to get back.

Dave in IL


04 Nov 1998
11:42:12

Isn't being in the Presence in heaven, being in the presence of pure Love. So, we will be welcomed into pure Love, we will be surrounded by this Love, and I believe that our loved ones who go to heaven, will also be there, and a part of the pure Love. So many are writing in, expressing that their congregations are worried about being with their loved ones. There is not even the slightest doubt in my mind that we will all be gathered, as promised in the scriptures. What we need to worry about is our earthly living, so that we are assurred of the blessed resurrection. That is why evangelism is so important, so that the harvest is plentiful. "and what a day of rejoicing it will be!" LS


04 Nov 1998
15:19:13

As for the question of a "worship service" for divorce, I can say that in the United Methodist Book of Worship, there is a short service of healing for persons going through a divorce.

One message of hope that can arise from this passage is that for those who have experienced the pain of a broken relationship, assurance is given that the love which awaits us in eternity will never let us down. I like to tie this passage into 1 Corinthians 13: "For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face." Everything we know and cherish here in this life is but a dim reflection of God's presence, which we will experience some day. The natural order as we know it will cease to exist: we will no longer die, we will no longer need human companionship, we will shed no more tears, etc.

Personally, having been disappointed in love and marriage, I long for God's perfect love. I don't care what else heaven may be like.

Nancy


04 Nov 1998
15:28:50

Interesting isn't it that when Jerusalem fell in 70 AD, the Sadducees disappeared from the religious radar screen. They were so bound up to status quo temple tradition, that they couldn't function in such an adverse situation. Anything there for us, who make our livelihood in our little temples??? gms in MO


04 Nov 1998
20:34:08

A couple of early thoughts from north of the border.

1 - Yet another passage which wipes out the North American church's obsession with how the family is the bedrock of everything we hold dear. The bible really isn't very family-values oriented!

2 - Preacherlady offered, "It sounds to me like THIS age is transitory and fleeting, and the "other" age is what is REAL. And still we are so hung up on NOW." And when we get there, we will wonder what the attraction was, no doubt!

And yet...

I find myself uncomfortable with dismissing today, because today is when and where I experience the grace of God, today is when and where I have the incredible, mind boggling experience of sharing that grace (in little, very imperfect ways!).

I don't want to deflect our discussion, but this is one of the things that I like about our Lutheran approach to baptism. One Lutheran theologian said, "We do not believe that salvation starts for us after we die. We believe that salvation starts sooner and lasts longer." It starts in baptism, it is fed and nourished in worship, prayer, communion, fellowship, it is shown in service and witness.

Others have mentioned C.S. Lewis' "The Great Divorce." I believe it was there that he said, believers in heaven will look back at life on earth and see nothing but heaven. "The kingdom of heaven is among you." It starts sooner and lasts longer...

3 - One more. I agree with the proposition that the real point of resurrection is not being with the ones we happened to love while in our life on earth. The point is being with the Lord. However, when people are in crisis due to death of a loved one, they don't need us to "correct" their theology. Let's point to Jesus who has promised to restore all things to the Father. That should cover all our loved ones, and (shock of shocks!) us, too!!

Rick in Cabada, eh?


04 Nov 1998
22:10:29

I'm not preaching this week, and at first I was glad not to have to deal with this passage. Now, I think I'm sorry. After reading all your wonderful entries, I see I'm missing an opportunity.

I've been looking ahead (a luxury) to the next few weeks. Bill in SoMD pointed out that this is a good passage to follow All Saints because of verse 38: "Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living, for to him all of them are alive." So, if I WERE preaching this week, I would preach on the God of the living, where we are all living in heaven, making the Saducees' question moot because the first husband never would have died . . .

Next week, the 15th, I'm titling my sermon The Y2K Problem and I'm going to look for predictions about and preparations for the end of time, the end of the millenium, etc. (If you know any, let me know -- the stranger the better.) For one thing, I think the children (I know mine have) will pick up on the 'end of the world' stuff that will float out there as we get closer to the year 2000, and this might be a good time to reassure them that God is not the God of the dead, or of end times, but God is God of the living and of beginnings.

Then, the 22nd is Christ the King Sunday AND Thanksgiving Sunday in the U.S. Christ the King focuses on the reign of God/Christ over the world. Everything was, is and will be in God's hands. The trick is going to be to relate that to our National Feast Day -- the only day we officially acknowledge God.

Finally, the scripture for the first Sunday in Advent ends with Matthew 24:44: "Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour."

There IS rhyme and reason to these passages. And, for once, they seem to me to fit together. . .

RevJan


04 Nov 1998
22:27:51

I suspect that where we land on this passage has something to do with where we've been.... Probably the same is true for our people. After 22 years of marriage, i sure won't say we've got it right, but he's "still the one." And, well, we've worked hard on this relationship, we've fought for this marriage, some days it seems indeed that it is "what God hath joined together!" So I should like to carry it on, I think. In my congregation are many like me, plus many widows and widowers, many remarried, many divorced, many single. To make things better, a woman twice-widowed is returning tomorrow, fresh from the loss of her second-beloved. I am beginning to think that what I must do is acknowledge where we stand, together and individually, and then take us to where Jesus calls us inevitably: to a God who is indeed greater than we can conceive.

On another note, I would like to thank everybody for their prayers for our organist, who attempted suicide about a month ago. She never would see me while in the hospital, but she called today. She is now out of the hospital and confronting the cervical cancer that drove her to the edge, and moving to the Bay area for treatment. She is still near the edge i think, but she said she could feel everyone's prayers, so i truly thank you. For our part, our little broke church will continue to pay her, and for us this is a sign of the resurrection amidst our brokeness.

Aloha,

HW in HI

PS to Nancy- is the Methodist prayer book on the web? We have a great couple that is divorcing, and I would like to find a pastoral way to stand in worship beside them and their young children.


05 Nov 1998
06:39:32

Wow! what a stimulating discussion again this week. As I read through the thread of the contributions, several pieces of the "puzzle" on heaven began to come together for me. 1) I agree that this question of heaven is a real concern for parishioners (I encounter it in the nagging question some face with whom to get interred--first or second spouse's remains? 2) I like a lot of concepts shared above. What grabbed me the most is a combination of preacherlady's focus on what's really important (one of my favorite sayings: the most important things in life aren't things) and Rick's contribution that "the kingdom of heaven is already among us."

I'd like to try to focus my congregation on: heaven starts here and now and continues into eternity. (To our sci-fi fans: Heaven is like a dimensional warp). As we engage in heavenly praise and worship with tamborines, trumpets, guitars, and synthesizers (as well as in the quiet of our thoughts on God), we discover that the worries of this life already start to fade (Chorus: "Turn your eyes upon Jesus . ." ). Also, the question about whether we will recognize others (question of personal identity--relatively new Western concept), and whether our marriages will last through eternity will lose its wonderment: I can experience a piece of heaven already while enjoying the fellowship of brothers and sisters, while holding hands with my lover. As we worship God together our spirits soar and our Lord "lifts us up where we belong" . . . Frank in PA


05 Nov 1998
08:56:08

Irrelevant, delusional, speculation in the "name" or facade of theology ABOUT the resurrection is not comparable to the existential, experiential, and experimental/historica/faithl knowledge OF the resurrection as disclosed in the drama of Holy Ground's Burning Bush. The "I-AM-NESS" identity of the living God who acts in human history cannot be seperated from our long-range "covenant" history involving the "fathers" of faith, Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, nor can it be separated from our individual personal spirituality. Our God is the God of the "living" who brings "resurrection out of the ashes of burnt stumps. For this reason we name our children "Hope". In our relation to the past (historicity) and in our relation to the future (futuricity), we are opened to an "open" heaven where the dove of the Spirit descends confirming us in the "baptism of fire"! PaideiaSCO in LA


05 Nov 1998
09:42:13

RevJan,

As an Applications Developer (Computer Programmer) for some 15 years now, I can tell you that we should not diminish the seriousness of the Y2K problem.

Many companies are in the throes of Y2K conversion (including my own). There are literally millions and millions (being Sagan - nesque here) of lines of code to change and not a lot of expertise to do it since much of the code needing change was written in languages no longer in use.

There are also tons of imbedded chips (hardware) with the same problem being used in medical equipment, manufacturing plants, etc. These chips can't be simply modified but must be replaced.

Elevators are one example of the vulnerability that’s out there. One New York skyscraper tested their elevators recently by changing their system date to January 1, 2000. The elevators froze in between floors. They were expecting them to come down to the 1st floor and stay.

I'm not ready yet to adopt some of the survival philosophies that many are now embracing (it's incredible how many are). I personally know of people who are preparing for the worst. These are people who love the Lord, who are respected people in the community, and very, very smart (many of them computer experts).

What I am ready to embrace is the incredible opportunity we as Christians may have to turn our faces to His face, not just for shelter or refuge but wisdom and guidance.

Here’s a web site that is probably pushing the envelope of extremism in the view of many. It’s www.babel2000.com. There are many others out there. Using your browser's search engine, do a find on Y2K. You'll get tons of hits.

Hope this helps,

Rick in Va


05 Nov 1998
10:08:40

Rick in Canada -- yes, I agree that the Kingdom of God is here and now... but it can only be a flicker, a glimpse of what is to come. If we think we have experienced love HERE, it is nothing like the length and depth and breadth of love we will experience in its fullness when we are born to the OTHER age.

And it occurs to me, Frank and others, that nagging question about what happens to the previous partners in a marriage is exactly what we address when we do pre-marital counseling for a second marriage (that is, what we Episcopalians are charged to do). The previous relationship never really ends, though it may be a changed relationship by either death or divorce. We all know the "ghosts" of a former wife or husband that a person just can't let go in order to be fully with this new relationship. And we all know how a relationship continues after a divorce, especially when there are children involved.

That can really throw a different light on "love your enemies and do good to those who hate you... for even sinners love those who love them" (Luke 6:27ff) that we read this past week for All Saints'.

Though I think the original question has more to do with duty/property/propriety than love, it certainly addresses our frame of mind today.

Preacherlady


05 Nov 1998
11:20:31

PaideiaSCO in LA . . . .thanks for your shared insights. Yes, there is biblical data supporting the preservation of our individuality in the life to come (God of Abe,... the God of the living not the dead)--esp. in light of the connection of names and personal traits back then (from Abram to Abraham...).

Preacherlady . . . . what you shared about the counseling makes a lot of sense. How would you counsel remarrying couples as far as this passage is concerned (if at all)? How could they read this text and still be 'excited' about heaven? Do some need to read it more in terms of "yet to come" and others more in terms of "closer than you think?"


05 Nov 1998
12:56:48

05 NOV 98 Great contributions as always! W. Paul Jones writing in Nov `95 Lectionary Homiletics points out that marriage "is a provision given by God to minister to our (earthly) lonliness (Gen. 2:18)." And many of us know the great blessing (and challenges!) of such a gracious provision. But, as has been said, we cannot use normal deduction to go from earthly provision to resurrection reality (by analogy). Good reminder (from someone here) that 1st (or 15th or 19th) century marriage is comparable to 20th century western thought. Marriage was chauvenistic (typically) and the woman was responsible to produce a male heir (never mind that we now know the father's contribution determines gender... at least up until contemporary meddling!). It wouldn't surprise me if Jesus--and especially Luke's Jesus--speaks a word of hope and promise to the rather nameless, impersonal, vehicular sort of object that the wife was considered. The possibilities are so many... I'm struggling to point out our awesome resurrection hope over against the neo-platonic (very old) immortal spirit thought which is popular again today. Christians sometimes rely more on modern anecdotes (e.g. "Walking toward the light") for their doctrine of the resurrection, than our scriptural and church traditions. Fred Craddock, commenting on this text notes that Christ's answer "pointsout the inappropriateness of the (Sadducees) question, given the difference between life in this age and the age to come. In this age, the fact of death makes marriage and perpetuation of life essential. However, in the age to come there is no death, but those who attain to the resurrection are equal to the angels, they are children of God. Notice how far this is from the notion of the immortal soul, an idea that has intruded itself into Christian doctrine." Peace and power. Peter in Orange, CA pkne@juno.com


05 Nov 1998
13:15:19

In response to Rick in Cabada, eh?

I think your struggles with the transitory nature of the here and now versus the eternity of the Hereafter are right on the money. It is, afterall, a feature of gnostic Platonism to devalue and denigrate our reality and the flesh. The body is something to be transcended because it imprisons the soul, which is more real. The logical extreme of such thinking, even as it creeps into orthodoxy, is for us also to deny the importance of the here and now, a here-and-now that God did not transcend but entered in the flesh and was resurrected in the flesh. The other NT text that is offered for this Sunday is Paul's second letter to the Thessalonians which provides some stern warnings about becoming too "enrapt" with the threat of the future. Part of the point which I am proclaiming is that by Jesus Christ, who is "God not of the dead, but of the living," we are freed from the worry about what happens in the hereafter AND in being freed from this, we are now free to bear witness to this freedom in Christ Jesus to a world dying and worrying about such things.

Mike in WI


05 Nov 1998
13:16:29

In response to Rick in Cabada, eh?

I think your struggles with the transitory nature of the here and now versus the eternity of the Hereafter are right on the money. It is, afterall, a feature of gnostic Platonism to devalue and denigrate our reality and the flesh. The body is something to be transcended because it imprisons the soul, which is more real. The logical extreme of such thinking, even as it creeps into orthodoxy, is for us also to deny the importance of the here and now, a here-and-now that God did not transcend but entered in the flesh and was resurrected in the flesh. The other NT text that is offered for this Sunday is Paul's second letter to the Thessalonians which provides some stern warnings about becoming too "enrapt" with the threat of the future. Part of the point which I am proclaiming is that by Jesus Christ, who is "God not of the dead, but of the living," we are freed from the worry about what happens in the hereafter AND in being freed from this, we are now free to bear witness to this freedom in Christ Jesus to a world dying and worrying about such things.

Mike in WI


05 Nov 1998
13:58:46

I have not read all the other contributions yet, but I would like to note that our Bible study group here grabbed on to Jesus' way of dealing with conflict. Most notably, he stays engaged.

(I also noted that if I was in a situation where I was being challenged all the time, I would be looking for a new parish....!)

peace

kent in Québec


05 Nov 1998
14:09:16

Bill in SoMD...interesting that you mentioned Lewis's "The Great Divorce". In that work, there is a woman (who ends up returning to Hell) who only views heaven as a means for continuing her obsessive, dominating relationship with her husband. It's from that sort of brokenness in human relationships that I think God delivers us when in heaven, there is no marriage as we presently understand it. I suspect most of you are right - that in heaven, there is no need for earthly covenants (which can be a blessing or can be abused) and that what God has planned for us in heaven transcends what we can know from this side. It's like trying to explain to an unborn baby what the world looks like outside the womb . We just don't see enough light from our vantage point to illuminate the sights that are yet to be.


05 Nov 1998
14:48:00

C.S.Lewis also said this:

"If you read history you'll find that Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next.

The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men of the faith who built up the Middle Ages, the English evangelicals who abolished the slave trade, all left their marks on earth precisely because their minds were occupied not with earth but with Heaven.

It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they've become so ineffective in this one.

Aim at Heaven and you get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither."

Rick in Va


05 Nov 1998
16:31:10

Okay, lets face it - most of our people do not believe in the resurrection. They have some cultural notion of 'immortality of the soul' which as you know is a pagan Greek idea and not grounded anywhere in scipture unless you push the point regarding Sheol. We modern day Christians are smart enough to know like the Sadduccess that the resurrection is outside the canonical text of the Torah. (Of course, as someone has observed, there is not resurrection belief (fully) until Jesus dies and rises again. How is it, I wonder, that we can't comprehend the Resurrection. Why have we allowed Scientific Theory to blind us to our own faith? And for those of us who do believe in the resurrection it is not a guiding principle for our lives! We are gradually loosing meaning. How does the church recapture its faith - what do we need to hear from Jesus?

There are many times when I hear when I die I will be with my husband again, I will be with my child, they are waiting for me - I wonder if what they are really saying is I will join them in the ground - for heaven, communion with God, transcends all these relationships and brings us into a place/space of love and delight.

Tom in Ga


05 Nov 1998
21:17:36

This is one of those Sundays I was tempted to use the first lesson (in our Lutheran lectionary from Job!!). But I found Walter Brueggemann's very powerful sermon on Luke 20 in "The Threat of Life:Sermons on Pain, Power and Weakness," edited by Charles L. Campbell. The gist is that the Saducees were trying to entrap Jesus (big surprise). But Jesus wouldn't play. He says in effect "I can out-Torah you". But that resurrection does occur (in spite of what the Sadducees believed) and this was, as the Sadducees feared, very dangerous. Belief in resurrection challenged everything that the Sadducees had and believed. Brueggemann says that the central message is the last verse "Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living; for all live to him." (sic). And "all the cunning questions of the Sadducees are nullified. We are at the main truth of God. God wills life... God will work life among us. All our political, moral, theological tinkering around the edges does not touch the main truth of God that God gives new life which shatters all our ways of control.... Jesus refused to let the resurrection be carried off into future speculation. It concerns us here and now. Now this is a hard word to us, insofar as we are children of the Sadducees." (ouch.)There's much more But Brueggemann says we need to take another "sniff" of Jesus and we will find that there is no threat, but there is possibility. This preaches great, I think, esp. during this week of elections. shalom gail in berkeley


05 Nov 1998
22:15:44

Dear Friends,

I find the closing words of this text "He is God not of the dead but of the living" most intriguing to me, but there hasn't been a lot of discussion about them. I'd like to share some thoughts and invite you to respond if you wish.

It seems the Sadducees wanted to limit God (no resurrection,) to box God in (limit discussion to the first five books of the bible,) to control God (as they controled the activities of the temple.) Yet Jesus wouldn't let them and even used God's words to Mose at the burning bush (from one of the first five books) - to challenge their assumptions. And he went on to say: "God is God not of the dead but of the living."

To say that our God is "not a God of the dead but the living" - or that our God is "a God of the living and not the dead" - seems to suggest that the God we worship is a God of possibilities not limitations, a God of life not death, a God of hope not despair. To say that our God is a God of the living not the dead - is to say that our God is a God of opportunities not barriers, a God of new beginnings not endings, a God of the resurrection not the grave. It say that our God is a God of the living not the dead seems to suggest that our God is a God of freedom not bondage, a God of the future not just the past, a God of forgiveness not grudges. To say that our God is a God of the living not the dead is to say that our God is a God of healing not disease, a God of wholeness not fragmentation, a God of infinite love and grace not hate or ridicule. To say that our God is a God of the living not the dead is to say that our God is a God of reconciliation not separation, a God of wholeness not division, a God of hope not just optimism.

Yet, to say that our God is a God of the living not the dead is also to say that our God even dares to enter into our deaths - all those things that seek to (and often do) destroy the life He breathes into us (even the cross itself) so that he might speak his word of resurrection once again. To say that our God is a God of the living not the dead is to say the our God is one who is not afraid to confront all our "no's" with his word of "yes." To say that our God is a God of the living not the dead is to say that our God is able to break the bars and loose the chains of all those things that imprison us or hold us captive to old ways (sinful ways) of thinking and being and speaking....

All this seems rather poetic and not so concrete. My congregations struggle with (are tempted by) many things - short money for the budget, declining populations, declining attendance, looking to the past not the future. We need to know and believe - somehow by the grace of God - that our "best" years as "the church" are still ahead (whether some churches in my area close or not). Jesus' words "He is a God not of the dead but of the living" are hope filled (not merely optimistic) words it seems. Maybe even to those in Nicaragua and Honduras?!

I hope this contribution is not too long today. Grace and Peace, Jerry in MN


05 Nov 1998
23:15:40

Anyone thought of a discussion about heaven itself? Are we not like the Sadducees who create our own sense of heaven? There is a wonderful little book entitled Where is Heaven? Children's wisdom on facing death. It is an amazing sharing of what and where heaven is and perhaps even what's there for us.

Mallia


06 Nov 1998
01:03:42

05 NOV 98 somehow I got cut off right in the middle of a strug..gle! Can't recal my train of thought but didn't want to be anonymous. Think I'll go with the title "The Animator" (vice, "the Terminator"--though Job did say God gave and took away...) and get to the resurrection body invoking Paul from I Cor. 15. Keep up the good work! PP in Orange, CA


06 Nov 1998
10:28:15

In response to postings on Nov. 5th by Rick in VA and Jerry in MN: Rick, your reflection on the implications of the quote from C. S. Lewis wisely reminds us to keep our focus on the transcedent in order to gain perspective, as well as personally creative and grace-filled motivation, for renewing the gifts found in the existentially limited realm of our earthly dwelling. Jerry, your most eloquent reflection, in the context of Rick's posting and my more philosophical rendition of it above, give persuasive credence to the critical-realism of the enspiriting truth of Scriptural wisdom. To both of you, and to other DPS correspondents, your faith and vision are truly a gift! Gregory in Dot, MA


06 Nov 1998
11:23:12

Some thoughts. . . .

The Pharisees and the Sadducees are not all that different than we are. They have found their place in the traditions of the church and have staked out their piece of the territory. Though the believes of the Sadducees seem strange to us, they were in their own time, far more "traditional" than that new fangled belief in resurrection.

Arguments are not new to us. We don't have to read very far in the history books to hear many of our sisters and brothers constantly arguing over what seemed to them to be life or death of the church positions. Many of these arguments seem trivial and insignificant to us now. (Though we have surely been shaped by them.)

Why do we not hear God? Why do we argue so much? Do we not often argue with an emphasis more on proving that we are right than on any attempt to hear what God is saying to us? Jesus seems to say to the Sadducees, the problem is that you are asking the wrong questions!

Oh, we are blessed to have this place where we can talk, listen, and hear God speak.

Rich in NC


06 Nov 1998
12:22:04

I want to thank Jerry in MN for your poetic thoughts on this passage, and Tim in Deep River's response to Mary, both of these responses were very helpful. Right now I'm listening to Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven" and the idea of a heavenly reunion helps us in our grieving. Another song that comes to mind when I read this passage is Fannie Crosby's "Blessed Assurance" --O what a foretaste of glory divine. Isn't this what God gives us in the person of Jesus Christ? John in PA


06 Nov 1998
12:30:30

The image of explaining to an unborn baby is a helpful illustration for us here. What unborn baby could find comfort in being told that beyond the womb, there would be no umbilical cord to provide food, no warm water to envelop it? What newborn could accept and find comfort in being told, if they could understand, that in the adult age of their lives, their mother's or father's arms would not be there to hold them? (I still need those arms, though they are long gone!). Yet, we grow and change into new life and that growing means being weaned of relationships as we have known them. To be weaned from parent/ child relationships means I can be freed for adult friendships, a marriage or covenant with a same sex partner. Then one day I need to be weaned again, through divorce or death, and yet with healthy grieving can relearn new loving ways of being with others. And so it goes unto death, when we are gracefully weaned from all life as we have known it in order that we might grow and be reborn as a child once more, this time a child of the resurrection and where I will not have to die anymore. But as a married woman right now, I admit to being uneasy about letting go of the marriage relationship, for I am not ready. This is where I am now and it is a blessing in my life now. But Jesus calls us to envision or prepare form something different. I trust that when that time comes, God will be with me, with us, and it will be ok. Mary


06 Nov 1998
12:53:26

Wow! Jerry in MN - may I quote you in my sermon? If yes, how would you like to credited?

HW in HI


06 Nov 1998
13:37:23

Thanks to you all this week: I can't decide who I'm the more indebted to ... those whose words I find reassuring and empowering or those whose perspectives I disagree with profoundly, for they challenge me to better understand and articulate my own. Rich in NC wrote " Do we not often argue with an emphasis more on proving that we are right than on any attempt to hear what God is saying to us? Jesus seems to say to the Sadducees, the problem is that you are asking the wrong questions!" Amen. How MUCH energy in the church is spend asking "the wrong questions": speculating on who's in and who's out ... who will make it "up there", etc. With all due respect to CSLewis (and Rick in VA!) without an authentic balance between the transcendent and immanent I believe we miss the point of the incarnation. It's not about "pie in the sky when you die" but about making "sound on the ground while you're around." So I'm focusing on the "they are like angels" part of Jesus' response to the Sadducees ...how are we to be angels/messengers of the Good News given us in Christ Jesus. And for many in my congregation, the Good News is that married or partnered or single; "blessed" by the institutional church or not, God's call to holiness transcends the Saducees questions and even our arguments! Blessings, Susan in SanPedro


06 Nov 1998
15:10:57

Susan in San Pedro,

"With all due respect to CSLewis (and Rick in VA!) without an authentic balance between the transcendent and immanent I believe we miss the point of the incarnation."

What would that point be then?

If it's to make it "sound on the ground while you're around", wouldn't that be exceptionally cruel since Christ wasn't "around" very long? Or am I misunderstanding your assertion?

I see the gist of the incarnation as that event which led to the resurrection. I don't believe He came to earth to heal those who were physically ill, or feed those that were hungry, only. These were done to manifest the presence of God, motivated by His love for humanity. Didn't He do this by living, suffering, and finally dying (and resurrecting) for each of us? Didn't He pay the price His Father had set for sin so that we wouldn't have to?

I understand that many (some?) in the church have decided that issues of repentance, atonement, substitutionary and sacrificial death, and bodily resurrection are passe (archaic, no longer holding 'meaning') but the danger with that notion is that the uniqueness of Christ becomes passe as well.

What differentiates Christ from Ghandi? What differentiates Christ from any other human being who helps the downtrodden, the hungry, the poor?

Maybe that's the point of the revisionists... For if Christ isn't who He claims to be, who the resurrection proves Him to be, then we can stay the people we currently are or live the life we're currently living while claiming to be on a path to self-defined holiness (doing good to others, especially th less fortunate, the oppressed, etc). Conversion wouldn't be necessary and thus we wouldn't have to change our lifestyles.

Susan, if Jesus is asserting that the Sadducees are asking the wrong questions, wouldn't we have to assume then that there are right questions? It seems to me that the most essential (right) question is focuses on who Jesus is? Is He our God and our Savior? Or a God among gods? Are we children of the resurrection? Or are we children of our own enlightened making, on our own enlightened path to holiness, and to Hell with what the Scriptures, the testimony of the saints and orthodox Christianity has to say?

Help me to understand the viewpoint.

Rick in Va


06 Nov 1998
15:15:28

Thank you, Jerry in Minn, and Susan in san pedro. The history of Christianity is full of examples of people who thought they were keeping their eyes on heaven, but actually did a great deal of harm on earth. For example, conversion got hopelessly mixed up with colonialism, and many peoples of the world are still suffering the consequences. So the rather platonic orientation toward heaven doesn't cut it for me. If God is the God of the living, let's talk about the art of living relationships, the push and the pull between love and work, and the empowerment that this passage might offer to those struggling to live authentically and justly in this life. If God is the God of the living, maybe this passage frees us to confront the injustice of patriarchal roles in marriage. Living here in this world is hard, but let's not focus on the great hereafter. Better to strive to make life here nourishing, rich and good, in or out of marriage. Best--Mary in Riverside


06 Nov 1998
15:23:03

Hw in HI

If what I said was helpful to you, you are free to use it. No acknowledgement is necessary you are free to use it in your sermon. Thanks for asking. Jerry in MN


06 Nov 1998
15:48:57

Thanks friends for the creative input and the wrestling with this text.... unless we are busy trying to proof-text some Scriptural bias.... it seems that we just need to be reminded that our ideas of marriage based on romance and love at first sight.... is rather modern.... about end of 1700's.... Novels and more recently Hollywood... and (soaps... oooo, now he is meddling) dominated the idea that couples marry after falling head over heals. I think we need to stay in this text with a notion that our ideas are not God's, our reasoning is not Hers. Here are people trying to test and trip Jesus up...... he side steps them and their thrust. As for rituals on weddings, divorces, alternatives.... I call yor attention to "Ritual for a New Day", and Ed Hayes "Prayer Book for the Domestic Church", and "Prayers for the Plaentary Pilgrim".... there are others.... but we seldom find couples willing speak to each other, and be civil....never mind creative.

to David in Ill. <<in N.Y. state, John Humphrey Noyes concluded that if marriage doesn't matter in heaven, it shouldn't matter on earth either, and the Oneida community adhered to a kind of "Free Love" sexuality which maybe seemed like "eheaven on earth" to Noyes (but probably not to anyone else.) >>

I love the story of John Humphrey Noyes and the Oneida Community... thoiught i was the only one who studied that guy.... that cad!..... this leader told his community in 1850's.... numbering about 250... that he had a vision from God that the best male of the community should be chosen to father the children of the new utopia.... guess who found their name at the top of the list?.... yup... good olde John..... after he fathered 90 plus children that year... the town's folk sent him on the run to Canada to die in simple poverty...(in this day and age, he's become a Viagra salesman and make a million... dollars)... so much for marriage in the ideal community. don hoff, elmira, NY


06 Nov 1998
16:36:19

So many great thoughts this week, it's hard to pull all of it together. Certainly the focus of this pericope is not on marriage itself, but on verse 38, "He is not God of the dead, but of the living...."

I was talking to a nice young woman the other day, who expressed the opinion, "I've never been much interested in religion." The Saducees, not so much interested in resurrection as in trapping Jesus, ask a philosophical question - much like the one Luther complained about, "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?" It's all dry bones - who cares? It's all speculative - and what does it matter anyway? We have to live in the here and now. We don't have time to wast on idle speculation. What we need is power enough to make it through the day.

But then he hits us with this - that God is the God, not of the dead, but of the living. What's that? Suddenly it's not dry bones anymore - he's talking about me! The Saducees are interested in talking about the dead - Jesus is more interested in the living.

I once had a parishoner - a woman - in a home in Wisconsin. She had moved there after her husband died, and the move was hard on her, since she was used to taking care of herself - and others. She had never been sick, until recently - she said she never had time for it. But now her legs were failing, her body wasn't functioning right, her eyes could hardly see anymore - sometimes she forgot my name as well. But she was happy - happy to be able to carry on a conversation, to carry on relationships, to be able to love, care, make things - to remember the past and hope for the future. Her life hadn't been easy - she remembered an Indian raid when she was a child, aw well as the death of two husbands. Yet she saw life as a gift, and even carried these memories as treasures. What was remarkable was that she could put her whole life - including the death that awaited her - into a single perspective.

One day, as we were talking, she sighed and smiled at me and said, "Well, I'm just an old car. The parts are giving out and they can't find replacements. It's time to go home." A week-and-a-half later I watched by her bedside as her life entered another realm of living.

Another person expressed that same feeling well to me. He said, "I am not afraid to die. I live with a little doubt, but as I grow old I find that the background stays firm."

To become a Christian, I believe, is not to "get saved," to "get right with God" so that we can get to heaven. It is the entrance to another dimension of life - entering into the dimension where God himself lives. The boundaries of life are enlarged to embrace other possibilities for living. Rather than life being a head-long rush toward death, with now (as Heideggar said) being its defining moment, it is defined instead by the future we hold, even now, in God. Beyond that is not the dry bones of speculative eschatology, but a Father whom we already know, and who already holds us in his arms. We do not move toward death, or even through death to life, but from life, through life, to deeper life.

We live under the illusion of death, allowing it to define the boundaries of our living. If we do so, then we will surely be interested only in cheating death for as long as we are able. We will be overly cautious, protecting ourselves from the inevitable for as long as we can. But out God is a God of the living, who has swallowed up death in victory. A God of life, in whom there is always a tomorrow full of gifts and possibility.

Haven't really finished - but a few thoughts.

Gary in New Bern, NC garoth@coastalnet.com


06 Nov 1998
16:46:32

Incidentally, I thought someone might enjoy this. My secretary is a new Christian. After reading this passage, she came into my office, asking about the "sad-u-chees"(accent on middle syllable) . I explained who they were - along with the right pronounciation (although I kind of liked hers!). Her remark was, "I kind of like 'sad-u-chee'- they sound like a first century mafia hit squad." Now she calls them the "Saduchee brothers." (Were they wearing pin-stripe robes and carrying lyre cases?)

Gary in New Bern, NC


06 Nov 1998
16:55:18

Sorry to throw in a heavy concept at the last minute, but something came to me about this passage. I can't figure it out enough to use in in this weeks sermon, but I will it throw it out for your discussion, in case it may bear fruit in the future dialogue. Here goes. (This comes from Gregory Bateson incidentily). The Sadduces believe in a God who created the world and made us (them) in God's image. Therefore, since their religion stops there, they reason that they, like God, are outside creation, and not really morally responsible for it. Jesus, who is not outside creation, but inside it (incarnate) messes up their little worldview. He also throws in the Holy Spirit, God moving through the trees and setting souls on fire, to further complicate things. They are only concerned with the mechanism of getting what you can in this life, since little else matters. Jesus tries to open their eyes to other, far more complex and awe-ful possibilities. Jesus tells us we can be children of the resurrection, children of God. It isn't just something in the far off future, the knowledge of this wonder changes everything now, especially our moral responsibility for the creation and our relationships with one another. Boyd in NC


06 Nov 1998
16:55:42

Sorry to throw in a heavy concept at the last minute, but something came to me about this passage. I can't figure it out enough to use in in this weeks sermon, but I will it throw it out for your discussion, in case it may bear fruit in the future dialogue. Here goes. (This comes from Gregory Bateson incidentily). The Sadduces believe in a God who created the world and made us (them) in God's image. Therefore, since their religion stops there, they reason that they, like God, are outside creation, and not really morally responsible for it. Jesus, who is not outside creation, but inside it (incarnate) messes up their little worldview. He also throws in the Holy Spirit, God moving through the trees and setting souls on fire, to further complicate things. They are only concerned with the mechanism of getting what you can in this life, since little else matters. Jesus tries to open their eyes to other, far more complex and awe-ful possibilities. Jesus tells us we can be children of the resurrection, children of God. It isn't just something in the far off future, the knowledge of this wonder changes everything now, especially our moral responsibility for the creation and our relationships with one another. Boyd in NC


06 Nov 1998
17:05:25

P.S. Dogs do have souls. Check out Ecclesiastes. Sides, it ain't All Souls Day, it's All Saints Day. And sides that, I personally know all dogs will get to heaven, cause when I get there I am going to ask God to bring back all the dogs, and cats, and God is omnipotent, remember.


06 Nov 1998
19:59:45

All of this talk about Saducees makes me think of the little joke that Chuck Swindoll told during one of his sermons on "Insight for Living." He said, "the Saducees did not know Jesus, and that is why they were "sad - you - see." Rick in ND


06 Nov 1998
20:50:18

Don Hoff in Elmira,

I too thank those who creatively wrestle with the text, and am not enamored with those who are busy trying to proof-text some Scriptural bias. I thought it would be appropriate to express disdain as well for those who spoof-text some Secular bias.

Rick in Va


06 Nov 1998
22:34:28

Rick in Va.. you wrote.... I thought it would be appropriate to express disdain as well for those who spoof-text some Secular bias. ...

Rick i want to thank you for that.... but I thought I had cyber rights to those jokes?... you mean i have to share the space?

I like the joke... may be helpful to some of the rest of you... has to do with divorce... A farmer walked into an attorney's office wanting to file for a > divorce. > The attorney asked, "May I help you?" > The farmer said, "Yea, I want to get one of those dayvorce's." > The attorney said, "well do you have any grounds?" > The farmer said, "Yea, I got about 140 acres." > The attorney said, " No, you don't understand, do you have a case?" > The farmer said, "No, I don't have a Case, but I have a John Deere." > The attorney said, "No you don't understand, I mean do you have a > grudge?" > The farmer said, "Yea I got a grudge, that's where I park my John > Deere." > The attorney said, "No sir, I mean do you have a suit?" > The farmer said, "Yes sir, I got a suit. I wear it to church on > Sundays." > The exasperated attorney said, "Well sir, does your wife beat you up > or anything?" > The farmer said, "No sir, we both get up about 4:30." > Finally, the attorney says, "Okay, let me put it this way. > "WHY DO YOU WANT A DIVORCE?" > And the farmer says, "Well, I can never have a meaningful conversation > with her."

(any other divorce homor..... illustrations?) Don Hoff, Elmira, NY


06 Nov 1998
23:56:05

Jerry in MN - thanks for what you said. May I use it as well? It fits what I am speaking to this week. - A poor church that is seeing God work some mighty miracles (even though we are not wanting to see them too much lately.) We are but just $3400 from being debt free on a building that they bought when they were having a difficult time. We have rebuilt the floor and walls... will soon have all but the carpet down... truly a miracle for this church....

Here is a story that may help with this same text... At least I am using it Sunday...

Love, Grace and Peace Greg in Nashville

A story that may go with Jerry in MN's dialogue... There is a story many years ago of an elementary teacher. Her name was Mrs. Thompson. And as she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children a lie. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. But that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard. Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he didn't play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. And Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X's and then putting a big "F" at the top of his papers. At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child's past records and she put Teddy's off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise. Teddy's first grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners...he is a joy to be around." His second grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is an excellent student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle." His third grade teacher wrote, "His mother's death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best but his father doesn't show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren't taken." Teddy's fourth grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is withdrawn and doesn't show much interest in school. He doesn't have many friends and sometimes sleeps in class." By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy's. His present which was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one quarter full of perfume. But she stifled the children's laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist. Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, "Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to." After the children left she cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she quit teaching reading, and writing, and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one her "teacher's pets." A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life. Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life. Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he’d stayed in School, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had in his whole life. Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his Bachelor's Degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer - the letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, M.D. The story doesn't end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit in the place at the wedding that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom. Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. And she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together. They hugged each, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson's ear, "Thank you Mrs. Thompson for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference." Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, "Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn't know how to teach until I met you." Warm someone's heart today.... Pass it along.


07 Nov 1998
08:30:35

Thanksgiving for the gift of insightful witness and the sacrament of Presence in the contribution of Jerry of MI, as well as the rest of the DPS family! PaideiaSCO in LA


07 Nov 1998
11:28:54

A cute true story about "sex after death"

In a church I served, there was a charming newlywed couple. What was remarkable about them was that they were both 70! Both had known each other in High School, both had married long and well, and both had lost their much beloved life partners to cancer after over 40 years of marriage. Bill and Jane (not their real names) had rediscovered each other at a High School reunion, and were married a few short months later. And they were very much in love -- holding hands wherever they went, snuggling together in the pew at church, looking at each other constantly with knowing smiles in their eyes, and laughing a lot whenever they were together.

Bill and Jane called me and asked if I could come out to their place and visit them, because they had a very important question to ask me. I drove out to their place in the foothills of the Washington's Cascade mountains on a beautiful fall day, with the mountains shining white with a dusting of new fallen snow. The maples everyhere were magnificently golden. Fragrent pine smoke was gently curling out the chimney of the home as I pulled into the driveway. Bill and Jane greeted me warmly and hustled me inside to offer me hot chocolate and gingersnaps. We sat in the den, with a cozy fire in the woodstove; Bill and Jane snuggling on the couch, and me sitting back in the lounger.

"What we want to ask you about, pastor, is what heaven is like. We love each other so much, but we both felt the same about our spouses before they died. We are so glad we found each other after they died, but we are both troubled. What is going to happen to us after we die? Are we going to be spending eternity with our first spouses. That would be fine, but both of are really going to miss each other?

I looked at them cuddling on the couch, this time with serious and troubled expressions on their aging faces. And I knew in my heart there was only one answer I could give. "Heaven," I said, "is the only place where there is free love! We can be with whoever we want to be with anytime we want to be, and there is no jealousy!" I opened my Bible to the passage where the Sadducees had tried to point out to Jesus how ridiculous the resurrection could be, with their question about the woman with seven dead husbands. I read, "Jesus said to them, '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 anymore, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection.'"

"We only know a little about what heaven is like, and here Jesus says that we are free to be with all the saints however we would like to be, because there is no sin in heaven. Is there sex after death? I don't know, but amazing as it may sound, whatever it is will be better than what we experience right now--which is pretty darn good!"

We all laughed. The anxiety on their faces was replaced with peace and their knowing newlywed smiles. And as I drove away, they stood on the front porch, waving goodbye, arms around each other.

--Alan in Port Orchard


07 Nov 1998
17:27:44

Greg in Nashville,

Feel free. Jerry in MN


07 Nov 1998
17:53:53

Jimmy, I watched you today. I watched you with the other youth. You are all so broken, so confused, so beaten, and so bruised by this world. All of you, collectively, all of you of our little battered group - battered by the poverty, battered by our very low expectations, and battered because we don't really want you. All of you are so battered, but Jimmy, you more than all the rest, you more than the others. I watched you as you could not sit still. I watched as you kept hitting and pushing and pulling, always in motion, always in action, always just on the fringe of violence. So much hurt for such few years, only 15 years.

But it wasn't the fringe this week, was it? It was the pounding of fist and the struggle of young tempers as you angrily lashed out at one another. It was the harsh words, the curses, the hatred and all the pent-up hurt. Slashing and pummeling one another as you rolled through the school corridor. Spitting and scratching and clawing and screaming. Each wanting to destroy the other, each wanting to inflict pain and damage, each wanting to do to the other what we have taught you so well. All the violence and all the neglect. You learned. It all came out didn't it? It always all comes out. Somehow, somehow, it will always all come out. And for that - we kicked you out of those hollowed halls. Right out into the street with all the other filth and garbage. Into the street like a dismembered carcass - dead and forgotten.

But Jimmy what I so want you to hear, what I so want you to see, what I so want you to know is that you, you Jimmy, you … you are child of the resurrection. That others consider you dead, does not make it so. That others consider you lost, does not make it so. That others ask the wrong questions in a loud and demanding voice - what's wrong with him, rather than what's wrong with us - does not make their questions legitimate. You are a child who is alive. You are a child who cannot die anymore … whom we cannot kill anymore, not because of anything we do or you do but because of what God does, the God who is the God of the living.

And Jimmy, what I so want you to hear, what I so want you to see, what I so want you to know is it is not so much you who need us, but we who need you. In finding you, in meeting the life that is yours because God is God, maybe, just maybe, we might also find the life which resides in us. Maybe, just maybe, we too, might be children of the resurrection, we too, might be worthy of a place not only in that age, but in this age. For God is the God of the living and to God all of them are alive - even you Jimmy, even you.

Shalom,

Nail-Bender in NC


07 Nov 1998
19:10:47

Rick in VA - Would be happy to dialogue on issues of transcendent vs. immanent ... feminist liberation hermenutic vs neo-orthodox substitutionary atonement, etc: all that facinating stuff I paid the big bucks to learn about in seminary and no one in the parish seems much to care about. :) How that conversation contributes to the collective enlightenment of the DPS Lectionary du jour agenda I'm not clear, so feel free to email me at srcrocus@earthlink.net. Blessings, Susan in SanPedro


07 Nov 1998
22:49:01

this may be too late for your sermon illustrations... but I'm reminded here at 10:43 pm Sat night... about the matter of marriage, divorce, etc... Preacher was preaching about perfection.... says "Being perfect is impossible....I know that no one here claims to be perfect. If there is anyone who is perfect let them stand. There is a sound from the back pew where Chester stand to his feet. Preacher is surprised and says" Chester are you standing because you are perfect?" Chester replies " "No Pastor, I'm not perfect.... but I thought I would stand up for my wife's first husband!"

don hoff, elmira, NY donaldhoff@aol.com


08 Nov 1998
06:54:51

To HW in HI?

You asked about the United Methodist Book of Worshp: 1. It is a copy-righted book. I hope you weren't planning to "steal" the intellectual rights of the numerous hard-working contributors. 2. The UMC's Publishing House has set the price so low anyone who can pay for internet access can easily afford to purchase it. You'll find the service in either the Book of Eworship or the Hymnal. Both are very reasonably priced. Personally I would suggest the Hymnal, although the BoW does contain a wider variety of prayers, services, etc.

Sorry to seem so direct and perhaps forceful, but we are a forum of preachers (largely but not exclusively) and it is important to guard our ethical and moral lives. Would you agree?

pw in PA


08 Nov 1998
06:55:07

To HW in HI?

You asked about the United Methodist Book of Worshp: 1. It is a copy-righted book. I hope you weren't planning to "steal" the intellectual rights of the numerous hard-working contributors. 2. The UMC's Publishing House has set the price so low anyone who can pay for internet access can easily afford to purchase it. You'll find the service in either the Book of Eworship or the Hymnal. Both are very reasonably priced. Personally I would suggest the Hymnal, although the BoW does contain a wider variety of prayers, services, etc.

Sorry to seem so direct and perhaps forceful, but we are a forum of preachers (largely but not exclusively) and it is important to guard our ethical and moral lives. Would you agree?

pw in PA


08 Nov 1998
06:55:30

To HW in HI?

You asked about the United Methodist Book of Worshp: 1. It is a copy-righted book. I hope you weren't planning to "steal" the intellectual rights of the numerous hard-working contributors. 2. The UMC's Publishing House has set the price so low anyone who can pay for internet access can easily afford to purchase it. You'll find the service in either the Book of Eworship or the Hymnal. Both are very reasonably priced. Personally I would suggest the Hymnal, although the BoW does contain a wider variety of prayers, services, etc.

Sorry to seem so direct and perhaps forceful, but we are a forum of preachers (largely but not exclusively) and it is important to guard our ethical and moral lives. Would you agree?

pw in PA


08 Nov 1998
07:07:40

To: pw in PA,

Generally, what is on the net is there for the reading. I am in a rural location, actually, there is no methodist church nearby. In any case, I wasn't planning on risking my eternal soul thru theft of any sort -- just wanted to see what was out there. I am surprised you are so ready to assume otherwise!

HW in HI


08 Nov 1998
07:44:42

to Pw in Pa you said...<< Sorry to seem so direct and perhaps forceful, but we are a forum of preachers (largely but not exclusively) and it is important to guard our ethical and moral lives. Would you agree? >> ooooooooooooo time for charity to our friend in HI... sounds like something between a lecture on ethics and a browbeating. As Jesus said... "let the one without the photocopied copyrighted music, poem, illustration, church school lesson give the first lecture" Don Hoff Elmira, NY


08 Nov 1998
11:14:29

HW in HI,

I don't know exactly where you are located in HI, but if you are on Oahu, there is a United Methodist Church in Wahiawa.(sp?) I'm sure there must also be some in Honolulu, but I am unsure of the locations. Also, I recall there was a UMC on the north shore near BYU. Anyway, hope that might help for future reference.

Shalom,

Nail-Bender in NC


08 Nov 1998
11:51:00

HW in HI,

Sister, one more thing. In response to pw in PA -- Reproduction of materials in the Book of Worship is permitted for one-time use, "as in a bulletin, special program, or lesson resource, provided that the copyright notice and acknowledgement line are included on the reproduction." Now, the paragraph addressing this also specifically states that "United Methodist congregations may reproduce for worship and education..." Thus, if one looked no further, one might assume this is limited to United Methodists. However, being that United Methodists are a very ecumenical bunch and being that our goal in empowering, enhancing, and promoting life and connectivity to God stated in our Book of Discipline reads "United Methodists respond to the theological, biblical, and practical mandates for Christian unity by firmly committing ourselves to the cause of Christian unity at local, national, and world levels. We invest ourselves to the cause in many ways by which mutual recognition of churches, of members, and of ministries may lead us to sharing in Holy Communion with all of God's peoples...," I believe we can probably extend a prayer resource to you, copied no less, without you having to risk your eternal soul -- at least for a one-time event (chuckle).

Further, perhaps this clarification might assuage Pw's concern about the importance of guarding our ethical and moral lives -- at least in regards to copyright violations.

Shalom sister, I really appreciate you.

Nail-Bender in NC