- Haggai 1:15b – 2:9
- Psalm 145:1-5, 18-22 or Psalm 98
- 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17
- Luke 20:27-38
We are coming to the concluding weeks of the season of Pentecost. Our next season, Advent, begins to be expressed this week, offering an opportunity to explore its rich heritage. It is a time of preparation, to prepare the way of the Lord. God has promised to be a continuing presence in our lives, both now and for eternity. Paul proclaims the good news to the Thessalonians so that they might obtain the glory of Christ which has come and will come again.
Jesus also holds out the promise of eternal life in today’s Gospel. During Jesus’ ministry there was widespread belief and hope of resurrection that was shared by Jesus and his disciples. It had become common belief that the righteous dead would be raised to share in the eternal glories of God’s ultimate victory.
Eternal life was not understood, however, as the immortality of a disembodied soul – an idea that arose from the Greeks. Rather, God was to create a new heaven and a new earth in which people would have a physical body. This understanding was supported by the Pharisees. However, the conservative and aristocratic Sadducees, strongly denied this view that the dead could be raised. With this understanding, we have today’s challenge given to Jesus. Jesus’ response: God is not God of the dead, but of the living. For him all are alive.
The Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed affirm the resurrection of the dead and the final judgment: “He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end” (BCP 359). “The Christian Hope” section of “An Outline of the Faith” (BCP 861-862) discusses the final things. The joy of the resurrection is also reflected in the traditions of Christian burial. The rubric (explanations in italics for instruction) says, “The liturgy for the dead is an Easter liturgy. If finds its meaning in the resurrection. Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we, too, shall be raised” (BCP 507).
As we proclaim Christ to the world, we share in the light of the resurrection as our Christian hope.
- What is the understanding of resurrection that Jesus articulates?
- How are we “children of the resurrection” (20:36)?
- What does it mean that God is God of the living? How does Jesus illustrate this point?
- What is the difference between the soul’s immortality and the resurrection of the body?
- How would you express your own understanding of life after death?
Image: The Resurrection of Christ (Kinnaird Resurrection) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)