Tag Archives: Ordinary 32C

with the word online Bible study–the communion of saints

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luke 20.27-38

Some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, came to him and asked him a question, ‘Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no children, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers; the first married, and died childless; then the second and the third married her, and so in the same way all seven died childless. Finally the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had married her.’

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 any more, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection. And the fact that the dead are raised Moses himself showed, in the story about the bush, where he speaks of the Lord as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive.’

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What pops out at you in this story? Is there anything that makes you go “hmm….” or “huh?” or “hey!!!!” Are you reminded of any other stories–whether in the Bible, in literature/movies/music/TV, or in your own life? As you read, do you hear any music in your head?

We sometimes talk about the “great cloud of witnesses” or the “communion of saints”–what do these terms mean to you? Have you ever felt yourself a part of the cloud of witnesses?  Who is in your personal cloud of witnesses?

Jesus seems to say that “the resurrection” is not a sometime-in-the-future event, but instead that to God, “all of them are alive.” What do you think this might mean?  How does it effect your understanding of God, of death, of resurrection, of life?

At the communion table we remember that we share this feast, the glimpse of God’s kingdom, with the whole communion of saints, with people across boundaries of time and geography. The communion ritual, the symbols and words and meaning, bind us together with people very different from us as well as people we love to sit next to in the pew. How might this text speak to this idea of communion?

What do you hear as the good news in these stories? What do you hear as a challenge? What might this story have to say to our community today?

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November 11

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Psalm 145

I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless you, and praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; his greatness is unsearchable.
One generation shall laud your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.
On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
The might of your awesome deeds shall be proclaimed, and I will declare your greatness.
They shall celebrate the fame of your abundant goodness,
and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.
The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
The Lord is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made.
All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord, and all your faithful shall bless you.
They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom, and tell of your power,
to make known to all people your mighty deeds,
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. The Lord is faithful in all his words, and gracious in all his deeds.
The Lord upholds all who are falling, and raises up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season.
You open your hand, satisfying the desire of every living thing.
The Lord is just in all his ways, and kind in all his doings.
The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desire of all who fear him; he also hears their cry, and saves them.
The Lord watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.
My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,
and all flesh will bless his holy name forever and ever.

This is a magnificent psalm full of praise and thanksgiving. The only problem is, it’s not entirely true. “The Lord upholds all who are falling.” “You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living creature.” We agreed that this psalm may not be so much a description of how things are in this moment, but instead a promise of how things could be / should be / will be. We also agreed that we live our lives holding on to promises, putting our trust in one thing or another. The temptation is to put our trust in easy promises near at hand. The challenge is to put our trust in the promises of God, which are sometimes demanding and far off. Where do we put out trust? What promises do we cling to? (RAF)