November 7, 2004
 Some Sadducees came up. This is the Jewish party that denies any possibility of resurrection. They asked,  "Teacher, Moses wrote us that if a man dies and leaves a wife but no child, his brother is obligated to take the widow to wife and get her with child.  Well, there once were seven brothers. The first took a wife. He died childless.  The second married her and died,  then the third, and eventually all seven had their turn, but no child.  After all that, the wife died.  That wife, now -- in the resurrection whose wife is she? All seven married her."
 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 marriage  nor, 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.  Even Moses exclaimed about resurrection at the burning bush, saying, "God: God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob!'  God isn't the God of dead men, but of the living. To him all are alive."
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1. Battles over scripture have been going on from even before there was a written scripture. We challenge one another regarding correct understandings and either embrace or shun depending upon the response we get. We are so willing to battle that it doesn't make any difference to us whether we are using our own viewpoint or someone else's. As long as we can trap someone into saying something against our perspective we are satisfied. In the dim recesses of history we have lost whether the politicians or the theologians first used the dirty trick of entrapment. In either case, both have become masters at it.
2. Marriage does seem to be a preoccupation with us. Listen to the political realm and all the energy being expended to defend marriage. There is nothing exempt from the possibility of being subverted. When we take a good and universalize it we are on the way to identifying why such a good cannot carry the weight of all with which we invest it. "Goods" like "spiritual gifts" are to be for the common good, not to be applied in a "one size fits all" manner. Think about what other parts of life we get preoccupied with and see if you can glimpse the good intended and the ways in which we have reduced that good by applying it beyond its realm.
3. Again and again it is important to take a living GOD into account when we make our pronouncements about eternal verities. When we do so we are more compassionate in applying our insights. We will not tar others with a wide brush or deny them participation in the community. A living GOD is interested in the growth of people, not their being measured against some immovable standard inappropriate for their location. A living GOD sees us on a dynamic scale of spiritual maturity.
It is particularly important to take a living GOD into account as we assess the recent election of city council member, school referenda, and presidents. May we all be given an extra shot of clarity to see through the various agendas spinning these as a new beginning or the evidence of an end. Yes, there will be consequences of our actions. Let's learn from them and remember that in our system the consent of the governed is a bottomline that is hard to get around. Did we see, through all the chaff in the system, wrong and misleading information? Does the Economy have the same rights of citizenship as an individual that is, who is this "goverened" we claim has the upper hand?
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