From the Locum
I find it interesting that when Jesus spoke of God in our gospel reading today, he called him the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob and then he emphatically “He is God of the living and not of the dead.”
Last Sunday we celebrated All Saints and today we celebrate the “Ancients” and we celebrate that they are known among living and not just with the dead. Jesus is affirming a truth, that there is more to life than what we are experiencing here. There is eternal life. People don’t just die. Jesus declares that people live forever.
Every time we celebrate a loved one at their funeral we declare this truth. We know not how, but we believe that they live forever – with us and in us and with God and in God.
For many in today’s “post secular” world spirituality is a “given” and every day I speak to someone in the hospital who is “spiritual but not religious”. And in many cases they are “not religious” for good reasons to do with an experience of lack of care or of the presence of abuse. Many others limit ourselves with what we could see, hear, smell, taste, touch and feel. Either way we are left to wonder about our souls.
So even yet Jesus’ message of resurrection is relevant. Resurrection give me a perspective that “life is stronger than death”, that “God sets eternity within our hearts”. I remember a story about a man in Sydney who would always write the words “Eternity” in chalk around the harbour area. He kept proclaiming the message: “Eternity.” There is more to us than our work and the way we fix our hair. We have eternity within our hearts and this eternity within us calls us to a relationship with the Eternal One.
We must not quench this desire. We, even as Christians, live as though we are forever here on earth. The cross offers us forgiveness that calls us beyond our misdeeds and our mistakes. The resurrection is what transforms us, for the last word is not death but life, the last word is not even “you are forgiven”, for the last word is “welcome to your life, your life lived in the light of God’s love, your life lived with the ancients and with the saints. A truly eternal perspective: from Abraham through your favourite saints, your treasured mentors who have gone before us and reaching forward – reaching beyond us into the very heart of God.