Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


Whose Child?

In this weekend's Gospel reading Jesus is questioned by a group who doesn't believe in resurrection with a test case designed to show the absurdity of life after death. They say,
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 answers that,
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.
In preaching on this passage before, I once said,
For the Sadducees, the way to achieve eternal life is through marrying (or for women, to be given in marriage) and having children. That is the idea to which Jesus is responding. Jesus counters this notion saying that we don’t have eternal life through our children, rather we have eternal life through the resurrection. So there is nothing wrong with getting married as long as you don’t pin your hopes of eternal life to marriage and your children. How many children you have is not the concern. What matters is whether you are a child of God.

Whose child you are often matters. Looking at how that works may help us better understand the Gospel reading. For better or worse, people often decide what kind of person you will be because of your parents. In big cities, its not quite the same. But in small towns and rural areas it can make quite a difference. Think about the time-honored ritual many girls have gone through of asking their parents for permission to go on a date. A key question at this point is, “Who’s his Daddy?” The character of the boy’s father could decide whether permission will be given for the date. After all, the way a child acts will depend a lot on the parents....

That’s something like what is going on here. Jesus listened to the Sadducees question. He looked at the way they ran the business of the Temple, and found that it showed them to be more concerned with the here and now than with God. Jesus in effect says to the Sadducees, “The way you fellows talk you know who you sound like? You sound just like one of Caesar’s boys. As a matter of fact, I think he is your Daddy.” The religious leaders must have felt like a bunch of wet kids standing on the bank of a neighbors cow pond. Those are fighting words and the message came through loud and clear to the Sadducees. They knew that Jesus was saying they were children of this age instead of God’s children. We know that because this is the last time they questioned Jesus in public. The next thing they would do is work behind the scenes to have Jesus arrested and crucified.

This passage challenges us to look at the choices we make. Are we siding with this age—the considerations the world puts on us—or do we side with God? In the decisions we make, are we thinking like a child of this age or a child of God? When we make choices as individuals is God a factor? How often do you pray about the decisions you make? How often do you ask yourself where is God working in a given situation.
The full text of the sermon is online here: Whose Child Are You?

The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor



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