November 1 – November 7, 2016

WORD

27Some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus 28and 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.  29Now there were seven brothers; the first married, and died childless; 30then the second 31and the third married her, and so in the same way all seven died childless.  32Finally the woman also died.  33In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be?  For the seven had married her.”  34Jesus said to them, “Those who belong to this age marry and are given in marriage; 35but 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.  36Indeed they cannot die anymore, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection.  37And 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.  38Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive.”

Luke 20:27-38

Reading Scripture to Know:

  • What is happening/being said? (Observation)
  • Why is this happening/being said? (Interpretation)
  • What does the rest of Scripture say about it? (Evaluation)
  • What does it mean? (Understanding)
  • What does it mean for us? (Application)

Reading Scripture to Grow:

  • What words or phrases stand out to you? Why?
  • Where do you hear the voice of God in this Scripture?
  • How do you see the character of God reflected in this Scripture?
  • How does this Scripture reveal God?
  • How does this Scripture expose humanity and its need for God?
  • How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in your life?
  • How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in our world?
  • What might God want to communicate to you (us) this week through this Scripture?

Reflection: The Lord [is] 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.

What is it that makes you feel alive?  Some people feel alive through rushes of adrenaline brought about by competition or experiencing risk.  Some people gain their sense of animation from their work or accomplishments.  Others are brought to life through relationships with friends and family.  While leisure, work, and family are all good elements of life, they cannot be the source of life.  The only source of life is God.  In fact, everything that God touches, encounters, even thinks of is given life.  That is why those with whom God identifies – here in this passage, God identifies with those who lived by faith in him – are counted among the living even though they experienced death.  When God decides to lovingly commune with you, not even death can separate you.  God’s very will of love brings you into life.  Though Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had died they were, in God’s perspective, transformed into life.  They would share in the resurrection to come in Jesus Christ and so death could not define them.

How is the God of life bringing such a reality into your existence today.  The hope we have in the resurrection, though a future event by our understanding, is timeless in its effects.  You can experience resurrection today!  God is willing to use your life of faith to define Godself – “I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, ISAAC, AND JACOB; I AM THE GOD OF YOU!”  This amazing, humbling act of defining Godself through God’s relationship with us is the very reason why we can, like Paul, claim the promise: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.  Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?  Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15)!  Because God knows us and because God is life, then we too can know life when we know God.

How is God speaking life into your death? How is your relationship with God enlivening you today? How might you commune with the God of resurrection in this very moment and this very place? This week, experience the deep goodness of creation by connecting to the Source of all that was, is, and ever will be.

Daily Readings: 

  • Tuesday, November 1 – 2 Corinthians 2
  • Wednesday, November 2 – 2 Corinthians 3
  • Thursday, November 3 – 2 Corinthians 4
  • Friday, November 4 – 2 Corinthians 5
  • Saturday, November 5 – 2 Corinthians 6
  • Sunday, November 6 – 2 Corinthians 7
  • Monday, November 7 –  2 Corinthians 8

 

SPIRIT

Prayer Focus: [It is a] fact that the dead are raised…

This week we celebrate All Saints’ Day (November 1st proper; observed on November 6th).  This is a day in which the Church worldwide recognizes and celebrates the lives of all those disciples of Jesus Christ who have died since the previous All Saints’ celebration.  We are thankful because these persons have helped shape us in love and in our faith.  They have been our faithful brothers and sisters in Christ, and perhaps beloved family members and friends.  We will see them again in the resurrection to come.  This is our firm promise in Jesus Christ.  As you pray this week, thank God by name for those saints who have shaped your life and faith.  Some of them might still be living.  Or, perhaps they died in the last year or some time ago.  Either way, give thanks to God for their life and the life to come which we will all share with them.  Ask God to bring to your memory those events and characteristics that made them so formational in your life.  Then, ask God to use you in such a loving, grace-filled way in the lives of others who might one day remember you as one of the saints.

Meditation Focus: 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.

This week pause for a moment and imagine a scene in which you are, very literally, a child of the resurrection.  Picture a serene place, somewhere that brings you instant peace.  Perhaps it is a large meadow with a winding stream cutting through the middle.  There, in that peaceful place, you see Jesus.  He is walking calmly, dressed comfortably, and seemingly focused on the tranquility of that moment.  You realize that the setting is the post-resurrection world, redeemed and made perfect in love and grace.  Upon noticing Jesus, you run to him.

As you get an overhead view of this scene in your mind, you notice that you are not your adult self.  You are a little child.  As Jesus notices you running to him, he stoops down, arms extended, face beaming with a smile, and he picks you up.  The two of you sit there in that place, and you – as a child of the resurrection – sit quietly in the embrace of Jesus.  Sit there in your imagination with no agenda, no questions, no words.  Simply sit as a child in the security of the Lord’s embrace, with no fear.  All that there is to fear has been conquered and done away with in the resurrection.

How do you feel in such a place?  What are you thinking within the firm, but lovingly gentle grasp of Jesus?  In such an experience of pure life, what do you do?  As you ponder these thoughts, you notice a great gaggle of children run joyfully to where you and Jesus sit.  These are all the beloved friends and family that you have known throughout life, only they, too, are literally children of the resurrection now.  They have come to play in the presence of the Holy One.  Imagine what good thing it would be for us all to be children in the presence of Jesus in the life to come.  You are a child of the resurrection and today you will encounter many more of God’s resurrection children.

Journaling Focus: Some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus and asked him a question…

I have attended a good number of Christian funerals in recent years which the word resurrection is never even mentioned.  I do not believe that this is because we do not believe in resurrection as much as we do not know how to express our belief.  This week explore your beliefs on resurrection through writing about it.  What is resurrection?  What does it look like?  How will we take part in resurrection?  Then, spend some time in meditative, contemplative writing by asking Jesus any questions you have about resurrection.  Write down the responses you hear/sense in this time of meditative questioning.  Also, for more information on resurrection, check out the following Scripture passages and write your impressions of what is being taught: John 5:25-30; Romans 6:4-11; 1 Corinthians 15:1-58 (a long, but critical passage in our understanding of resurrection!); Philippians 3:10-14; 1 Peter 1:3-5.

Breath Prayer: Father, grant us life.

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