I remember that day more than forty-two years ago when I stood before God and everybody and made promises that were impossible to keep. Oh, I didn’t think so at the time. I was sure it was within my power to love and honor and cherish as long as we both should live. I was ready to take this leap, ready to remake my life around this other life, this woman I loved. It was exciting. I was happy. I was ready. Over the past forty-two years, I’ve learned how little I knew.
I had to learn that this kind of love is beyond us as human beings. This kind of commitment is out of our reach. At least it is beyond us on our own. For this covenantal love to work, it takes mutuality—two wills, two hearts working in tandem. It needs a supportive community to surround the couple, and it needs the abiding presence of the Spirit, pouring out love and forgiveness in abundance.
The Sadducees weren’t asking about this, of course. They were asking about eternity. Since they understood eternal life to come through offspring who carry on the name, they wanted to know how this eternity thing works if there is resurrection. Jesus sidestepped the whole question. Or rather he answered the question behind the question. He said that eternity works by different rules than you thought. It isn’t your effort that makes it work; it is God’s. It isn’t what you can do to ensure eternity; it’s what God does.
Who knows how Jesus would have answered if the question had been about intimacy, commitment, and love, and not about manipulating a place in eternity. Maybe it would have been an assurance that love is what makes us alive, and that does continue in the resurrection.
Covenant God, inspire our hearts to love like you taught us to love, like the love Jesus showed us. Every day. Amen.
Following the return from exile to Babylon, the people of God have much work to do to restore the city of Jerusalem. Haggai is one of the prophets sent by God to encourage them. God promises future material blessings for the people and a time of peace. The psalmist praises God and declares that future generations will tell the stories of God’s wonderful works. In Second Thessalonians, Paul addresses a group that is disturbed because they think they have missed the return of Christ. He assures them that they have not missed the time and admonishes them to persevere in their faith. In Luke, Jesus is asked about marriage in the resurrection, but he focuses on God as the God of the living.
Read Haggai 1:15b–2:9. When have you relied on God’s promises for the future? How did your faith in God’s provision keep you focused on the long-term goal?
Read Psalm 145:1-5, 17-21. How can you share God’s majesty and justice with the next generations?
Read 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17. How do you live a disciplined life, trusting in the Lord whether or not the end is near?
Read Luke 20:27-38. How can you be open to the unexpected ways God will answer your questions?
Respond by posting a prayer.