11-7-19 - God of the Living

(You can listen to this reflection here. Sunday's gospel reading is here.)

“Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive.”
That’s how Jesus ends his discourse with the Sadducees. I’d consider it more of a conversation starter. My first question is, “What do you mean, he’s not the God of the dead? What about the people we love, no longer in this life?” Jesus might answer: “Read both parts of that sentence. They’re alive. From the moment they accepted my life in them, they were alive with a life that physical death could not end.”

To say that God is God of the living, not of the dead, also makes me wonder about things, even people, that truly are dead. I’ve written this week about sending God’s life and power into the things and people that seem dead, hopeless, lifeless. But are there things, even people wholly given over to evil, that we should not seek to revive, because they have no life in them?

Death is where life is no longer. But what about where life never was? Situations of terror and profound injustice? Genocide, slavery, oppression, distortion, manipulation? Child abuse, sex trafficking, pornography? Such things were never God-intended; they were not good things that went astray. They represent the absence of good; they should never have been. God is God of the people affected by those situations, but not of the situations themselves. For instance, God is the God of addicts - but God is not God of addiction.

To say that God is God of the living is also to affirm the life in the weakest creatures and people. It is a way of affirming God’s action in those things or people. We can say, “God is God of that. Yeah!” or “God is God of her, of him, of you.” It is a way to articulate God’s choosing and claiming of us.

What can you think of that is utterly lacking in life, where life never was?
Are there things in your life or in the world that you believe God is not involved in?
If they are things that have any hold on you, how about renouncing them today?

And are there things or people, or parts of yourself even, over which you want to proclaim, “God is God of that!” Make a list; do some proclaiming.

God is God of all that is alive in you and around you.
God is Life. And where there is life, God is.

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