PENTECOST 24C        November 7, 2010




 -The original version of this story is found in the Gospel of Mark (12:18-27), the first of the four Gospels to be written and one of Luke's primary sources for his Gospel.  See also Matthew 22:23-33.


-Themes:   Truth, resurrection, tradition


-Jesus had an answer for the question with no possible answer which basically said that life after death will be different than life before death. Very different and yet there will be one thing that remains constant from this life to the next and that is love, the love that never ends. 


-The Sadducees who approach Jesus don't want an answer - they want to play theological tennis with the question, to throw a question up and bat it around a bit.


-"Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living; for all live to him."


-Jesus is in Jerusalem, he has already cleansed the temple and is now engaged in  controversies with Jewish leaders.


-The Sadducees question Jesus about the Resurrection. Jesus responds to them and evades their attempted entrapment


-Marriage law:  Deut. 25:5  Sadduces considered it binding even though it may not have been at the time of Jesus.


- Pharisees were religious, non-political, believed in resurrection.  Sadduces were rich, collaborated with Rome, accepted only the first five books of OT. and did not believe in resurrection.


-This story is about how Jesus dealt with the logic choppers and the legalists who tried to trap him by playing games with the scriptures. Andrew Greely


-Heaven does not equal earth taken to perfection.  Life in God is not an extension of this life.  Resurrection is complete transformation.  The only thing that holds this life together with the next is God,  the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.    Marcia  T. Thompson


-How do we deal with the tension between tradition and revelation? Lindy


-Will we like the Sadduces define the future in terms of the limitations of our present?


- Resurrection life is not lived in the company of death for death has been overcome.  Therefore, the problem created by death -- multiple husbands, and one wife -- does not pass into resurrection life.  Diane Strickland


-People of the resurrection love beyond the boundaries of earthly existence.


-God is bigger than our human minds can handle.


-Anglican theological method (first enunciated by Richard Hooker during the reign of Elizabeth I) purports to draw from three streams: Holy Scripture, Divinely-inspired (or "right") reason, and Tradition. Sometimes this is referred to as Hooker's "three-legged stool." (Hooker was pre-Enlightenment, so for him "reason" was not the cold rationality of the modern age; "right reason" as he called it included an experiential component. Post-Enlightenment Wesley, took Hooker's "three-legged stool" and made it into a quadrilateral: Scripture, Reason, Experience and Tradition.

(I was trained Methodist and like the idea of testing my knowledge with Scripture AND Experience AND Reason AND tradition)  Lindy


-Fannie Crosby's "Blessed Assurance" --O what a foretaste of glory divine. Isn't this what God gives us in the person of Jesus Christ


-eternity does not begin at death;

SERMON                                            HEAVEN



-Heaven is not up but beyond . Barbara Brown Taylor

-Heaven is where God is;  hell is where God isn’t.  Lindy Black

-We are in a hell of our own making. Paul J. Nuechterlein

-Hell is the suffering of being unable to love. Dostosevsky

-eternity does not begin at death;

-For Jesus /Luke, the resurrection life is not just a future hope, but a current crucial aspect of our existence.

-Not only a hereafter but also a here now. Abraham Heschel, Man is not alone

-I go to heaven for the climate, to hell for the company.   Mark Twain

- Heaven is under out feet as well as over our heads.  Thoreau

- Heaven means to be one with God. Confucius

-The "kingdom of Heaven" is a condition of the heart - not something that comes "upon the earth" or "after death." Friedrich Nietzsche

-I am certain there will be three surprises in heaven: I will see some people I never expected to see. There will be a number whom I expect who will not be there and the biggest surprise will be that I will be there. Sheen

-From womb to tomb and visa versa? Lindy

-He died living" 

-No endings, only discoveries

-Rather have them say, "There he goes" than "There he lies."

-Life is eternal and love is immortal; and death is only a horizon; and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight. Rossiter Raymond

-We constantly live towards the future which we should dread because it is death disguised." Camus

-We see only where God has been because God is IN side of us. See His affects Spong

-Earth crammed with heaven, each common bush aflame with God. Yet only he who sees takes off his shoes. E. B. Browning.

-Jesus was the first puff of steam in a new regime which some of us call the Kingdom of Heaven. BBTaylor

-Too close for comfort...Jesus, kingdom, heaven, God...

-Great ways are ascending ways: ignorance to knowledge; evil to good, doubt to faith, physical to spiritual, etc.




-C.S.Lewis  "If you read history you'll find that Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next."

-We lie loudest when we lie to ourselves.

-Aim at Heaven and you get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.

-The good news is that our faith is not primarily a logical construct, but an eternal relationship with a living God!

-What about the phrase, marriages are made in heaven?

-Jaroslav Pelikan's remark about the difference between "tradition" and "traditionalism": "Tradition is the living faith of the dead; traditionalism is the dead faith of the living."

- The limits of limitations.   

-   "Doctrines are nothing but the skin of truth set up and stuffed." H.Ward Beecher

- Any truth that does not set you free is not true.

- We all are seekers of truth, not possessors. 

-We deceive ourselves before we deceive others.
-He who knows he doesn't know, knows. Tao Te Ching
-Add to truth and you subtract from it.
-Beware of a half truth, you may get the wrong half. 
-Heaven is bliss; hell is a blister.
-Truth-tellers are uncomfortable folk to be around. They comment on our hair, our clothes, our books,
 our furniture, and delight in making us feel small. There are always a few in every parish or mission 
and we avoid them like the plague! To them nothing is ever right, except themselves and their opinions. 
Rev. Anthony F.M. Clavier

-The 1960's pop singer Joe South wrote a song that had these words:

Oh the games people play now
Every night and every day now
Never meaning what they say now
Never saying what they mean
And they wile away the hours
In their ivory towers
Till they're covered up with flowers
In the back of a black limousine

-Back in the sixties Eric Berne wrote Games People Play—an analysis of the ways in which people relate to each other and why we do so. His basic thesis is that “games are substitutes for the real living of real life.” We play games because we do not want to get down to the real human business of honest to God interaction. We would rather live at a superficial level of societal games than to talk about who we are and what we feel.  In our text, the Sadducees were playing games with Jesus. On the way to the cross, Luke says that Jesus' critics engaged him in a number of examinations. Of course, his critics aren't really looking for answers. His critics are not earnest inquirers, but rather sly, cool and calculating interrogators who are seeking to entangle Jesus in his answers.

-When John Owen, the great Puritan pastor and teacher lay dying, he was
dictating some last letters to friends.  He said to his secretary:

     "Write, I am still in the land of the living."  Then he stopped
     and said: "No, change that to read - I am still in the land of
     those who die, but I hope soon to be in the land of the
     living."    Rev. Richard J. Fairchild


-John Newton said that when we get to heaven, there will be three wonders:

1. Who is there

2. Who is not there, and

3. The fact that I'm there!

-Why were they called "Sadducees"? Because they didn't believe in the resurrection -- "sad-you-see"
- "Victor, what do you think are the chances of life after death?" ..."With so many ladders going up everywhere,
 there must be something for them to lean against." Robert Frost and Victor Reichart The Rabbi and the Poet
-He who spits against heaven, gets it in the eye. Fulton Sheen  
-What about someone like Elizabeth Taylor who married many times?  Which spouse will she have for eternity?  
The one she loved the most or the last one?
-Why were they called "Sadducees"? Because they didn't believe in the resurrection -- "sad-you-see" 
-Six men of Indostan: Six men of Indostan went to see the elephant, (though all of them were blind). 
One felt the broad belly and said it was a wall. One felt the trunk and said it was a snake. 
One felt the tusk and said it was a spear. One felt the leg and said it was a tree. One felt the ear and said 
it was a fan. One felt the tail and said it was a rope. 
Though each was partly in the right, all were in the wrong.
- "What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the creator calls a butterfly."
1.  Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.  
2.  Oh God there are deep places within us which yearn for something deep to answer them.   

with faith, love, worship, vision