Texts: Haggai 1:15-2:9 and Psalm 145:1-5,17-21, (Psalm 98) or Job 19:23-27 and Psalm 17:1-9; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17; Luke 20:27-38.
This conversation of Jesus with a group of Sadducees who did not believe in the resurrection is enlightening to say the least.
First, Jesus skillfully avoids a useless argument over transcendental issues of life beyond the present, and what heaven will be like. (vv. 27-33)
At the same time, he authoritatively draws a line between “this age” and “that age.” (vv. 34-35)
Jesus connects the present with the past (v. 37) and then actually makes the point that “now he is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive.” (v. 38)
The result is telling: they are impressed, and no longer asked him questions in an attempt to trap him. (vv. 39-40)
“The Sadducees cannot ask these questions because they think they already know the answers. Real questions are doorways to the journey to newness. We ask Jesus these questions because he is who he is. Jesus is the door to newness; he is the Way to new life. He invites us to think of a new world: a world where the old rules do not apply. He invites the Sadducees to lay aside their stupid questions and think of a new world in which the living and the dead are connected.”
–Rev. Peter Taylor, Bishop of Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina
“When Morning Gilds the Skies,” “Thine is the Glory,” “Come, Your Faithful, Raise the Strain,” “Jesus Shall Reign,” “He is Lord”
Call to Worship
It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to the name of the Most High; to celebrate God’s steadfast love in the morning, and to declare God’s Faithfulness by night. –Adapted from Psalm 92:1-2
O Lord, our God, as you opened this day with the rising of the sun, may you open our eyes to a new day that lies before us now. But let us also have our eyes opened through your Word to a day which is yet to come, in which there will perfect peace in your living presence.
Prayer of Confession
Forgive us, Lord, when we struggle against evil—and fail. Forgive us when we don’t struggle at all. And encourage us, Lord, when we struggle and succeed.
Words of Assurance
Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and shield. Our heart is glad in him because we trust in his holy name. –Psalm 33:20-21
Prayer of Thanks
We praise you today, with a sense of awe and mystery, for the gift of our own existence, for the miracle of self. We thank you for the evidence of your image within us, which survives despite our corruption of that image.
We are grateful for the miracle of self-awareness, for the wonder of conscious though. We are thankful for the ability to feel, to think, to love, to enjoy, to make decisions. We are grateful for the freedom to succeed and to fail, to soar and to fall.
We are thankful for the ability to solve problems, to deal with difficult situations, to chart our course through life. We are thankful for the pleasures that make our life not only bearable but also exciting and rewarding.
We are grateful for the evidences of the soul, for the spark of eternity within us, for the privilege of reflecting in our persons, even in a small way, your love and compassion.
Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure. –Philippians 2:12-13
Thanks you, Lord, for the privilege of giving to a cause that shall have no end, in this world or the next. Amen (BGL)
Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20)
(Prayers and other worship items courtesy of Leroy Koopman @ Liturgical Publications. Subscribers are permitted to reprint material in non-profit publications only; all other reproduction is prohibited. 2013 Liturgical Publications Inc, LPi Resource Center, P.O. Box 510817, New Berlin, WE 53151-0817, 1-800-950-9952 ext. 2469)