Jesus flummoxes the Sadducees today with his response to their question about the childless widow marrying seven brothers and whose wife she would be in the resurrection. The Pharisees than give their shot at besting him and are likewise unsuccessful.
I believe that Jesus' response to the Sadducees not only serves up a mortal blow to their arguments, but also undermine any attempt by people of faith to be literalists: or in current parlance, "original intenters". Jesus is saying with his response that God is alive and with us, that God is not frozen on the page of Scripture and the laws and rules that emanate from those sacred texts. God is speaking to us in Scripture, wanting us to question, to learn, to grow: to be in conversation with each other and with God. And I think Jesus proves that purpose with his response to the Pharisees that the greatest commandment is to love God and, like unto that, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. This is not a frozen-in-time doctrine, but a living, breathing commandment to be actively engaged with the world, loving God, loving our neighbor.
God, Jesus is saying, is among us, with us, a part of our lives. God is not some distant figure to be feared and worshipped. But this loving God is the God of the living, and that statement and belief alone defeats any literalist, strict constructionist, narrow-minded attempts to box-in and define God in human terms. And that makes me smile this morning.
Copyright 2010, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.