I took a break from writing on this blog during Holy Week and Easter Week. Not a break from reading/saying MP, just from the habit of writing frequently here. We have had strong and powerful readings over the past two weeks. This week we have been graced with Mark, Matthew and Luke's resurrection accounts. If you haven't read all of them in close proximity to one another, it is a rewarding and thought-provoking exercise. And today, we end Easter Week with the account of the Sadducees accosting Jesus about whether or not there is resurrection, trying to trap him in the story of the widow who marries seven brothers in succession.
These bureaucrats were very much stuck in only knowing God as we see God in the Exodus account we read today: as a pillar of cloud/fire off in the distance. They could only see and understand God as transcendent: at a distance away from them. Jesus responds to them saying have you not read in the book of Moses, in the story about the bush, how God said to him, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is God not of the dead, but of the living: you are quite wrong. This is an imminent God, our Jesus. Not some far away cloud, but one who was with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob....the disciples and apostles....and is with us.
This can be a fear-inducing understanding of our God....God knows I thought/did that? There is little wonder that throughout history we set altars far away from us, and bound them with rails. Having that transcendent God, that distant God, is far safer and more comfortable for us to live with daily. But we are quite wrong, as Jesus says. God is imminent, is with us always. That love God has for us is so great, that even me, a human being with many faults, is loved, and comforted, and forgiven.
This Eastertide, we are invited to gather around the altar table, to be embraced in our common meal together by an imminent, loving and present God. Are we willing to walk into that embrace?
Copyright 2012, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Scott and Christopher's Blessing Ceremony, 2011.