November 10, 2013

ORDINARY 32 (C)

He is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.

– Luke 20: 38

  We are, all of us, alive to God. Even those who have passed on from this life we speak of as having gone on to greater life in God. One of the mind-boggling assertions of the Good News is that the infinite deity is intimately concerned with the being & welfare of each one of us. The question then becomes, is God alive to us? Put another way is the resurrection real to us? Is it something to which we only pay lip service, or does it make a difference in our lives – does it affect our attitudes & priorities, does it lead us to do things that would make no sense at all unless God were real?

   God doesn’t need us to be real, but there is a very important sense in which we need Him in order to be real. Life & God are intimately connected: you can’t have one without the other. Obviously, we are talking about more than mere physical existence here, although it includes that also. But if God is not alive in our hearts, if the divine life does not inform & inspire our vision of things, then truly our life is no more than what Shakespeare’s Macbeth says it is: “A poor player that struts & frets his hour upon the stage & then is heard no more.” Life is “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound & fury, signifying nothing.” Only when eternal life matters to us do we become really alive.

   Have you ever watched a spider spin its silken thread by dropping from the branch of a tree to the ground? Have you ever wondered, after the spider has unfurled this long strand, if you could gather it all up & get it back inside the spider? No you could not, because within a few moments the spider has spun a strand that is equivalent to more than the total bulk of its body. It’s awesome, if we think about it.

   Like that spider, we have a body; but we are much more than a body. Our spiritual dimension transcends the body & directs it, for good or ill. It has the potential to express itself in the divine image in which it is created. Sounds incredible? Listen to what Jesus has to say:

“Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today & is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will He not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?” – Mt. 6: 28-30

We too easily sell ourselves short. Each of us has a unique relationship with the Kingdom of God, & if the lilies of the field & the birds of the air & the spiders on the ceiling can harmonize with the creative action of God in a way that fills us with awe & wonder, then how much more capable are we of participating in it in truly miraculous ways!

   One night, author Zig Ziglar was telling the bible story of David & Goliath to his eight year old son, Tom. He says

“As I was finishing the story I paused & said to Tom, ‘Son, David was a really brave boy to challenge Goliath, wasn’t he? He was a lad of 17 & hadn’t even started to shave, while Goliath was a man of war over 9 feet tall & weighing 400 pounds.’ Tom looked up at me & said, ‘Yes, dad, David was brave alright. But Goliath was the really brave one.’ Somewhat startled, I asked Tom why he figured Goliath was the brave one. He said, “Dad, you’ve got to understand that Goliath was out there all by himself. David had God with him.’” – “Confessions of a Happy Christian”

   The meaning of our life begins to unfold with the discovery that we are not all out there by ourselves, that God is indeed with us. It is at the moment of that crucial “Eureka!” that we become truly alive in ways that can astound ourselves even more than others. With that discovery comes insight into what life is about, the realization that we are individual expressions of the divine life of love. Only then will our Lord’s remark make sense, that “God is not the God of the dead but of the living.”  AMEN!