Ordinary Time (Proper 27)
God of the Living
Job 19:23–27a; Psalm 17:1–9; 2 Thessalonians 2:1–5, 13–17; Doctrine and Covenants 163:2a
“Lift Your Glad Voices” CCS 475
OR “Mfurahini, Haleluya (Christ Has Arisen, Alleluia)” CCS 471
Invitation to Worship
Breath of the living God,
Come now and live within us,
come, let your gifts enrich us,
breath of the living God,
our Creator Spirit, eternal Source.
—Osavaldo Catena, “Breath of the Living God (Soplo del Dios viviente)” CCS 43,
© 1979 Bonum. Eng tr. © 1993 The Pilgrim Press
“Holy Spirit, Come with Power” CCS 46
OR “Each Breath Is Borrowed Air” CCS 144
Scripture Reading and Thoughts
Based on Luke 20:27–38
“Blessed Is the Body and the Soul” CCS 238
OR “Sing to God as Sings the Ocean” CCS 104
Meditation on Psalm 17:5–7a
Read the scripture passage three times, with time for meditation between each reading. Before the first reading, encourage the congregants, as they listen, to choose a word or phrase that touches their hearts. Take it in, gently recite it, and reflect on it.
Before the second reading, encourage the congregants, as they listen, to ponder the words that touched their hearts and how they might apply to their lives. Before the third reading, encourage the congregants, as they listen, to reflect on what God is calling them to do or become today.
Close with a prayer.
In different parts of Britain, Ireland, and northern Europe, there is a tradition of fastening a piece of cloth to trees (usually hawthorn) near holy wells. After taking the water, people tie a piece of their clothing to the tree. The tree is a symbol of long life and health. In Scotland these are known as clootie (cloth) trees. Share the story, “Clootie Tree,” found in the accompanying PowerPoint® presentation. Following the story, provide strips of cloth and markers for everyone. After writing prayer concerns on the cloths, encourage people to take the strips of cloth home and tie them where they can blow in the refreshing wind of God’s love. Each time they see the cloths, it will remind them of their prayer concerns and of God’s unfailing love.
Hymn of Assurance
“Rain Down” CCS 260
OR “Let My Spirit Always Sing” CCS 269
Hymn of Preparation
“Small Is the Table” CCS 525
OR “Bread of the World” CCS 527
Blessing and Serving of the Bread and Wine
Disciples’ Generous Response
Video: “I Have Given You a Day” by Barbara Howard (Available at www.CofChrist.org/resources; CofChrist channel on www.youtube.com; and Witness the Word DVD, June 2014.)
For additional ideas and resources, see Disciples’ Generous Response Tools at www.CofChrist.org/disciples-generous-response-tools.
Blessing and Receiving of Mission Tithes
Prayer for Peace
Light the peace candle.
Go in peace. Go in love. Watch and wait for the final fulfillment of humankind. Until that time, celebrate community with others. Deepen your relationships with all people. In the name and for the sake of Christ. Amen.
“Peace Salaam Shalom” CCS 310
OR “Hevenu shalom alaychem (La paz esté con nosotros)” CCS 311
Additional ideas: The Daily Prayer for Peace services offered at the Temple in Independence, Missouri, are on the church’s website as Calendar Events at www.CofChrist.org/daily-prayer-for-peace.
Doctrine and Covenants 163:2a
Ordinary Time (Proper 27)
Exploring the Scripture
The Sadducees come to Jesus with a paradox. The Sadducees were a Jewish sect that leaned on the Law of Moses, were open to the Greek influence of their day and—most important to this passage—did not believe in life after death. They come to Jesus with a theoretical problem (quite absurd) of seven brothers who marry the same woman, each after the other dies, never producing any children. All this is proper according to the Law (Deuteronomy 25:5–10). If life continues after death, the Sadducees argue, who is the woman’s husband in the afterlife? The question is not sincere. The Sadducees already reject belief in an afterlife. They are using the question to trap Jesus in front of onlookers to prove he is not knowledgeable or prophetic.
Jesus deflects the personal attack and, instead, teaches about God’s mercy and love. He first says earthly life and life in heaven are not the same thing. In heaven, those who suffer and are treated as lowly on Earth will be considered “like angels and are children of God…” (v. 35). He affirms that for God, all are alive—all have worth. Oppression on Earth has nothing to do with God’s mercy and love. Those suffering can find hope through their faith in God’s love and mercy for all, if in no other way, through eternal life with God. Resurrection hope is particularly powerful for those who are marginalized and oppressed during their earthly lives.
An important part of Jesus’ response is that God is a God of the living. Even though we die, we are alive in God. Jesus uses the logic that if Moses spoke to God as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Moses considered those forebears (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) as alive in God. And if so, they and all people of faith who have gone before are alive for us.
- God’s mercy and love are for all.
- Resurrection hope springs from the idea of eternal life with God.
- God is a God of the living.
Questions to Consider
- Life after death is not a continuation of earthly life. What does this mean to you?
- What is your resurrection testimony?
- How might your congregation provide the message of “resurrection hope” to people who are marginalized and oppressed?
- In what ways does the Living God connect the past and present, and lead us into the future? Give a specific example of something or someone in the past that connects you to God’s love and mercy today.