As Year C of the Revised Common Lectionary winds down, we listen to an interesting conversation (recorded in Luke 20:27-38) between Jesus and Sadducees about resurrection. One chuckles as we overhear the rather preposterous scenario posed by these who said there was no resurrection. WHAT IF…seven brothers all married the same woman (the latter six as levirate marriage obligation required, so that each husband would live on through descendants); whose wife would she be in the resurrection? It is a rather convoluted argument, especially since the Sadducees thought it a bogus doctrine in the first place.
Jesus dismisses the grounds for argument by “explaining that life in the resurrection will not simply be a continuation of life as we now know it,” in the words of Alan Culpepper. The need for women to be protected through marriage, or the need for descendants to hold the departed in memory, no longer exist in the life beyond. Rather, Jesus assures his interlocutors that they can be confident that God is God “not of the dead, but of the living” (v. 38). In faith and hope they can live as “children of the resurrection” already, believing that death is not the last word.
I have just returned from a gathering of seminary leaders in Pittsburgh. Presidents, board chairs, CFO’s, financial coaches, and ATS staff gave our best thinking to guiding financially fragile seminaries through the economic down-turn. One seminary, deeply stressed in these days, spoke about calling its board to extended prayer and fasting. I respect this perspective because of its utter reliance upon the resources of God; I also trust that the leaders of this fine school have a feasible business plan in addition. God is truly the God of the living, and faltering schools entrust their renewal to the providence of God. Resurrection requires a death to old patterns, and new life is always birthed in new forms. That is our experience as we have discerned creative pathways for theological education. Over these recent years God has made it clear to Central’s board and leadership team that it is the divine will that we flourish! We seek to be faithful to God’s unique calling for us in this time, in this place, and in all the other places that the ministry of Central reaches. We are called to be children of the resurrection.
Molly T. Marshall
To learn more about the renewal Central is experiencing, visit www.cbts.edu