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Homily by Rev. David Russell

Ordinary Sunday 32, Year C
South Sydney Uniting Church
November 7, 2010

2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17; Luke 20:27-38

God is not the God of the Dead, but of the living. All are alive to God”

There are so many ways this reflection could go . . . . .

Instead (I reckon) if we can just begin to appreciate the central importance of the simply stated precept that “GOD IS GOD OF THE LIVING – & that (for God) – ALL ARE ALIVE”  then we might well appreciate that which is at the heart of the theology of resurrection – stated simply: “ALL ARE ALIVE TO GOD”   . . . . . . . HERE . . . &  . . . . NOW . . . . &  . . . . ALWAYS . . . . . ALL ARE ALIVE TO GOD.

 HE IS NOT HERE

Now then, this is infinitely easier to say than it is to believe and to live – at least I find it to be so!

So much of what we do is evidence that we don’t really believe this. Perhaps this is especially true in the church/religion. Many people experience the ABSENCE of the God of the Living & suffer under the judgementalism of an institution which simply doesn’t seem to understood the incredible truth of the words that: to God ALL are alive.

For the churches and religions who genuinely believe that they are “the holders of the keys to eternal life” – to them everything has a caveat & is conditional.

BUT the precept stated in Luke’s Gospel that: “GOD IS GOD OF THE LIVING – & that (for God) – ALL ARE ALIVE”  has an UNCONDITIONALITY about it!

I once drove past a church after Easter one year – and the sign out the front read:

HE IS RISEN . . . . HE IS ALIVE . . . . HE IS NOT HERE

Now that is true . . . . in so MANY ways!

BUT rather than go on  about how “inexplicably narrow and out of touch” the church is and can be . . . . OR . . . . .How “unspeakably cruel & uncaring” it can b e TO SO MANY PEOPLE IN SO MANY WAYS

Let me forget this obviously evident reality and instead celebrate the truth that:

GOD IS ALIVE . . . . in/through/around . . . . LIFE ITSELF

Our SECULAR life is ALIVE WITH GOD.

I want to celebrate that WHEREVER we find ourselves beyond this service . . .. that GOD IS THERE!

Of course God is HERE too . . . . BUT . . . . . that GOD IS THERE is hope & truth too wonderful for words!

“God is not the God of the Dead, but of the living. All are alive to God”

Good news – good news indeed!

 “  . . . . . IS THERE ANYBODY ELSE THERE? . . . . . “

There’s a story about a truly devout man – a pillar of the church – who went walking in a mountainous area (probably a pilgrimage of sorts). He loses his footing & slips over a very steep part of the track. He is able to scramble enough to grab hold of a smallish young green tree. He then begins to call out:

“Help! Help! Is there anyone up there? I’ve fallen & I need help!! Can anyone hear me?

Is there anyone up there?”

After a few seconds . . . . but seconds which “felt like an eternity” . . . . of trying to hang on to dear life and calling for help he hears a calm voice say:

Voice:    “It’s OK . . . . I’m here . . . . I can help”

Man says: “Oh thank God, I’m in real trouble”

Voice:  “It’s OK. You’ll be OK. For I am actually God & I want to save you.

You just need to let go of the ‘thread of life’ you are hanging on to – and I will catch you”

There is a long silence . . . . & then the man says:

“Is there anyone else up there?”

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes find it VERY difficult to believe in the GOD OF LIFE. There is so much that saps life from me and there are so many signs to the contrary all around me. And when (like Job) I feel that life is unfair & unreasonable I wonder how the bloody hell can it be that God is there with me? . . . . & I haven’t had to face anything approaching some of the awful things that others have had to face!

BUT  . . . . today’s Gospel reminds me that:

GOD IS THERE – because – GOD IS IN THE LIVING – and – GOD IS ALIVE IN LIFE

It might be hard to see it – feel it – believe it . . . BUT IT SURE GIVES ME HOPE!

 CONCLUSION

So, let us take the truth of today’s Good News with us FROM this place to wherever we will live out our lives tomorrow and let this truth (& our living) be a “beacon” of hope & encouragement to us & to others.

GOD IS THE GOD OF OUR LIVING . . . . not of our DEATH . . . . TO GOD WE ARE ALL ALIVE

May God’s love enable us to let go  & LIVE LIFE !!

Amen.

 


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