Memorial of Saints Cornelius, Pope, and Cyprian, Bishop, Martyrs

Lectionary: 447

If Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some among you say there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then neither has Christ been raised.

If the Athenians found Jesus' resurrection hard to swallow, the general resurrection of all the dead is even more challenging. Skeptics can have a field day with their unanswerable questions: 

Where are all those people going to go? Do you count everyone or did some not make the cut? As the human being evolved from the great apes when was the first human-with-a-soul, a salvageable specimen, born? What about miscarried babies? 

It is pretty hard to contemplate the big picture and I don't lose any sleep over that. 

The skeptics remind believers of how little we know, and I will do the same "back at" them. We know so little and our best sciences seem incapable of answering all the important questions. 

As for instance: How does inanimate stuff become living tissue? How does what I eat become me? Stuart Kaufmann posits photosynthesis as a quantum process in green vegetation. But when I look more closely at that answer it sounds suspiciously like, "It's a mystery." Scientists can work with quantum but they can't explain it. 

More importantly, "How does animated flesh become a human person, capable of communion with other persons?" As wonderful as we find our pets, they're not people. They're capable of "unconditional love" -- that non-biblical promise so dear to spiritual people -- only within certain, limited conditions. 

The promise of everlasting life is the promise of communion with God and one another. As the body of the Lord Jesus was raised up, so shall the Body of Christ be raised up on the last day. 

We cannot explain communion to our skeptical friends but sometimes we challenge them: "You want me to prove there is a God; can you prove your spouse loves you? Have you tested the limits of her love? Is it really unconditional? Or is she just saying that?" 

Sadly, many have discovered their till-death-do-us-part was severely conditioned. They failed to invite God into their marriage; or they failed to rely on God when they discovered the boundaries of their love. 

Our faith is founded on the testimony of the apostles and the witness of the martyrs, including those less-spectacular martyrs like our parents and teachers who taught us how to make sacrifices for one another, how to forgive seventy-times-seven, and how to believe in God even when we don't feel anything at all. We believe in "eternal life" because we already live there. 

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.