by Kristin Berkey-Abbott
The readings for Sunday, November 1, 2015:
First Reading: Isaiah 25:6-9
First Reading (Alt.): Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9
Psalm: Psalm 24
Second Reading: Revelation 21:1-6a
Gospel: John 11:32-44
Today we celebrate the Feast of All Saints', traditionally a time when we remember our dead loved ones and all the saints triumphant. Some of us are lucky--we have come through the past year without death coming close to us or those whom we love. Some of us have spent the past year grieving, and we can't imagine how we will ever leave the tomb of grief ourselves.
And along comes Jesus, who calls us to a new life.
Jesus constantly reminds us that the glory of God is all around us, if only we had eyes to see. Jesus invites us to a Resurrection Culture. Sometimes, it's a forceful invitation: the cancer that is caught in time, the loss of a relationship or job that leaves us open to something more nourishing, the addiction that loosens its hold, the return of the prodigal loved ones. Other times, we catch sight of God's Kingdom as a fleeting glimpse: the dance of butterflies, the bad mood that lifts, the perfect bottle of wine that we share with friends.
Still we must cope with the ultimate sorrow. As thinking creatures, we go through life aware that if we live long enough, we will lose all that we love. How do we square the Resurrection Culture of Jesus with this knowledge?
Jesus promises us that death is not the final answer. We may not fully understand how Jesus will fulfill that promise. Some will argue that we go directly to Heaven, and some will tell us that we'll wait in a safe place until the final coming of Christ. And in the meantime, Jesus invites us to participate in the creation of the Kingdom, right here, right now. We don't have to wait until we're dead.
Jesus stands at the door of our tombs and calls to us. How will we answer? Will we say, "Go away! I'm comfortable here in my coffin. Leave me alone." Or will we emerge, blinking, into the sunshine of new life? Will we let Jesus unwrap us from our death cloths?