Article | November 10, 2017
Lectionary Reflection: The Twenty Third Sunday After Pentecost
Wisdom 3:1-9; 1 Corinthians 15:50-58; John 5:24-27
At a recent memorial for North Bay fire victims, Rep. Nancy Pelosi told the audience: “Hope is where it has always been, sitting right between faith and love. Love in the air is thicker than smoke.”
Today’s readings are about hope, specifically the Christian hope that death begins an endlessly new life, at once peaceful and grand. The Wisdom reading asks us to imagine death not as punishment but as a procession into God’s grace and mercy, where we are transformed into celestial bodies that “shine forth and run like sparks through the stubble.”
“Listen, I will tell you a mystery!” Paul exclaims in 1 Corinthians. “We will not all die, but we will be changed in a moment, in a twinkling of the eye.” This to a mixed audience, poor and rich, women and men, insiders and outsiders, ex-pagans and mystery cultists. A life lived in this knowledge, says Paul, is “steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord.”
In John’s gospel Jesus says that all who hear and believe have eternal life. We will be judged with favor if we order our lives in the knowledge that everyone, not the least ourselves, is noticed and accounted for. This is God’s love, the promise of faith, hope in the air.
This reflection was written by Jim Simpson. He is a member of the Grace Cathedral Congregation Council and a graduate of the cathedral’s Education for Ministry program.