Sundays:  Pastor's Class 9:00 AM (Eucharistic Prayers & Post Comm. Collects)
               Divine Liturgy 10:30 AM

Wednesdays: Divine Liturgy 7:00 PM


Holy Ground

November 11, 2019 Pastor: Rev. Dean Kavouras

Verse: Luke 20:27–38

Christ Lutheran Church
Cleveland, Ohio
November 10, 2019
by: Rev. Dean Kavouras

Pentecost 22
Holy Ground

Some Sadducees -- those who argue that there is no resurrection -- approached him and they put this question to him, 'Master, Moses prescribed for us, if a man's married brother dies childless the man must marry the widow to raise up children for his brother. Well then, there were seven brothers; the first, having married a wife, died childless. The second, and then the third married the widow. And the same with all seven, they died leaving no children. Finally the woman herself died. Now, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be, since she had been married to all seven?'

Jesus replied, 'The children of this world take wives and husbands, but those who are judged worthy of a place in the other world and in the resurrection from the dead do not marry because they can no longer die, for they are the same as the angels, and being children of the resurrection they are children of God. And Moses himself implies that the dead rise again in the passage about the bush where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now he is God, not of the dead, but of the living; for to him everyone is alive.' (Luke 20:27-38)

When you are in a pitch black room and someone suddenly turns on the lights you are momentarily blinded. Your condition, for a time, is worse with the light than without it. It hurts the eyes, shocks the senses and takes some good bit of adjustment.

Knowing this it should come as no surprise that everyone in Scripture who deals with Jesus is blinded when they first encounter the “the Light of the world.” (John 8:12). The one who is Light and gives light!

As often as he opens his mouth the bright light of truth rushes out to scatter the darkness, eradicate our sins, fill us with peace. To make us wise unto salvation, and to answer the great mystery that everyone wonders about: Is there life after death?

There are many people today who find comfort in the Sadducees’ religion that: this is all there is, and when it is over it is over!

Others entertain various thoughts of re-incarnation because it supplies a faint optimism that there is more, and hopefully, better life yet to be lived.

Still others talk in vague terms about going to “a better place” though they are unable to say any more than that.

But these are all defense mechanisms against the great mystery: what happens next? A question that the Sadducees answered wrongly, but that Jesus answers rightly, with confidence and without hesitation as no one ever had before or since.

Indeed is the church’s gospel that our Lord “came down from heaven,” not only to reveal eternity to us, but to obtain it for us. It is to this end that he “suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and buried, and on the third day rose again from the dead.” His death is our life and his resurrection our entrance into eternal glory.

But what of the Sadducees’ illogical question (contradictory premises): whose wife will she be?

First we should note that they had no interest in the Lord’s answer, but posed the question only to make a fool of Jesus. But as always they are no match for him who is the Wisdom of God incarnate! He uses their evil question to teach us about the resurrection from the dead, and the life of the world to come.

While marriage is the normal state of affairs in this world, it is not so in the next. People do not marry one another in heaven for a good reason. Because the baptized are the Bride of Christ. Made one flesh with him in a marriage that will never crash or burn. A marriage that was solemnized on the cross when the New Adam was put into the deep sleep of death, his side torn open by a Roman spear, and the virgin church, the “mother of all the living” emerged.

You are that church.

But the Royal Wedding is not only a future event but a present one. As the Lord came down and was “with Moses” to deliver Israel from Egyptian servitude …

As Jesus “was made man” for us …

Even so our Lord, who made the dust holy by assuming Adam’s flesh, comes down to the Christian altar at every Eucharist. The consecrated bread and cup, now his body and blood, burn with divine love but are not destroyed. Nor is the altar, nor the church building, nor are we as we take heaven’s cleansing fire into the dust that we are.

The church is Horeb. The Mountain of God. The holy ground where the baptized meet with Jesus each week to receive his absolution, hear his word, offer him our prayers, praise and thanksgiving, and to be nourished by the Bread of Life in the Lord’s Supper.

This very house that we now occupy is holy. It was made so by the word of God and prayer (1 Tim. 4:13-14) which we spoke in it and over it when we dedicated it to God three years ago. May we always treat it as such, comport ourselves as such, and devote the very best of our time, talent and treasures to its care and continued existence.

But the holiness of this ground does not stop at the property’s legal boundaries recorded at the county auditor’s office. But it radiates to the surrounding area so that all who live within her blessed shadow receive a blessing simply by being near. By viewing her normalcy. Here calm. Her cross-topped steeple that “points us to the skies,” and preaches without saying a word that the cross is the ladder to heaven.

Moreover as Jesus is Holy Ground, as the Church is Holy Ground, so you too are Holy Ground. Dust and ashes made immortal by Jesus. Rendered holy by his holy incarnation. By the holy cross, holy instruction, holy baptism, holy liturgy, Holy Communion, and by a holy life.

As such Jesus ordains his church a kingdom of priests, the salt of the earth, and the light of the world. (Mt. 5:13-14) And so hear the word of our Lord O sons of the resurrection: “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Mt. 5:16)

That is our mission, outreach and evangelism to the world. To live as Christians in this present age, and to look eagerly to the age to come, that Jesus has made us worthy to attain.

Then signs and symbols which are vital to us now, will no longer be needed, for we shall see him as he is. We will be like him. And we will serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence and blessedness.

This is most certainly true.