This week we return to a central pillar of our faith, and one that must inform all that we do as we seek to follow Christ – the idea that life is eternal, that God saves, and that resurrection emerges from death.
This is, of course, more than just an idea, but is a lived experience as we face death in all its forms and manifestations in our world, and as we cling to the hope that the Gospel offers us. Without the hope of life, of resurrection, it is pretty much impossible to remain committed and effective in dreaming of and working towards a more peaceful and just world.
All this week’s readings there is the thread running: In the face of difficulties – exile, persecution, and even death – God gives God’s people the assurance of God’s protection and salvation. The returning exiles are assured that God is with them and will restore their temple beyond its former glory (which, historically, motivated them to continue working on the temple for centuries!).
The Psalmist celebrates God’s mercy and salvation and plead, in faith, for God’s deliverance. Paul reassures the Thessalonian church that they have not been abandoned or left behind by God, but are guaranteed God’s love and a place in God’s eternal realm.
Finally, Jesus, in the face of the Sadducees’ taunts, reaffirms the resurrection, and that even in death we are not separated from God and God’s life.