Mark 12:18-27 NRSVue

18Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him and asked him a question, saying, 19“Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no child, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. 20There were seven brothers; the first married and, when he died, left no children, 21and the second married the widow and died, leaving no children, and the third likewise; 22none of the seven left children. Last of all the woman herself died. 23In the resurrection, when they rise, whose wife will she be? For all seven had married her.”

24Jesus said to them, “Is not this the reason you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God? 25For when people rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like angels in heaven. 26And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the story about the bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27He is God not of the dead but of the living; you are quite wrong.”

Some thoughts on this scripture

The Sadducees ask a question that matters to me too: /What is heaven like?/ In our imagination we shape it to our heart's desire. For American Indians it is a happy hunting ground, rich with game. I would like to imagine a green and pleasant land with rivers and lakes. But God goes beyond the limitations of our imagination: /What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, God has prepared for those who love him./

The strange questions lead to a good answer about God - God is the God of life, of living beings. We are to leave what comes after this life to God acknowledging that answers will not be easily forthcoming. Many faith-questions have a place in prayer. We grapple with big religious questions but know that they get some sort of a context at the feet of Jesus, or at the cross. Our questions are not always answered in prayer, but prayer gives them a context in which they can be lived. 'Live the questions', said Rainer Maria Rilke,' and one day you will find the answers.'

The last line puts a very human problem in perspective. No matter who or how many we have loved in life, we look on relationships in eternity as part of the mystery of God and of eternal life. All we know is that God is the God of the living, and we know that God's wish now and always is that we have life and have it to the full.