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Weekly Bible Notes and Worship Resources for Ordinary 32

Third Sunday before Advent

Year C, Colour = Green


We are at an interesting time in the Church year. We have been through Halloween, and we enter a time of remembrance of those who have died, with the festivals of All Saints and All Souls. This is time when we celebrate the fact that Christians believe in life after death. Our God is God of the living and the dead, those who have gone before us. In the UK at this time we also have Remembrance Sunday which is a powerful time when we look back at those who have given their lives for their country in conflicts around the world.

So our reading from Luke is very releavant because it raises the question of resurrection. Jesus is confronted by a question from religious people called Sadducees, who ask who a woman will be married to in the after life if she had seven husbands. The question is one of those tricks since the Sadducees di not believe in life after death in the first place (they were sad-u-see). Jesus responds by giving a firm reassurance that in God all are alive. This is exactly the kind of message which people need to hear at this time of year when we reflect upon those we have loved and lost.

Opening Verse of Scripture

He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive." Luke 20:38

Collect Prayer for the Day - Before we read we pray

Almighty Father, whose will is to restore all things in your beloved Son, the King of all: govern the hearts and minds of those in authority, and bring the families of the nations, divided and torn apart by the ravages of sin, to be subject to his just and gentle rule; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. CW

First Bible Reading - Job 19:23-27a

‘O that my words were written down! O that they were inscribed in a book! O that with an iron pen and with lead they were engraved on a rock for ever! For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. NRSV

Second Reading - 2 Thessalonians: 1-5, 13-17

As to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we beg you, brothers and sisters, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as though from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here. Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one destined for destruction. He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, declaring himself to be God. Do you not remember that I told you these things when I was still with you?

But we must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first fruits for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth. For this purpose he called you through our proclamation of the good news, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by our letter.Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word. NRSV

Gospel Reading - Luke 20: 27-38

Some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus, and asked him a question, ‘Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no children, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers; the first married, and died childless; then the second and the third married her, and so in the same way all seven died childless. Finally the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had married her.’

Jesus said to them, ‘Those who belong to this age marry and are given in marriage; but those who are considered worthy of a place in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. Indeed they cannot die any more, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection. And the fact that the dead are raised Moses himself showed, in the story about the bush, where he speaks of the Lord as 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 all of them are alive.’ NRSV

Post Communion Prayer

God of peace, whose Son Jesus Christ proclaimed the kingdom and restored the broken to wholeness of life: look with compassion on the anguish of the world, and by your healing power make whole both people and nations; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ


The current exhibition in the British Museum ‘Journey Through the Afterlife: Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead’ which are some 3000 years old indicates that what happens after we die has probably been a puzzle to all human beings since time began. From this material it can be deduced that the ancient Egyptians hoped for a life lived in a world much like their earthly one. The passage set for today, Luke 20: 27 – 40, shows that this question was still vexing the Jews at the time of Jesus.

‘The problem of the resurrection’ this is the heading at the top of one commentary about Luke 20: 27 – 40, as a title it sums up the issue explored in the verses from Luke’s Gospel and the content of the passages of Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians set for today. Whilst the Job 19 verse 25 seems to express a belief in the resurrection in the words: ‘I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.’ The church in Thessalonica needed encouragement to hold on to their belief in the resurrection as it had not come about as soon as Paul had led them to believe it would. It is not surprising then if we puzzle and differ over our understanding of the resurrection and at times need to be encouraged to stand firm and hold on to the teachings of Jesus, Paul and others.

Luke 20: 27 – 28 is part of a series of questions raised by Jewish leaders to bring about Jesus’ downfall. This time it is the Sadducees turn to try and catch Jesus out. The Sadducees were members of the priest hood and the wealthy aristocracy who were quite content with their position within Roman rule so would have been anxious not to have that position put in jeopardy by Jesus. They exercised a traditional conservative religion based on the first 5 Books of the OT, known as the Pentateuch which the Jews attributed to Moses. Unlike the Pharisees they accepted only the material world and denied the resurrection, angels and spirits (Acts 23:8). In their challenge to Jesus they quote the Jewish tradition, as laid down in Genesis 38:8 and Deuteronomy 25:36, of a man being required to marry his brother’s widow if she was childless. This was practiced in order to maintain the family line, which was a very strong tradition of the time.

Jesus’ response is twofold; firstly he states that the resurrected life will not be like life on earth. There will no longer be any death so there will be no need for procreation, so the issue of several earthly husbands is irrelevant. All will become God’s children. Secondly Jesus bases his reply on the Book of Exodus 3:6, where from the burning bush God said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” The Hebrew for ‘I am’ in this sentence is expressed in the present form, so Jesus was saying that God was still the God of Abraham centuries after his death, implying that Abraham was still alive and able to worship him. Concluding with the statement that: ‘He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.” In this instance the Pharisee’s, who are often regarded as the ‘bad guys’, would have agreed with Jesus but not the Sadducees. Which is possibly why verse 39 goes on to say ‘Some teachers of the law responded ‘Well said’, teacher!”. Resulting in no one daring to ask him more questions (in v 40), so Jesus was let of the hook a little while longer. But the Sadducees and other doubters were proved wrong on that first Easter day and by the subsequent resurrection appearances that followed. Wendy Waters


What kind of kingdom will this be?
It will be a kingdom where, in accordance with Jesus’ prayer, God’s name is truly hallowed, his will done on earth, human beings will have everything in abundance, all sin will be forgiven and all evil overcome. It will be a kingdom where, in accordance with Jesus’ promises, the poor, the hungry, those who weep and those who are down trodden will finally come into their own, where pain suffering and death will have an end.
It will be a kingdom that cannot be described, but only made known in metaphors: as the new covenant, the seed spring up, the ripe harvest, the great banquet, the royal feast.
It will therefore be a kingdom – wholly as the prophets foretold – of absolute righteousness, of unsurpassable freedom, of dauntless love, of universal reconciliation, of everlasting peace. In this sense therefore it will be the time of salvation, of fulfillment, of consummation, of God’s presence: the absolute future. Hans Kung, On Being a Christian.



  1. Glorious things of thee are spoken 173
  2. Come on and celebrate 99
  3. Christ the Way of life possess me 78
  4. I know that my Redeemer lives 278


Prayers for Sunday and the week ahead

representation of prayer as seed growing

"Prayer is a plant, the seed of which is sown in the heart of every Christian.
If it is well cultivated and nourished it will produce fruit, but if it is neglected, it will wither and die."


Blessed be God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope, through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, and into an inheritance which cannot perish or be defiled, nor can it ever fade. So let us rejoice!

God of water, Lord of life, we thank you for the moments in history which have pointed towards the mystery of baptism; your Spirit brooding over the waters of creation, bringing order out of chaos; your people striding out of Egyptian slavery through the wind blown passage in the Red Sea; and Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River, with the shock of the voice saying: ‘You are my Son’. May we who are baptized already be renewed in our baptismal promises, in a spirit of love and trust; and may your beloved children baptized today be blessed, and stay close to you now and always. Angela Ashwin

Weave us, O Christ, into your people, and bless our belonging. Hold us, O Christ, in your love, and bless our pledging. Stay with us, O Christ, in darkness and doubt, and bless our trusting. Fill us, O Christ, with your Holy Spirit, and bless our new beginning. Angela Ashwin

The reason why God’s servants love (God’s) creatures so deeply is that they realize how deeply Christ loves them. And it is the very character of love to love what is loved by those we love.  St Catherine of Siena

Each morning and each evening
let the peace of the Father be mine.
Each day and each night
let the peace of the Son be mine.
Each dawn and each dusk
let the peace of the Spirit be mine.
Let the blessing of the Three in One be mine; both now and for ever. Amen
Carmina Gadelica

Grant, O Lord, that the light of your love may never be dimmed within us. Let it shine forth from our warmed hearts to comfort others in times of peace and in seasons of adversity, and in the bright beams of your goodness and love may we come at last to the vision of your glory; through Christ our Lord. Amen

O God, our true life, to know you is life, to serve you is freedom, to enjoy you is a kingdom, to praise you is the joy and happiness of the soul. I praise and bless and adore you, I worship you, I glorify you. I give thanks to you for your great glory. I humble beg you to live with me, to reign in me, to make this heart of mine a holy temple, a fit habitation for your divine majesty. St Augustine.

Heavenly Father, may your Holy Spirit lead the rich nations to support the poor, and the strong nations to protect the weak; so that every nation may develop in its own way, and work together with other nations in true partnership for the promotion of peace and the good of all humankind; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Diocese of Melanesia.

Creator of the universe, watch over us and keep us in the light of your presence. May our praise continually blend with that of all creation, until we come together to the eternal joys which you promise in your love, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Celtic Prayer

O thou who coverest the high places with water, who settest the sand as a bound to the sea and dost uphold all things: the sun sings thy praise, the moon gives thee glory. Every creature offers a hymn to thee, his author and creator for ever. Amen. Eastern Orthodox Prayer