Friends: Some of our brothers and sisters have come to me with a question, and it is a question about a topic that should be of great import to all of us, that of resurrection. “Our friends,” they bleat, “disappeared a year ago and we fear they are dead. Is there any hope of them returning?”
The answer to this question, of course, lies in the one book that needs to be on everyone’s Christmas list, the Holy Bible. And let me remind you that you can still purchase sets of either two cassette or four eight-track tapes of “P. M. Cavendish’s Conflagration!” and “P. M. Cavendish’s Pillar of Salt!” from Marjorie Gertrude manning the table by the bulletin boards, after the Sermon. Where else can you cut through the dross and get a concentrated dose of every smiting of every community of heathens, and every culling of every leering fornicator, all in convenient tape form? Your children will thank you for it, right after they head off to Church and then break up with that skanky harlot or long-haired freak you’ve been seeing them around with.
Today’s reading is from Matthew 22, the argument between Jesus and the Sadducees over the resurrection of the dead. You all remember the Sadducees, who minced into our Lord’s august presence without so much as a “How do you do?” They remind Jesus that a widow without children should marry her dead husband’s brother. They then try to play “Gotcha!” with the King of Kings (something you just know isn’t going to go well for them): “Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother. Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. And last of all the woman died also. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? For they all had her,” (Matthew 22:25-28). This is sort of like my favorite musical, “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” except it is “One Bride for Seven Brothers,” which would be much harder to choreograph. And each brother keels over after marrying her.
What a contrast to Sheila, the widow of whom I have lately spoken to you! Sheila’s husband had no brother, and she explained to me (right before offering to relieve the shoulder pain I had been experiencing) that she therefore intended to take seriously the imperative that “all men are brothers.” Whereas this widow in Matthew seemed more like a “black widow,” which of course is a kind of deadly spider. Except she didn’t have eight legs or the Sadducees would probably have said something like “left his anatomically unusual wife unto his brother.”
She probably looked more like Fraulein von Teufel, who as we all know would as soon break a man into two pieces than marry him, whose hands may caress a man gently one minute and then rip off his appendages the next, and whose lips are akin to the succulent red petals that a flower-carrying baboon uses to lure men of the cloth into compromising situations in front of hidden cameras and then bite their bottoms over and over again!
Jesus is, of course, not tricked by the shallow quandary offered by these Sadducees. He rightly replies that: “For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven,” (Matthew 22:30). And, as we all know, angels neither have naughty bits nor do they bother with courtship or marriage, since they are too busy with higher things like zither lessons and laundry. Lots and lots of laundry, one can only imagine. So in the afterlife the widow isn’t married to any of them (which is consistent with Sheila’s approach, come to think of it). But my point here is that Jesus clearly says that there is resurrection, and that people come back like angels (as a theological point, we must assume that Michael Landon will return as a sort of Mega-angel).
So whether you call it resurrection, or work at the Best Western and call it moksha or transmigration or whatever, I think it is safe to say that your friends will come back. They will be less likely to do the things they used to do, if those things were defacing statuary and rifling through drawers that contain ladies’ undergarments. If they were married to seven other people, it is safe to say they won’t be married to them anymore. But that would be septogamy, anyway, and the Church discourages such things. For those of you who find that disappointing, I would note the fact that the Bible is silent on the subject of octogamy. There. Now, you’re looking more cheerful!
Labels: Sunday Sermon