November 6, 2022

A New Math and a New Calculation

Pastor KJ Kim

Luke 20: 27-38

In today’s passage, the Sadducees were trying to catch Jesus as they tried to trick him, to expose him as a dangerous fraud. Their reasoning was simple, to extend their mathematic practices—one plus one is two—into future possibilities, assuming that it would all be the same.

All of Jesus’s responses were enigmatic enough to put off the Sadducees, but good enough for us to get some wisdom—“The calculation through our math does not work for God’s math; The resurrection is not a theory, it is rather a calling to walk into a new possibility out beyond all of our nightmares, control, or pattern; This calling invites us to engage in new life and not to worry about those who have already gone before us because they can be left with God.”

The Sadducees were indeed adversaries, the enemy, and the wicked name in the gospel. What they wanted to do is keep the world the way it is—one plus one equals two. But Jesus was the petitioner who was at risk before them, presenting a new way, a new math and a new calculation—a new place where the last shall be first and the first last; a new way that whoever loses his life for my sake will find it; a new math and its calculation—one plus one plus one equals one—the way God exists as father, son, and holy Spirit.

Maybe, we are like these old Sadducees; we would like to imagine that the future will be like the past; trying to keep the old math of “seven and one” and “one and seven.” Yes, it does not take much effort to apply this Gospel confrontation to our own time and place.

On this All Saint’s Day, as we remember and take a look back at the past years, we trust that God has done great things for us, and we rejoice. However, we sometimes feel like we are not sure how to get from today to tomorrow by wrestling with challenges and tensions that seem to be the hard part for each of us.

The future is not handed over to our mastery. The future cannot be guaranteed by how much we have, or we have not. Rather, tomorrow is in the hands of the stories from how God’s people can be passionately faithful to God who makes all things new out beyond our mastery and our control.

Let us keep seeking new math of fidelity even though the world-math seduces and reduces us to wealth and security, or sometime leads us to be frustrated, and have fear of the future, tomorrow and next year. Let’s us keep seeking God’s newness happening all around us and among us. And let us keep remembering our saints in love, and even strive to be new saints through our faithful lives, a life beyond fear and control, but to give as we have received.

Thanks be to God.