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Bible Study Guide for Sunday, October 30, 2022

October 30, 2022
  • Wisdom 3:1-9
  • Psalm 130
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
  • John 5:24-27


Death has weighed particularly heavy on all of us over the last few years.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report more than a million Americans have died from COVID, with even more “excess deaths” beyond the normal death rate.  Many of these deaths have been particularly brutal, with people separated from their loved ones and delayed funerals interrupting the grieving process.  While death is always brutal and awful, that has been particularly apparent to many of us over the last few years.

Today’s first two readings are written for people in the midst of deaths that are particularly awful or surprising.  The deuterocanonical Book of Wisdom dates from about 150 BC and was probably written by a Jewish author living in Egypt.  While some Jews had returned to the Promised land after the Babylonian exile, many others remained scattered across the ancient Near East.  In addition, this is in the middle of a 450-year period in which there were no prophets.  The author of Wisdom is writing to a community that is enduring persecution and seeing their loved ones die as martyrs, all while they are far from home and God seems silent.  These people seem to have been abandoned in their suffering, but the author of Wisdom assures them that is not the case.  To worldly eyes, this situation seems as bad as it could be but God does not abandon God’s people to death and destruction.  Their loved ones are in the hands of God and enjoying the great good that comes to the righteous.

1st Thessalonians is written to the first generation of Christians who likely expected Jesus to be returning at any moment.  They did not expect to see their fellow believers die because Jesus was about to come back in His glory.  But then He didn’t.  And He still hasn’t.  And, in the natural course of things, people started to die.  So then the survivors had questions.  Are our loved ones who have died somehow left out of Christ’s kingdom?  That would be horrific.  Paul assures them that is not the case.  When Jesus eventually returns, all those who have died will rise, and Jesus will draw everyone to himself.  God is not about to abandon anyone, and while our grief is deep and real we “do not grieve as others do who have no hope.”

Grief can be deep and painful.  And yet today’s readings assure us that even when death is at its most bleak, God is drawing our loved ones close, and they “do not come under judgment but have passed from death to life.”

– Kristen Filipic


Who do you particularly remember on this All Souls’ Day?

How have you grieved over the last few years of COVID?

Paul writes “so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.” How do we hold on to hope in the midst of deep grief?


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