Be trusty

1 May 2011
Second Sunday of Easter
Easter 2A (RCL)

Acts 2:14a, 22-32
Psalm 16
1 Peter 1:3-9
John 20:19-31

Our translations of the Bible have perpetrated a big misunderstanding of the story of Thomas. After Jesus has invited Thomas to touch his hands and side, he says to him (in the NRSV), “Do not doubt, but believe.” What Jesus says in the Greek is, “Do not be untrusty, but trusty.” We have come to see doubt as the opposite of faith. This story makes it clear that fear and faith are opposites.

The disciples meet on the evening after Mary Magdalene has encountered the risen Jesus. They lock the doors, “for fear of the Jews.” Continue reading “Be trusty”

Resurrection life

10 April 2011
Fifth Sunday in Lent
Lent 5A (RCL)
Ezekiel 37:1-14
Psalm 130
Romans 8:6-11
John 11:1-45

This week’s Gospel lesson is sorta the reverse of last week’s. In last week’s reading, Jesus dropped out of the story after healing the blind man (who never asked to be healed!), until the very end, when he meets up with the blind man again. Most of the action took place between the blind man and various interlocutors. In this week’s lesson, Lazarus doesn’t even enter the story until he comes out of the tomb. Jesus is front and center here.

So, why is that? In the story of the blind man, he helped others see what is important in the relationship to Jesus, where truth is. He takes on the “ego eimi” for himself (Jesus doesn’t say it in that whole miracle — only refers to himself in the third person). So, people entering the Johannine community receive their sight, and become one with Jesus (I and the Father, etc.).

The Lazarus story appears to answer a question about what the resurrected life looks like. It does not look like Lazarus, a resuscitated corpse. Lazarus comes out of the tomb, still wrapped in his burial shroud. When the disciples arrive at Jesus’ tomb, the shroud is lying off to one side, neatly folded up. Jesus appears to Mary under the form of a stranger. So, the resurrected life is something we encounter in the everyday.

Hmm. Jesus delays before coming to heal Lazarus — John’s ironic way of poking fun at other christian communities bothered by the delay of the Parousia?