Readings for 3rd Sunday of Easter, 4/14/13:
Acts 9:1-6, (7-20), Psalm 30, Revelation 5:11-14, John 21:1-19
Acts 9:1-6, (7-20):
- This is the story of the conversion of Saul, a favorite of many. I prefer using the extended text - the 'whole story'.
- "any who belonged to The Way" - I like this name for Christianity - perhaps less boggling in some respects. The Greek is hodos, which means Way as in path or road, a highway. What does that say - our faith is the road we are on?!
- "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting." Think of Matthew 25:31-45 - Jesus is the one who is impacted by our actions, be it positively or negatively. I'm guessing we don't really believe this - if we did, I would hope we would stop doing some of the atrocious things we do to one another, and start doing some of the so basic things we're always overlooking!
- "He is an instrument I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel." How hard it must have been for Ananias to trust God's plan in this case. But how comforting it should be, or challenging, to realize that God always picks the least likely, the least equipped, the least sensible to carry about God's plans.
- "something like scales fell from his eyes" - I think of the Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, where Eustace Scrubb is turned into a dragon, a symbol of his misdeeds. To become a human again, he has to get rid of the dragon skin - he tries to peel it off himself, but can't get deep enough. Aslan (read Jesus), has to tear deeply into Eustace's flesh to get all of the old scaly skin away...
- Eesh - not a favorite psalm. All these images of God are terrible - pleading with God to care and act, trying to convince God to act by appealing to God's desire to have more people to worship God (v. 9). Not a very flattering picture of God. But I guess it's more about where the psalmist comes from than about who God really is...
- "Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning." The youth of my CCYM love the praise song "Trading My Sorrows", which takes this verse as a line of the song. These words comfort and give hope - but how do we speak to those who feel like this morning of joy never really comes?
- "You hid your face." - Ugh - to think of God turning God's face from us. Devastating - like an eclipse?
- Sorry - not much to say about this short blurb. Not to say the passage is not important - but - it is so short and so little is happening in it.
- So what is it about? Everybody is worshiping the Lamb, Jesus. I guess that is a powerful image. But I'm more interested in what's going on with God and Christ here and now.
- I love this passage from John - it is so rich in symbolism and imagery. For some, Jesus eating is a confirmation of his physical resurrection, as opposed to spiritual resurrection. Personally, I find the fish more symbolic of Jesus' journey with the disciples. He called them when they were fishing - then there nets were breaking, now they do not despite the large catch. Then he called them to follow him - here he does again, to Peter, but now there is knowledge of what this means. He also shared the meal of bread and fish with them when he fed the 5000. They are again by the sea, on the water, where so much ministry has taken place, where so much meaning is attached.
- Another Chronicles of Narnia tie-in, also from Voyage of the Dawn Treader. At the very end of the book, when the gang is finally approaching the Eastern end of the world, they see a lamb who is cooking fish for them to eat, who turns into Aslan before their eyes, who is the Christ figure. Hard to get it all into this blurb, but READ IT(!) for some great illustrations.
- "Do you love me more than these?" What these? The disciples?
- Chris Haslam suggests that Jesus asking Peter three times and Peters confirmation of love is a reversal of Peter's thrice denial of Christ before his crucifixion. He has come full circle - his shortcoming is turning into a strength - he can be the leader of the new church that Jesus needs him to be.
- "Follow me." Indeed.