Posts Tagged ‘Nicodemus’

John 7:40-53Division

Saturday, March 11, 2023IMM_Nicodemus_thumb

This week we have contemplated the tug-of-war between the beauty and gift of the mystery and miracle with which God surrounds us, and we have also seen the power of our unbelief and doubt. Before moving into the fifth week of Lent, we consider the authority this division exerts on us . . . and what counter-authority is present in our lives from which we might draw.

Those in the crowd who heard [Jesus’] words were saying, “This has to be the Prophet.” Others said, “He is the Messiah!” But others were saying, “The Messiah doesn’t come from Galilee, does he? There was a split in the crowd over him. Some went so far as wanting to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him.

The police who were sent to arrest him say: Have you heard the way he talks? We’ve never heard anyone speak like this man.

Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus earlier and was both a leader and a Pharisee, spoke up. “Does our Law decide about a man’s guilt without first listening to him and finding out what he is doing?” But they cut him off. “Are you also campaigning for the Galilean? Examine the evidence. See if any prophet ever comes from Galilee.” Then they all went home.

Whom do we most closely resemble? Those in the crowd who believe? Are we the Pharisees who send for law enforcement or are we the police themselves? Might we be Nicodemus, a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin? Or might we just go home with no more thought to what we witness? When we use the scripture link to read this entire story using different translations, we have the opportunity to find ourselves in these verses. To explore our own division or unity through the characters in this story, click on the names in the paragraph above.

We examine our belief, our doubt, and the many points of view we will hold and evangelize as we continue our Lenten practice. Rather than thinking: “God’s generosity is sometimes not fair,” let us think instead, “When we put away the past and follow God’s example of enormous generosity, we are better able to welcome the lost back home into the kingdom . . . and to give thanks for our own part in God’s great rejoicing”. 

Tomorrow, adultery.

Image from: https://www.gcurley.info/news/2015/01/are-you-the-teacher-and-do-not-understand/

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Van der Weyden: Descent from the Cross

Van der Weyden: Descent from the Cross

Monday, March 30, 2013

John 19:38-42: Sepulcher

Today we reflect on our world, its intercultural connections, and the stress that a pandemic can bring to us. In this re-post from Holy Saturday 2013, we have an opportunity to rest in Christ as he moves from the cross to the tomb. We have the opportunity to allow God to enter the holy space of our being.

Joseph of Arimathea, secretly a disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate if he could remove the body of Jesus. And Pilate permitted it.  So he came and took his bodyNicodemus, the one who had first come to him at night, also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes weighing about one hundred pounds.  They took the body of Jesus and bound it with burial cloths along with spices, according to the Jewish burial custom.  Now in the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in the garden there was a tomb, in which no one had yet been buried.  So they laid Jesus there because of the Jewish preparation day; for the tomb was close by. (John 19:38-42)

Our lives are fast-moving, quick marching toward an invisible completion; and in the busyness of our days and nights we forget that the tomb is always close at hand.

Our calendars are full of commitments or appointments, comings or goings, chores and tasks; and in our hurriedness we put aside the gentle reminders that the tomb is always nearby.

Our work life, our play life, and our prayer life call us constantly to disparate messages that inevitably weave into one another; and in the complexity of our days and nights we muddle the message that the tomb is always a short step away.

Our lives are but a quick-spiraling wisp in God’s time and space; yet we are eternal and ever-present in the promise of Christ’s risen, mystical body.  Our conflicts and breaches are all healed with Christ’s descent into death and his rebirth into life; each of us will traverse this same road with Christ by our side.

Our modern world shuns death and eulogizes longevity, doubting the miracle offered to us by Jesus’ willingness to take us with him on his resurrection journey as his sisters and brothers. Rather than reject the nearness of the sepulcher, let us welcome the presence of the tomb that is always close at hand. Let us allow our Good Friday sorrow to rise with Christ in Easter joy. Let us celebrate the presence of the sepulcher, the only road to eternal life. And let us always remember that the tomb is at all times near at hand; the tomb is forever . . . quite close by.

To spend some time with the painting by Van de Weyden, click on the image above or go to: http://www.artbible.info/art/large/323.html or http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/famous-paintings/descent-from-the-cross-weyden.htm or http://music-and-art-45.hubpages.com/hub/Rogier-Van-Der-Weyden-Descent-From-The-Cross

This image is from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Descent_from_the_Cross_(van_der_Weyden)

Many of Christ’s faithful believe that the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the Old City of Jerusalem is built over the places where Jesus was crucified and buried. As we open our hearts and minds to Christ’s presence, we lay ourselves in the tomb. We may want to visit sites that tells us interesting information about this church and these stories, go to: http://www.churchoftheholysepulchre.net/ and http://www.timesofisrael.com/the-church-that-never-sleeps/

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Friday, March 13, 2020

Mark 15:39: The Soldier

Roman_Centurion[1]We continue our journey reflecting on the figures who accompanied Jesus in his last hours as a human and today we focus on the centurion who witnessed the death of the Messiah.  Scholars argue and present opposing theories regarding the soldier’s statement: Truly this man was the son of God.  We might want to research the etymology of words or the development of thinking, or we might want to sit with this verse in a quiet spot today but at some point we must ask ourselves to consider this question . . . How do we react when the structure in which we participate – and from which we earn our daily bread – is questioned or challenged?  And what do we say or do when we suddenly see that there are alternate ways to perceive a series of incidents.  Was this soldier surprised by Christ’s patience, by his fidelity, by his compassion for those who died with him and his mercy for those who condemned and crucified him?  Was this man struck by the loyalty of the women and the one lone apostle who waited through the agonizing hours of Jesus’ death as the sky darkened?  Did he know that devout Jews like Joseph of Arimathea and the Pharisee Nicodemus were already mourning the loss of this miraculous man?  Did he know that Jesus had been identified to authorities by one of the twelve who followed him?  Was this centurion one of those who beat Jesus? Did he help to fashion the crown of thorns?  Did he barter for the robe that was so finely woven the soldiers decided to leave it whole?

Something remarkable must have been said.  Some change in this soldier must have been evident.  Some expression, some gesture, some evocation of emotion must have betrayed his calm control and shaken his beliefs because Mark records a reaction and two thousand years later we still argue about the meaning of the words he spoke in that agonizing, dreadful, ghastly moment.

And once we consider all of this it is time to turn to ourselves and ask . . . How do we react when the structure in which we participate – and from which we earn our daily bread – is questioned or challenged?  Are we open to the reality before us or do we buy into the one our superiors give to us?  Are we able to see the world without blinders or do we insist on our own narrow interpretation?  Do we ask for and witness to truth or are we sucked in by rampant gossip and self-serving safety nets?

Lent is the time of year when we are asked to put ourselves into the Passion story.  Today we contemplate the centurion at the foot of the cross and we consider . . . how we react when the structure in which we participate – and from which we earn our daily bread – is questioned or challenged.

Do we see ourselves as the conqueror or the conquered?  Do we believe we hold power over all or do we concede that true power lies in and with God?  Do we respond authentically to genuine mercy and true justice?  Do we witness with honesty to Christ and respond to Christ’s call?

Today we consider the kingdom and our place in it . . . and we spend time with this Roman soldier.

Image from: http://www.crossroadsinitiative.com/library_article/927/Love_Unlimited___6th_Sunday_of_Easter.html

A re-post from March 13, 2013.

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