Sunday, April 04, 2010

John 20:2

I got interested in the study of the New Testament because of the Synoptic Gospels, so I'm usually rather dismissive of John's version. But it was the reading for today and I was struck by this verse (mostly because I'm so used to the synoptic version of the empty tomb):

"They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him."

Past the end of today's reading, I see the phrase is repeated at John 20:13:

"They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him."

Now, IF I were to preach a sermon on it (and I'm just not the preaching sort, hence why I never thought of the ministry as a calling, but I do feel a hint of an echo of the calling from time to time), I'd reflect on this as the pain of the absence of God (since, after all, the main referent for "Lord" in the Bible isn't Jesus, but the God of Israel) - the second verse says Mary of Magdala was weeping as she said this. And interesting that she doesn't just say "The Lord's gone!" or "Where'd he go?" or "Didn't he say something about this before?" but "They've taken away my Lord." They? Who? Well, here's where you could get creative in a sermon: Everyone who's done something to me to make me think God's a bastard, or that He's gone and never coming back - they've taken him from me and made me sad and hurt and alone and weak (like Mary). And of course, unless this is just going to be an exercise in blaming others, I'd have to turn it back around: every time I've been careless and heartless and cruel to another person, and made him/her fee like shit - well, I'm the one who's taken the Lord away from him/her, effaced God's image in the universe, blasphemed, desecrated, and injured the brother or sister for whom Christ died. Then of course, you'd have to go for the money shot at the end of the sermon, because it turns out no, no one's taken the Lord from the tomb, no one can take him away from Mary (or us): he's as powerful and loving as he said he was - powerful enough to conquer sin and death, powerful enough to overcome our weakness, virtuous enough to cure our disease.

Yeah, that's how I'd preach it, if I were into that sort of thing.


Blogger Elizabeth Massie said...

I like this.

4:10 PM  
Blogger the hamster said...

greatness. i like the way we are all have a responsibility for showing and giving God to others (first 2/3 of the sermon) but in the end (last 1/3) God is still God, and we cannot falter or rewrite the revelations of God to any man.

that would preach. and i would say amen.

5:08 PM  

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