November 27, 2009
Luke 21:25-26 (Today’s New International Version)
25 “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26 People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.
The advent readings begin with a slap across the face, a cold splash of water, a shrill alarm.
Wake up! Change – deep change – is afoot!
The practice of lectio divina asks that we listen to the text and pay attention to the word, phrase, perhaps concept which jumps out and catches our attention on first hearing it.
My breath is caught by ‘anxiety’, and more from ‘apprehensive’. I read this passage on the eve of a job interview after three months of unemployment and dozens of closed doors. To say that I’m fighting apprehension and anxiety would be a dramatic understatement; mostly I’m trying not to drown in them.
I read again, once or twice. I know that the context of this passage is Jesus predicting the destruction of Jerusalem, but I hear it in my own context, my time, my situation, and the arrival of Advent.
Jesus’ words are immediate, harsh. This is no new-agey, kumbaya Jesus; this is Jesus the prophet.
No answers are given, no three-steps-to-peace. Jesus wakes me up, makes me sit up straight, pay attention, and listen.
November 20, 2009
Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?” Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.” Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and said to them, “I find no guilt in Him.
verse 34 - as He does so many times, Jesus answers a question with a question…such the provocateur.
verse 35 - the pointed question finally appears: ‘what have you done?’…i think Jesus’ answer to this is quite revealing…
verse 36 - Jesus seems to tackle both questions at once here (“are you the King of the Jews?’ and ‘what have you done?’); what has Jesus done? He has brought a kingdom not made with human hands to the earth. this Kingdom of Heaven is truly beyond and other, and yet tangible and real…like we are: it is in the world, but not of the world. thus the first question is answered as well, only kings bring kingdoms, the Reign of the Servant King has come…Jesus is indeed revealed as the King.
verse 38 - veritas…quo est veritas? ah, pilate’s (in)famous question to Jesus. now, in the Greek, ‘truth’ is ‘alétheia’…and as i grope for some understanding of truth, i’m not sure aristotle helps with his definition: ‘to say of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not, is true.’ i was hanging with dave nixon in cincinnati awhile ago, and he explained his understanding and delved into the linguistic thought-world behind ‘alétheia’; you see the ‘a-‘ at the beginning in the Greek is a negative prefix, which we would see evident in English words like ‘il-legal’, ‘im-moral’ or ‘il-legible’; which when tied to the Greek ‘léth’ (which means to conceal or deceive or obscure) you get literally: ‘to not obscure’ or ‘to make evident’; thus the thought behind the word is something like ‘make self-evident’; and this word ‘alétheia’ is known to occur in the classical Greek literature of the Iliad and the Odyssey in connection with verbs of ‘saying’, and is tied to its opposite: to tell a lie or to deceive. in this Greek literature, we might come to conclude, for Homer the writer who is ‘telling’ an epic adventure: Truth has to do with the reliability of what is said by one person to another. i like that. it takes “Truth” out of the conceptual, ethereal world and puts it in the utmost practical of life-settings: how we speak to one another.
++Lord Jesus, thank you for your Truth. Holy Spirit, thank you that you guide us into truth. O Father, we love Your Truth! Amen.++