Reflections for

All Saints Day, Nov 01, 2015

Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9 or Isaiah 25:6-9; Psalm 24; Revelation 21:1-6a; John 11:32-44

Poetry

If you had been here, Lord

Back a week from the grave. He pecks at the food
his sisters set before him. He is afraid to sleep. He imagines
the eyes of everyone upon him but they are careful not to stare,
a meaningless courtesy: the midday sun consumes both sight and soul.
His funeral shroud is unburnt—he won’t allow it—but his sisters
refuse to permit its being brought into the house. Sometimes
they catch him holding it to his face and weeping into it. It smells
so foully that not even the crows will approach it. He rarely speaks
but sometimes talks of going away. It is almost, to their shame,
to be wished for.

Poetry

Lazarus

Perhaps you are perplexed to determine
how two such disparate stories could be told
about me. But the truth hides somewhere between
and beyond these accounts—I was neither a poor
beggar nor a wealthy intimate of God’s Son.

If in these tales I appear as a mere prop—a passive
player in parables concerned with actors who wielded
some form of genuine power—thus far you may credit
each tale: I had no voice. Dumb from birth,
the real miracle for me would have been to speak.

And yet this never seemed to me a curse or even a lack—
I grew to love my silence, and in my early years I was
thought to be simply shy as my maternal sisters
supplied my voice in public encounters. Indeed, their
ready reading of my intent was all the miracle I craved.

I neither anticipated nor needed any return from
the grave—that was about his need, his purpose,
not mine. And to be enfolded in the arms of Abraham
like some Isaac or Ishmael, my sight simply a torment
to some rich fool—what is that to me? To you?

Books

The Myth of Persecution, by Candida Moss

Spring books

Candida Moss unravels a common misperception: that Christianity faced murderous government-sanctioned persecution for its first three centuries, a period in which “the blood of the martyrs” supplied seed for the growing church. Grounded in ten years of research on martyr traditions, Moss’s basic position will surprise few historians.

 

Revised Common Lectionary © 1992 the Consultation on Common Texts. Used by permission.