I got bored during choir rehersal tonight, so I read this week’s lectionary. And it’s a kind of wild set of readings.
First, we’ve got Revelation 5: 11-14, and wow, that’s one of those passages that makes you wonder what exactly was in the water on the isle of Patmos. There’s four beasts, and seven-eyed, seven-horned,
flying purple people eaters lambs, and angels singing and people falling down… This is not something that most people have any experience with. Well, unless you’ve been to certain kinds of concerts.
No, not Neil Diamond concerts.
Next, well, there’s Acts 9: 1-19a, in which Saul was being kind of a dick, and Jesus laid the supernatural smackdown on him. We all know that story. Some of us have even been there, done that. Something that a lot of people forget, though, is that Ananaias gets spanked, too. Ananaias was afraid, ’cause, well, Saul was a dick and like to kill Christians, he had no evidence except God saying, “Go, man, go!” And Ananaias stuck his neck out, and the rest is pretty much, you know, church history and the entire rest of the NT.
Finally, we get to the Gospel, John 21: 1-14. And the disciples are once again meeting the risen Christ. They’re not in the Temple, they’re not anywhere special, dude, they’re at work and Jesus, basically, brings them a bag lunch. And in the middle of that kind of boring, usual day, Jesus gives Simon Peter his marching orders. I wonder if the reason why Simon Peter comes off like a beer commercial (“You know I love you, man!”) is because he wasn’t expecting to be told he’s basically in charge now. I mean, really, it’s like if you were at lunch with your buddies from work, talking about how the fish catch is going and when you’re going to get around to mending the nets, and one of them turned to you and said, “By the way, you’re going to be a priest in Russia. Have fun with that!”
Why, for crying out loud, are these three passages linked in the Lectionary? I mean, I assume that the guys who put the Lectionary together had a point, other than, “Well, shoot, we gotta fit them in somewhere! Ah, no one will notice ’em in the second week of Easter.”
I think that the connecting thread is how people, in each of these, meet Jesus. John the Revelator sees Jesus as he is in Heaven, which is not something we’re at all able to comprehend. And is also kind of scary, I mean, everyone’s always throwing themselves at his feet and stuff, how do you approach the divine ruler of the universe, the Word that started it all? Saul only saw a little bit of that glory, and it blinded him, and then caused him to 180 his life and march calmly into prison and off to death.
And then there’s the Jesus of the Gospel. Who sits and shoots the breeze with his buddies. Who’s the same guy worthy to open the seals and whose mere presence is too much for mere mortals. Brings lunch.
It’s pretty wild, isn’t it?