Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Scriptural Curiousities

So .... my teaching methodology often consists of the highly esteemed system of "Talk off the top of your head, make stuff up, and hope that it's right" .... which, in my case, fortunately enough, is generally coming from pretty good instinct, so I tend to surprise myself with how not off-base I am much of the time.

Anyway, two things in the last couple days struck me as a "Hmmm" -- after, of course, I said, "It's kinda like ____" and so I'm wondering if any of the more educated RevGals could help me out in my clueless conjecturing.

The first came out of a question from one of my kids about Jesus getting lost in the Temple; when I went to read the story to them, I was struck by the fact that Jesus was lost for three days ..... any significance to that, parallels to his time in the tomb, etc.? Parents looking for him, disciples looking for him .... his seeing absolutely nothing wrong with where he is and what he's doing when they finally find him ..... being about "my father's business" ....

The other one occurred when I was talking about John the Baptist and asked the kids what John's response was to Jesus' request for baptism. As I was then explaining it to them -- how John didn't feel worthy to baptize Jesus, that Jesus should be baptizing him, etc. -- I then said: "It's kind of like at the Last Supper, when Jesus was washing the disciples' feet, and Peter argues with Jesus saying that it should work the other way around." After letting those words escape my mouth, I immediately thought, "Hmmm .... I wonder if there is any connection to those two stories."

Maybe a handing-on of the legacy? John the Baptist was seen by some as the Messiah; he was proclaiming the coming of Christ; he then serves Christ. Christ delievers his message to the world, then serves Peter, who is seen to be the father of the church, who carries the message of Jesus to the world?

Or am I just making things up? I have to admit, I'm usually pretty talented at making stuff up that sounds really good .... but on some occasions, I'd like to have some basis for what I'm saying. Although the kids are getting used to me starting off an answer with, "I might be making this up, but I seem to remember hearing something about ....."

So ..... anyone got some wisdom to offer?


Blogger Songbird said...

I guess it depends on the type of interpretation you apply to the scriptures, Steph. The birth narratives and Luke's story of Jesus in the temple are probably (according to some scholars) the inventions of the authors, rather than stories that were handed down from contemporary accounts. Luke's story both gives us a sense of Jesus as a person (a kid who frightens his parents) and as God (the days missing foreshadow the days in the tomb).
In the case of John and the later footwashing scene in the gospel of John, I'd be less inclined to draw a direct connection. John's declarations (similar in all four gospels) are about downplaying his own importance. Jesus' act is about declaring what his importance really is, that he will give himself for humanity despite the fact that, as Peter sees, Christ is really over and above us.
I think exploring those connections with kids, even if you later wonder if the connections were really present (!) is a fantastic way to interact with them. It invites them to examine the texts rather than handing down a meaning from the heights. I think that's what Jesus was about.
But also remember this comes from an ordained woman in the Free Church tradition who doesn't spend a lot of time pondering the Apostolic Succession!!

10/11/2005 1:32 PM  
Blogger xaipe said...

Well, John did say he was not worthy to loosen Jesus' sandlestraps (Jn. 1:27)... That this appears in John and not simply the synoptics has got to be significant.
Actually, a friend of mine did a paper on the sandlestraps/friend of the bridegroom texts and demonstrated, in a fairly satisfactory manner, than John was not so much protesting humility as indicating that he did not have the right to the "bride." (Remember the story of Obed and Ruth, and how the next-in-line for Ruth took off his sandal as a way of surrendering his right to marry her?)
And Jesus' washing of feet, coming so soon after the experience (if we take John as a whole) of having his own feet washed by Mary in Bethany--quite an intimate gesture. Again, not "humility" but relationship.

10/21/2005 9:36 PM  

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