April 27, 2014
“Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book.” (John 20:30)
I am from Bibleland.
Okay, not really, but I did grow up in a portion of the South where people went out of their way to let you know they were “Bible-believers” and, “the Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it,” was always a useful way to end, and possibly win, an argument. Even arguments about sports could have a biblical nature to them. Again, Bibleland natives, we were.
In such a world, if you wanted to know anything about Jesus, you went to the Bible, you opened the book, found the passage and quoted the verse. Then, you closed the book. While Jesus was freed from the tomb, he was, somehow, trapped in the book.
So, while no doubt today in many Episcopal pulpits the faithful gathered will either hear sermons taking Thomas to task for his unbelief or defending Thomas for his honest questions, I would love to be invited to wonder about the “other signs” that Jesus did which are not accounted for in any book, no matter how holy.
I love this verse and the way in which it points us beyond the Gospel narrative to a wider and wilder kind of Easter message. Imagine going to the biblical page in search of the risen Jesus only to discover—he’s not there! If you want to find him, close the book and open your eyes to the “other signs” that the Christ is performing in our midst, now, still, here.
The Gospel of St. John writer will emphasize this again at the end of the Gospel account when it is confessed “that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” if all the actions of Jesus were captured in words on printed page.
How big is Easter? Thanks be to God, the Easter message is bigger than any book, no matter how holy! We live in Easter now, when the risen Christ continues to offer signs that point us into an ever expanding resurrected Life. Easter is too big to be completely captured in words.
Where are the “other signs” of the risen Jesus in your community? Through photography or poetry or sketch or prose, add these present signs to the Good News we already share and share them – on social media, with your friends, whatever space can share the Good News.