On this 5th Sunday of Easter we begin reading the Gospel of John, from chapters 1-7. But before we get into reading this fourth, unusual, not synoptic gospel, let’s step back just for a moment to get a little context about John’s place within the Gospels and the NT canon. As L. Michael White remarks, “…the story (or history) of the composition and formation of each individual Gospel can be understood by the way successive generations of these early followers of Jesus who created them attempted to tell the story about him. Each new phase of telling about Jesus reflects, not only their beliefs about him, but also new situations and conditions in the development of Christianity itself. In telling the story, they also told about themselves.” (p. 13) Of the Gospel of John in particular, he writes, “The audience, for its part, has been asked to suspend historical judgment for a moment and enter the fictive world being created by the author’s new narrative. … The ‘truth’ of the author’s account lies not in the events themselves – much less in claims about history – but in the message that is being created.” (p. 31)
Some biblical texts, including the Gospel of John, may play with historical events in such a way that gets at greater truth than that which is achieved with historical fact alone. Have you ever encountered this in modern writing? Where? And what was the greater truth achieve by that writing?
This week we read Part 3, “Managing Your Fears,” Chapter 5, “The Problem You Think You’re Solving” of the T+P+A Big Read 2019, The Lifelong Activist. Rettig encourages us to think of procrastination not as a failure of motivation, willpower, discipline, commitment, or another character flaw, but instead as another hidden issue that could be related to learning disability, teaching failure, environmental problem or distraction (such as chaotic family life), and thus encourages us to seek a deeper cause of our procrastination.
C’mon over to People of the Books, our online book club in which we discuss this book and whatever else is on your mind or heart!
We continue praying through Phyllis Tickle’s The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime: A Manual for Prayer, with “the Sunday closest to May 18”. How is your practice of praying the divine hours going?
Check out the Find Your FBCO Map to find your local faith-based community organizing affiliate and connect with the people who are working together to live out their dreams of a more just world! What’s going on in your living of the Gospel? Let us know in the comments, in our e-mail discussion group, or on social media.
- Brussat, Frederic and Mary Ann. “Easter: Resurrection as a Spiritual Practice,” March 28, 2013.
- ExploreFaith.org. “The Divine Hours: A Complete Guide to the Ancient Practice of Fixed-Hour Prayer,” accessed May 6, 2019. http://www.explorefaith.org/prayer/prayer/fixed/index.php
- Luther Seminary. “Enter the Bible,” n.d. http://www.enterthebible.org/.
- Patterson, Stephen. Beyond the Passion: Rethinking the Life and Death of Jesus. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2004.
- Rettig, Hillary. “The Problem You Think You’re Solving” in The Lifelong Activist: How to Change the World Without Losing Your Way. New York, NY: Lantern Books, 2006.
- Tickle, Phyllis. The Divine Hours (Volume Three): Prayers for Springtime: A Manual for Prayer. New York: Image Books, 2016.
- White, L. Michael. Scripting Jesus: The Gospels in Rewrite. San Francisco: Harper Collins, 2010.