2nd Peter (1) Acts (4) Genesis (2) Hebrews (1) Isaiah (1) Jeremiah (1) Job (1) John (3) Luke (6) Matthew (2) Ruth (1)
I can’t help but wonder, friends, if the reason we can’t get away from the complexity of the trinity is that we are being called into the same. We are being given the holy mystery of God, revealed in the scriptures that our forebearers have compiled out of six millenia spent triangulating who God is and what God is like. So that we might be taught to be constant seekers, to be constant learners; so that we might never be compelled to think we have all the answers, but instead to hope for all the right questions; and so that we might instead be compelled to go out and humbly offer renewal to all the world around us.
That God of unity sends, at maybe one of the scariest moments of the disciples’ lives, heavenly beings to be in companionship with the disciples. That relational God charges the disciples to stay together, waiting for the power of God to come upon them. And as we’ll discuss next week in the Pentecost story, when they are together and the Holy Spirit descends upon them, it maybe starts to make sense why they were told to stay together, until—notice the qualifier, until—the Spirit comes. Almost like they’ll be prepared to go live lives of unity with people all across the world and in tons of different languages when the Spirit arrives.
Maybe “I believe you can raise the dead” feels too heavy for Martha right now. And that’s where this week’s reading cuts off. A few verses later, Mary has an interaction with Jesus that’s somewhat different, but still does not end in her explicitly believing Jesus will raise her brother from the dead. We know how it ends—we know Jesus resurrects Nazareth a few verses later. But if we imagine ourselves as Martha in this moment… Martha just knows her brother is dead. And that’s the most real thing to her right now.
At Bible Study on Tuesday, I was touched by how quickly folks caught on to what’s unique about this passage: the hypothetical in this story is not just a hypothetical about resurrection. It is a hypothetical that pre-supposes a patriarchal world where a woman’s job is to bear an heir for a man—even a deceased man to whom she is no longer married!—at just about any cost, even if it means being transferred from husband to brother-in-law to brother-in-law seven times over, like a family recipe book or trading card collection or something. Like property.