But There’s More

John 24:13-35 – The third Sunday of Easter – for April 30, 2017

“He said to them, ‘What are you talking about as you walk along?’ They stopped, their faces downcast.” (John 24:17)

Caravaggio’s Supper at Emmaus

It was a mundane phrase that unexpectedly felt the most appealing and revealing to me.

In the midst of the magnificent “road to Emmaus” passage, after Jesus joined the two melancholy disciples, but before either recognized him as the risen Christ, they tell this “stranger” what had just occurred in Jerusalem. Cleopas and his never-named companion chattered about Jesus and his “deeds and words.” They told about the religious and political leaders despicable, fatal reactions toward the Nazarene.

Then a phrase was used (by the Common English Bible, or CEB) during their anguished account of the worst story of their lives. Cleopas or the other, maybe dramatically pausing, maybe collecting his thoughts, or maybe rushing the flowing stream of explanations, said,

But there’s more . . .

In the modern New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) and the venerable King James Version (KJV), the English translation for the opening of verse 22 is a similar, “Yes and besides all this . . .” The sturdy, popular New International Version (NIV) chooses the simple, “In addition . . .”

I prefer the CEB’s But there’s more . . .

Lazy or cranky, I have little interest in slogging through one of my old seminary tomes for the original Greek. Please, if you do (or if you’ve bookmarked a snazzy website for searching your geeky Greeky queries), I look forward to learning from your eager endeavors.

I’ll stick with the translations.

I’ll stick with what has stuck with me as I read (again) about Emmaus and wonder (again) about my tenuous faith. Continue reading →

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Blindsided

Acts 9:1-20 – Third Sunday of Easter – for April 10, 2016

“After they picked Saul up from the ground, he opened his eyes but he couldn’t see. So they led him by the hand into Damascus…” (Acts 9:8)

What horse?
Caravaggio’s “Conversion on the Way to Damascus”

Back* in 2009, The Blind Side made wheelbarrows of money and garnered Sandra Bullock an Oscar. I recently watched it again. The film’s title refers to a football team’s need to protect a quarterback’s blind side. Nasty things can happen when a quarterback focuses on a receiver while an unseen opponent approaches to thwart the play.

But it’s more than a football phrase.

There’s still Survivor, the ancient reality show. Contestants fret about blindsides. When—not if—will another player stab them in the proverbial back? Promises will be tossed under a bus . . . or the nearest coconut tree.

Years ago—yes, I recall the exact date—a United Methodist District Superintendent called to say I’d be moving to a different church. Nothing like answering the phone near bedtime to learn your whole world has been upended. He and I never got along. But he possessed the bureaucratic power to rearrange my future. Call me blindsided.

Have you been blindsided? Hasn’t everyone experienced a “bad” thing that unexpectedly caused havoc? Continue reading →

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