Monday, June 14, 2010

John 11 -- Because He loved them, He neglected them

A friend of mine wrote an article about a 70's book with the intriguing title The Gospel According to Superman. You can click this link to read it. The human characters in the Superman story could always count on the Man of Steel to swoop in to their rescue when summoned. As the book's writer pointed out, however, none of these supporting characters demonstrated any personal growth over the decades of the saga.

Bryan Davis, a software engineer and home-schooling father of seven, launched into a new career as a young-adult fantasy novelist. He offers free writer's workshops around the country for fans and other aspiring wordsmiths. (yes, you can also buy copies of his books from a table in the back!) When you are writing a "hero's quest," Davis explained, the story starts with an aspiring hero, and a mentor. At some point, however, the mentor disappears from the scene. Obi Wan Kenobi dies. Gandalf fails to show up for his appointment. There is a reason for this standard feature: the hero needs to put what he has learned into practice, rather than continuously and thoughtlessly following the mentor's advice.

Bob Mumford, a wise teacher, gave the example of a baby learning to walk. He balances unsteadily on his two feet, looks at a parent holding out an encouraging hand, ponders his options ... then drops to all fours and crawls to the parent, big smile on face, anticipating approval. There are times when we need to grow up, do something new, accept a little more responsibility. Times when the familiar activities no longer suffice.

Sometimes in life, everything is working just as it should. All the pieces are falling into place. Time after time, in an uncanny way, providential encounters move the story along. Man, I could live like this forever!

Then, the sequence of adventures diverges from the anticipated script. The pollock is put in a round room and told to sit in the corner.[1] "Burnout," they say in "the helping professions," happens when prolonged and serious effort fails to bring about the anticipated result, the reward you were doing it all for. The aftermath of this bruising collision with reality can be profound depression -- and a renewed appreciation for John 11:
Joh 11:1 Meryem ile kızkardeşi Marta'nın köyü olan Beytanya'dan Lazar adında bir adam hastalanmıştı.
Joh 11:2 Meryem, Rab'be güzel kokulu yağ sürüp saçlarıyla O'nun ayaklarını silen kadındı. Hasta Lazar ise Meryem'in kardeşiydi.
Joh 11:3 İki kızkardeş İsa'ya, "Rab, sevdiğin kişi hasta" diye haber gönderdiler.
Joh 11:4 İsa bunu işitince, "Bu hastalık ölümle sonuçlanmayacak; Tanrı'nın yüceliğine, Tanrı Oğlu'nun yüceltilmesine hizmet edecek" dedi.
Joh 11:5 İsa Marta'yı, kızkardeşini ve Lazar'ı severdi.
Joh 11:6,7 Bu nedenle, Lazar'ın hasta olduğunu duyunca bulunduğu yerde iki gün daha kaldıktan sonra öğrencilere, "Yahudiye'ye dönelim" dedi.
Two sisters and a brother, probably orphans, were friends of Jesus. He and his entourage enjoyed the hospitality of this home from time to time. As it tells us in 11:5, İsa Marta'yı, kızkardeşini ve Lazar'ı severdi. (Jesus Martha, her sister, and Lazarus loved). For this reason (Bu nedenle,), two days more delay afterward to his disciples, "to Judea I return" he said.

The Turkish word kızkardeşini is interesting. kardeş means brother or sister. Prefix it with kız to indicate female sibling, add the possessive suffix in, and the direct object suffix i, and there it is!

While Jesus was out of the picture, Lazarus died. Those who had expected more of their friend were heartbroken, devastated. The sorrow of his friends was so intense that, when he arrived, İsa ağladı. Yet the end result of all this distress was a greater miracle than anyone expected.


[1] Half my genetics came from Slavic immigrants, so I can use a pollock joke! Actually, it's in the form of a riddle. The question is: "How do you drive a pollock crazy?"

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