Saturday, July 17, 2010

John 20 -- things that go bump in the night

"Things that go bump in the night" is a wry cliche in English. As this site explains, it means "Frightening but imagined supernatural events." Apparently, this phrase comes from an incantation that was well-known in the Cornish region of western England a century ago:
From goulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night
Good Lord, deliver us!
A 19th century cynic and poet wrote,
From too much love of living, From hope and fear set free,
We thank with brief thanksgiving Whatever gods may be
That no life lives for ever; That dead men rise up never;
That even the weariest river Winds somewhere safe to sea.
Charles Algernon Swinburne does not sound like a happy camper,[1] now, does he? Fortunately for humanity, Swinburne was a pompous fool, and dead wrong about dead men. We know what lies on the other side of the grave, for One has been through death, come back to tell us about it, and lives still to assuage our fear of the final adventure we all must face.

Yet, when we read the gospels, they have nothing in common with the typical ghost story. Jesus does not "go bump in the night." He shows up in broad daylight, solid and exuberant with vibrant life. Catering a breakfast, and enjoying a snack himself. Sounds too good to be true? Thomas thought so:
Joh 20:25 Öbür öğrenciler ona, "Biz Rab'bi gördük!" dediler. Tomas ise, "O'nun ellerinde çivilerin izini görmedikçe, çivilerin izine parmağımla dokunmadıkça ve elimi böğrüne sokmadıkça inanmam" dedi.
Joh 20:26 Sekiz gün sonra İsa'nın öğrencileri yine evdeydiler. Tomas da onlarla birlikteydi. Kapılar kapalıyken İsa gelip ortalarında durdu, "Size esenlik olsun!" dedi.
Joh 20:27 Sonra Tomas'a, "Parmağını uzat" dedi, "Ellerime bak, elini uzat, böğrüme koy. İmansız olma, imanlı ol!"
Joh 20:28 Tomas O'na, "Rabbim ve Tanrım!" diye yanıtladı.
Joh 20:29 İsa, "Beni gördüğün için mi iman ettin?" dedi. "Görmeden iman edenlere ne mutlu!"
The last sentence in the bottom line. Tomas saw and believed -- but how much more blessed are those of us who have not (yet) seen the risen Jesus, but still believe in Him.


[1] "Happy camper" is another sarcastic cliche, and refers to artificial, coerced cheerfulness. The idiom is rooted in summer camps where children would spend a week, or longer, away from their families and sometimes desperately homesick. The adult camp counselors demanded cheerful dispositions, and required their charges to be "happy campers."

No comments: