WAYNEPARK.COM

Pastor, Writer, Contemplative

Archive for Theology

Holy Week Good Friday: Stepping Out Of The Cave

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GOOD FRIDAY, April 18

Mark 10:50 Throwing aside his cloak, he jumped up and came to Jesus. 51 And answering him, Jesus said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” And the blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!” 52 And Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road.

There were three prisoners in a cave. Facing the wall, they knew nothing of the outside world, only the dancing shadows on the wall cast by the light of the fire behind them. This was their reality. Until a liberator came, to free them from their chains, to turn and face the reality outside the cave. The first prisoner refused, “Are you mad? This is reality right here!” And he never averted his gaze from the wall. The second prisoner stirred as he heard the voice of the liberator. But he just could not tear his gaze away from the transfixing images on the wall. The third prisoner looked away just long enough for the liberator to capture his attention: “There is another world out there, far more real than this – ” to which the noble prisoner responded “then take me there, I want to see.”

Blind Bartimaeus’ request in verse 51: “Rabboni, I want to regain my sight” is eerily contrastive amidst so much pervasive and self-deluding blindness in these recent passages in Mark. James and John don’t get it. Neither do the disciples in their failed attempts at exorcism. Even Peter seems to miss the mark, with an answer so close yet so far. Bartimaeus seems to be the only one to admit he cannot see in the first place.

Poor, blind, and noble Bartimaeus. Who wants to regain sight. He is the first to tear his gaze from the wall. The first to step out of the cave. Even “throws aside” his possessions for it (his cloak… contrast this with the rich young ruler prior). “I want to regain my sight.” How often are we willing to make such an admission? We are too often, too snugly know-it-alls. God grant us the grace to see we need to regain something. Grace. Love. Understanding. Faith. Sight. Humility.

Last thought.

Jesus says it again. “What do you want Me to do for you?” That’s not a coincidence. I think the wording is deliberately chosen there, echoing vs. 36 previously. And all this time He has been talking about how “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (vs. 45).

Two postures to take with us into Good Friday, as we keep our vigil by the side of the cross: 1: a desire to see / regain sight, and 2: a servant posture asking, “What do you want me to do for you?”

– PW


This Holy Week, we at Harvest will be bringing to you daily reflections from Pastor Wayne’s study through Mark to aid you in your own personal reflection and prayers throughout this last week of Lent. If you are in the Houston area, join us for EASTER SUNDAY at Harvest at 9:30am!

 

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What Happens When A Pet Dies (and other theological / philosophical reflections)

As part of my ongoing reflections from my accident, surgery, hospitalization, and recovery, I shared a few reflections on “Postcards From the Edge” and waxed philosophical in thoughts about life, death, the hereafter, the intermediate state, and the resurrection. I cited a story I read on Facebook, posted by a now-anonymous friend – for the life of me, I can’t remember who, but if it is you, please don’t be offended – about a young girl whose dog passes away. Now this is not me being cynical as I have both a young daughter and an aging dog:

*daughter not included

so I truthfully enjoyed this story… UNTIL the last part: Read the rest of this entry »

#GODonFILM: Making Sense of KUNG FU PANDA

I was really embarrassed to announce that as part of our GODonFilM series we were covering Kung Fu Panda 2. But there are some merits:

  1. The theme of technology vs. spirit (i.e., Kung Fu being outmoded by the cannon – the precursor to the gun). So the question is, can something as spiritual / mystical as kung fu stop a speeding bullet? Is technology a contaminant to the purity of spirit? Should we all stop blogging and abandon twitter? Alas, I don’t go here in my talk.
  2. It IS the first movie directed by an Asian-American woman. The perspectival change is already evident between KFP 1 and KFP 2.
  3. Themes of predestination and fate: Evil Lord Shen is told a panda would one day lead to his demise. So the question for you thinkers is; would befriending or eradicating all pandas alter his destiny at all? Is it in any way avoidable / redeemable?
  4. Biblical genocide in true Herodian fashion. ***SPOILER*** of course, Shen, being consummate evil (because he is played by Gary Oldman) goes the genocidal rout. Destroy all Pandas… but of course one survives. How original.
  5. Po wrestles with “daddy issues” (or lack of)

So how did I whip up a sermon out of this?

I chose to look at another family drama played out between two brothers, Joseph and Judah over the course of 14 chapters in Genesis 37 to 50. I wouldn’t say the parallels are precise, but the unfolding family dramas in KFP2 hearken to some of the dysfunctionalities in Israel’s line. I know that’s overreaching but – well worth exploring.

What resulted was a sermon inspired by Robert Alter‘s (Berkeley) narrative critical approach to the Judah / Tamar story wedged in between the larger Joseph framework (what some technical folks call framing, or inclusio, or sandwiching). Here’s a link to the talk.

What delights me is that this sets us up for next week’s talk on the Tree of Life perfectly. So get ready for Joseph / Judah part II this upcoming Sunday.