Reading the Bible in Time-Available Cultures

"Maybe he was showing his confidence" said the student, in reference to our Bible discussion on Jesus' raising of Lazarus from the dead.

We work with a lot of students from time-available cultures.  The show up late to things and stay late at things.  They mean no disrespect and don't think a lot about when they get places.

I'm like this sometimes too.  Sometimes, I get wrapped up in a conversation or a meeting and time escapes me.  Hours can fly by and I don't notice.

But I'm not always like this.  Sometimes the ticking of the clock rings in my ears.

And that's a tension that shows up in the Gospel of John's account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.  Jesus waits two days after finding out that Lazarus is sick and appears in no hurry to work his miracle.

To my time-limited, tick tock tick tock tick tock side, his behavior is maddening.

But my time-available student was right, but taking his time, Jesus did display an extreme amount of confidence.  He didn't rush around like a slave and so he, as the Master of Time, was able to serve those trapped in the clutches of Time.

As the Master of Time, he was always on time.  The right time for Jesus to be somewhere was when he was somewhere.  Remember our analogical circle of predication and run the right way around it.

I think my time-available friend picked up on something important, something I might have glossed over.  Jesus does seem to move through the world a lot like my Latino, Haitian, and African students ... confidently and trustingly going from place to place, fully available and not mentally off someplace else, never in a hurry.

What would it take for us to go and do likewise?

1 comment:

  1. This immediately made me thing of Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings movie, "A wizard is never late, nor is he early, he arrives precisely when he means to."

    The thing I like about the perspective on Jesus that you and your student are suggesting is the intentionality. He's not late because he was too busy, or lost track of time, or just forgot. Instead, he is completely invested in the moment that is immediately set before him.

    I tend to have a somewhat flexible relationship with time, though I can't justify it through my culture or heritage :) But I don't know if it especially honoring to the people around me or to God.

    Thanks for the food for thought.

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