Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Lent Day 29: WIGIAT? Tearing Robes

Each day during Lent I am updating my blog around the theme of WIGIAT? or Where is God in all this?

This Sunday, we will be reading the entirety of Matthew's Passion in worship. Did you know, that in Matthew's version of the persecution, death, and resurrection of Christ, he goes before the High Priest, named Caiaphas? And, that when Caiaphas has finally heard enough to accuse Jesus of blaspheming that he tears his own robes?

Albrect Duhrer
I'm sure I've heard this story and narrative many times, but this detail has never really stuck out to me, nor have I ever really thought about what it means. In the last couple of days though, this part of the story, and the image of Caiaphas responding to this exchange: Then the high priest said to him, ‘I put you under oath before the living God, tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.’ Jesus said to him, ‘You have said so. But I tell you, From now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.’  has been much more vivid in my head. This is because I've seen a lot of picture of Caiaphas lately, while I've been putting together a slideshow to display while I read the Passion on Sunday. In these pictures, Caiaphas is always shown tearing his robe, which we might miss in our hearing, but which really stands out when we see it.

While Caiaphas tearing his clothes has some minor significance, what is even more significant is how much seeing something visually helped me to notice a detail that I didn't pay attention to in either hearing or reading the text. This is where God is, in all of our senses and ways of experiencing things and in the ever expanding perspective...and empathy that this gives to us. Too often, we as Lutherans hear the phrase, sola scriptura, or word alone, and think this is only referring to words on a page. The word of God comes to us not only in words, but through all the ways that we sense the world around us; whether it comes in the form of for the Bible tells me so, taste and see that the Lord is good, or let my prayer rise like incense. 

Simon Bening

God comes to us in many diverse ways, always enriching our life through ever expanding perspectives.

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