Friday, November 08, 2013

How To Do It

If words are a stain on the silence, sometimes pictures are, too.

The interesting thing about this photo and the scripture they chose to accompany it, is that it fits perfectly with modern Biblical scholars' understanding of the healings of Jesus.  Those acts are, in the Synoptics, dunamis, displays of power.  A display of power might well be a complete violation of the laws of nature; or it might be, the scholars argue, a complete violation of social rules of power.

So the leper (a person with a disfigurement, not necessarily Hansen's Disease) could be cleansed simply by being recognized by the rabbi. (The argument seeks to preserve Jesus' uniqueness, not destroy it.  There were a lot of "faith healers" extant in 1st century Palestine.  If all Jesus did was cure disease, he'd have been a run-of-the-mill wandering minister.)  Isn't it stronger, the modern argument goes, to see Jesus accepting this outcast, this diseased person, as a human being, as fully human and fully deserving of our attention, even our love? (That notion of love will come back to us; it is paramount to understanding what we really see in that photo).

Could it be what we are seeing here is the very imitation of Jesus of Nazareth, if not indeed of the Christ?

Go, all of us, and do likewise.

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