What we don't see
Wonderfully thought provoking! This entire essay reminds me of my favorite Bible verse that hangs on my wall, from Hebrews 13, “Do not neglect hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing.”
I’ve carried this throughout my life and have sought to live it, but since moving to a new community with my disabled daughter a year before the pandemic, I’ve been made to feel like an outsider, and I struggle to live this anymore. My heart has hardened. With our nation growing ever more polarized by politics, and spreading from the sanctimonious pulpits to the pews and into the mainstream consciousness, we know many who are averting their eyes to protect their souls. But no more, please.
I’ve been seeking welcoming angels in other communities, and nurturing relationships with others who welcome my daughter and that has connected me to friends - old AND new in Colorado! And, it just so happens we’ll be in town to hear you speak Diana!❣️ I got our tickets for Saturday, and for the first time in years, I’m looking forward to sitting in the pews on Sunday ... hoping for hospitality for us as strangers and hoping to entertain new angels in our life! 🕊️👀💞
Good morning all, I am a painter and have loved Diego Velazquez work ever since the first time I saw Las Meninas in college. But I never realized what an insightful person of God he was! His painting is more wonderful every time I look at it with new eyes. And Denise's poem has helped me understand the wonder of the painting on a much deeper level. What a glorious mash-up of talent and insights!
Twice in Luke's story he links the resurrection to interpretation (i.e. midrash) of the scriptures. Some years ago I wrote a paper for the Pastor-theologian seminar sposored by the center of Theological Inquiry at Princeton. The paper was "According to the Scriptures: the Resurrection of Jesus as a Scriptural Event." Your mention of the "literary midrash" on the Velasquez painting reminded me that I still stand by that paper when thinking about the resurrection. It's on academia.edu, where it has recently been attracting attention, especially by people in the "developing world," which I find interesting.
I am not normally much of a poetry fan, but these two, especially the Levertov one, really spoke to me as did the painting. Possibly this is because the Road to Emmaus is one of my favorite Bible stories. I read it every Easter evening along with a brief passage from Eliot’s “The Wasteland” which relates to the story. Thank you DBB!
I like the kitchen maid poem. It resonates with me as I like to think of the second traveler to Emmaus as the wife or sister of Cleopas (not original with me), but the possibility fits with Jesus' inclusion of women, everyone, among those called to be his disciples.
I didn't connect at all with the poems....and I generally "get" poetry's multi-layered meanings, including spiritual ones. That said, the painting by Valesquez....which I'd neve seen or heard about...spoke more to me than either of the poems.
HOWEVER, this comment (related to DBB's worshipshops in Colorado Springs this coming week that was posted along with the poems) RANG ALL MY BELLS.
"Christianity did not begin with a confession (or, I thought as I read it, baptism or communion or promises of life eternal). It began with an invitation into friendship, into creating a new community, into forming relationships based on love and service."
- Diana Butler Bass
Friendship. Community. Relationships--with others of like mind/spirit...that's what the religious movement we now call Christianity began AS (rather than with, which also works).
I'm struggling to connect to/with/in a new church and her comment said more about what I'd call real, actual Christianity than all the evangelizing and promises of eternal life after death that I've been hearing/seeing at the new church.
THANK YOU SOOOOOO MUCH DBB for helping me see this light. Be Well
Dom Crossan once said that Emmaus probably didn't happen, yet it always happens! Seems we need to change what it is we're looking for: not a one time event in the first century, but when "resurrection" is always happening around us. Anytime someone acts for justice and freedom for the marginalized, it's there!
Both poems brought Christ to the presence of those talked about in the poems. I had not seen the painting by Velasques before and could almost feel what the young servant must have been feeling! Thanks you so very much!
Dear, dear Phyllis! She so graciously was instrumental in getting our d-i-law a teaching job at St. James Episcopal (elementary) School in Baton Rouge when our son was studying at LSU!! I still have the photo she sent me of some gig where she and Nadia Bolz-Weber exchanged the clothing they each were wearing that day. What a brilliant and hilarious lady. I miss her!
Thanks for sharing the painting by Velazquez.
Also, loved hearing Marcus Borg's take on the resurrection.
His 'Meeting Jesus Again' made a difference in my life.
Currently four young Afghan boys are spending a few days with us as their parents attend a funeral some distance away. How blessed we have been to help 10 Afghan families settle here in Norman OK.
They are Muslim and yet they care that love of Christ within. Always with kindness and breaking bread when we are together.
These fathers fought along side our soldiers and through their knowledge of the country saved many Americans. How honored we are yo welcome them here and assist in all possible ways.
We never know when Christ will come touching our lives with resurrection.
There's actually much more to the Velasquez painting than you mention here. There are two different versions of the painting, which were long understood to depict nothing more than a humble domestic scene of the painter's own era. It was not until 1933, when the version of the painting now located in Dublin was cleaned, that Jesus and the disciples became visible, revealing the painting's biblical subject matter. Suddenly, the maid was revealed to be doing more than just idly wiping a countertop: she's listening intently to Jesus, from an outsider's standpoint. The fact that Velasquez painted her as a social outsider from his own day -- a morisca, or "moor" of African origin -- is a powerful comment on the all-inclusive nature of the gospel. Denise Levertov was evidently aware of the story of the painting's cleaning and what it revealed. In her poem, she picks up on Velasquez's original intent to depict an outsider yearning for Jesus and imagines her thoughts as she eavesdrops on the good news: not daring to enter the room and sit at the table herself, but eager to hear nonetheless. It's a powerful visual message for a culture like our own that still has unhealthy ideas about race. Thanks for sharing this wonderful material!
As always, I love your Sunday sharings. The poems, followed by the photo and painting , were powerful. Marcus Borg is my hero too, and now I'm inspired to read Tickle
I just finished watching your conversation with Tripp. What a great way to start a Sunday morning. I have only seen some videos of both Phyllis Tickle and Marcus Borg, but I have always thought they would be two people that would be great to have as mentors and friends. They appeared to be so genuine in their faith and the struggles that come with it.
This magnificent metaphor for our shared life-journey with the Christ resonates. God is present in all of his on-going creation and the ups and downs of my existence is a predicament only adequately mediated through THE PRESENCE.
Carroll Ray Steiner
We never come to know
never for sure
but it doesn't
The heart burned
but it grew chilly
Is it Him
He remains silent
Is it You
There is just bread
hands and a gesture
The face always different
always a new face
The evening is drawing near
and the day bows
It's the time of rest
water wine bread
Why didn't you ask directly
didn't seize His legs
didn't hold His hands
didn't tie shadow to bench
We stand thus
who didn't get to Emmaus
our arms heavy
Was it Him
The night swept away the traces
Let us ever more quickly
carry to the others
the certainty of doubt
by Anna Kamienska