The Chair and the Desk, 10/19/15

From the chair:

As Jesus went, the people pressed around him. 43 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. 44 She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. 45 And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” 46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” 47 And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. 48 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

-Luke 8:42b-48

I can’t really imagine being this woman: In pain, embarrassed, excluded, overlooked. She must have feared the glares and barks she had to endure to sneak up to Jesus. Her heart must have stopped when the commotion did. What could have gone through her mind when she looked up to see Jesus–and now everyone–looking right at her? Yet, she was healed. This woman who no one else would acknowledge, Jesus calls her daughter. This woman who no one else would touch, Jesus praises the faith she showed by touching him; he says, “your faith has made you well.” Had she made a fool of herself? Jesus didn’t want her to think so: “Go in peace.” She did go in peace, and this woman no one wanted has become an example of the faith we all want to find.

From the desk:

“While watching the “JESUS” film in the forest region of Guinea, West Africa, audiences are reported to have understood Jesus as a successful traditional priest or marabout. From their cultural context it is obvious to them that Jesus keeps his fetishes, from which he draws his powers, in the bag he carries with him (Wiher 1997:70).”

-Opening line from Johannes Merz’ “Translation and the Visual Predicament of the Jesus Film in West Africa,” Missiology 38.2, April 1, 2010: 111-126

I haven’t gotten to read through this article yet (I filed it away as a great lead for a paper I’m hoping to write later this semester), but the opening sentence captured my imagination more than anything I’ve read today. I don’t think this story means that we should deride The Jesus Film or despair of translating the gospel, but it does mean that we need Guinean brothers and sisters to reach Guineans. They have knowledge necessary for the advance of the gospel that no one else in the world can offer–something that could perhaps be said for you and your country or even you and your neighborhood, workplace, or family.

“The chair” is the one Annie aptly chose for the corner of our living room, and it’s where I am committed to daily hearing from God’s Word–the Word I above all else hope to speak to others. “The desk” is the one by my coffee grounds and spare charger (if I get to the library early enough); it’s where I have the privilege of reading and thinking all day, where I intend to learn for others’ sake.

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