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Welcome to “read the Bible – expand your mind:”
This blog has three main themes. The first is that God will accept anyone. (John 6:37.) The second is that God wants us to live lives of abundance. (John 10:10.) The third is that God wants us to do even greater miracles than Jesus did. (John 14:12.)
And this thought ties them together:
In the meantime:
Today is officially the Second Sunday of Easter.
Note the “of,” rather than “after.” That’s because Easter is “not just one day, but an entire season.” It’s a full season of 50 days – called Eastertide – that runs from Easter Sunday to Pentecost. (See Frohliche Ostern, which includes the image at left.)
So while today is technically the first Sunday after Easter, it is better known as the Second Sunday of Easter. Actually, it’s really better known as Low Sunday. That’s mostly because church attendance falls off so drastically that first Sunday “after.” (Compared with the high attendance of Easter Day. See also “CEOs;” i.e., Christians who only go to church on Christmas and Easter.)
You could also call this day the “Sunday of Many Names.” For example, it’s known as “Doubting Thomas Sunday.” That’s mostly because the Gospel lesson always tells the story of the disciple Thomas. (See e.g. John 20:19-31, “which recounts the story of Christ appearing to the Apostle Thomas in order to dispel the latter’s doubt about the Resurrection.” Which made him in essence the original – the prototype – “Doubting Thomas.”)
Finally, it’s known as “Quasimodo Sunday.” But that’s not because of Quasimodo, the guy – shown at right – who is better known as the “Hunchback of Notre Dame:”
Instead, the name comes from a Latin translation of the beginning of First Peter 2:2 , a traditional “introit” used in churches on this day. First Peter 2:2 begins – in English and depending on the translation – “As newborn babes, desire the rational milk without guile…” [Or, “pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.”] In Latin the verse reads: “Quasi modo geniti infantes…” Literally, “quasi modo means ‘as if in [this] manner.’”
Since “geniti” translates as “newborn” and the translation of “infantes” seems self-evident, the “quasi modo” in question roughly translates, “As if in the manner” (of newborn babes)… And incidentally, that character in The Hunchback of Notre-Dame was named after the opening words of First Peter 2:2. (See The Bible – Lectionary Musings and Color Commentary, and also First musings – The readings for “Doubting Thomas” Sunday, both from April 24, 2014).
As Wikipedia noted, a doubting Thomas is “a skeptic who refuses to believe without direct personal experience, a reference to the Apostle Thomas, who refused to believe that the resurrected Jesus had appeared to the ten other apostles, until he could see and feel the wounds received by Jesus on the cross.”
Aside from the posts noted above, I’ve written about this disciple in Doubting Thomas – and Peter Restored, and Doubting Thomas’ “passage to India.” The “Passage to India” post noted that according to tradition, Thomas became a missionary who traveled to India. That is, he sailed to India in the year 52 AD, to spread the Christian faith:
According to tradition, St. Thomas was killed in 72 AD[, possibly] at Mylapore near Chennai in India… This is the earliest known record of his martyrdom.. Some Patristic literature state[s] that St. Thomas died a martyr, in east of Persia or in North India by the wounds of the four spears pierced into his body by the local soldiers.
Which is what the painting at the top of the page shows. Put another way, in his travels Thomas “ultimately reached India, carrying the Faith to the Malabar Coast” – shown at right in red, on the southwestern coast of India – “which still boasts a large native population calling themselves ‘Christians of St. Thomas.’”
On the other hand, the Peter Restored post addressed the question: If you doubt and question your faith – like Thomas did – will that faith actually grow stronger?
In other words, how do we as Christians deal with our doubts?
The theme of this post is that – for boot-camp Christians – the answer is simple: You shouldn’t have any doubts. In other words, you should “blindly believe.” But for the rest of us there’s another answer, and that answer ultimately provides a stronger Christian faith:
Remember Thomas, the disciple, who wouldn’t believe in Christ’s resurrection until he put his hand into Jesus’s wounds. He went on to die spreading the gospel in Persia and India. God gave us free choice, He doesn’t want us to be robots, He could have made us like that, but wanted us to choose for ourselves. You learn and grow by questioning. (E.A.)
And by doing that you’ll probably end up – spiritually anyway – like the kindly, gentle, learned disciple shown in the painting below. (Another view of St. Thomas by Peter Paul Rubens.) And that’s the kind of disciple who could convert people to Christianity even in a continent made up of Hindus and Muslims; that is, an otherwise unfertile continent for conversion, yet “which still boasts a large native population calling themselves ‘Christians of St. Thomas.’”
Which brings up The True Test of Faith. Somehow Thomas seemed to have the kind of faith that – even if he ultimately found that the whole “Jesus thing” was a hoax – he’d still end up saying, at the end of his life, “You know, I wouldn’t change a thing.”
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St. Thomas by Peter Paul Rubens…
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Re: “Low Sunday.” See Why Attendance Will Be Low This Sunday, and also Low Sunday | Article about Low Sunday by The Free Dictionary.
The Wikipedia caption for the image of Quasimodo reads: “Esmeralda gives a drink to Quasimodo in one of Gustave Brion‘s illustrations.”
Re Introit. Merriam-Webster defines it as either “the first part of the traditional proper of the Mass consisting of an antiphon, verse from a psalm, and the Gloria Patri,” or a “piece of music sung or played at the beginning of a worship service.” The Gloria Patri generally goes like this: “Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, and now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.”
Re: “Both from April 24, 2014.” I apparently published two separate posts on the same topic.
The lower image is courtesy of Peter Paul Rubens: St Thomas – Art and the Bible.
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As noted in the opening blurb, this blog has three main themes. The first is that God will accept anyone. (John 6:37.) The second is that God wants us to live abundantly. (John 10:10.) The third is that God wants us to do even greater miracles than Jesus did. (John 14:12).
A fourth main theme is that the only way to do all that is read the Bible with an open mind:
…closed-mindedness, or an unwillingness to consider new ideas, can result from the brain’s natural dislike for ambiguity. According to this view, the brain has a “search and destroy” relationship with ambiguity and evidence contradictory to people’s current beliefs tends to make them uncomfortable… Research confirms that belief-discrepant-closed-minded persons have less tolerance for cognitive inconsistency…
So in plain words, this blog takes issue with boot-camp Christians. They’re the Biblical literalists who never go “beyond the fundamentals.” But the Bible can offer so much more than their narrow reading can offer… (Unless you want to stay a Bible buck private all your life…)
Now, about “Boot-camp Christians.” See for example, Conservative Christian – “Career buck private?” The gist of that post is that starting the Bible is like Army Basic Training. You begin by “learning the fundamentals.” But after boot camp, you want to move on to more Advanced Individual Training.
Also, and as noted in “Career buck private,” I’d previously written that the theme of this blog was that if you really wanted to be all that you can be, you need to go on and explore the “mystical side of Bible reading.*”
In other words, exploring the mystical side of the Bible helps you “be all that you can be.” See also Slogans of the United States Army – Wikipedia, re: the recruiting slogan from 1980 to 2001. The related image above left is courtesy of: “toywonders.com/productcart/pc/catalog/aw30.jpg.”
* Re: “mystical.” As originally used, mysticism “referred to the Biblical liturgical, spiritual, and contemplative dimensions of early and medieval Christianity.” See Mysticism – Wikipedia, and the post On originalism. (“That’s what the Bible was originally about!”)
For an explanation of the Daily Office – where “Dorscribe” came from – see What’s a DOR?