Early in the year 2020 BC, our pastor was preaching on the importance of community, of being in a small group, etc. He talked about the things a lifegroup (the official 121 nomenclature for small groups) did together, starting with being in the Word together. And then, as he is wont to do, he went off-script. “Maybe you’re uncomfortable studying the Bible, maybe you’d like to learn to study the Bible. We could start a How to Study Your Bible life group!” And then he went on with the rest of his sermon.
Knowing how these things went, I checked in at the office after the service.
I live in a fairy-tale land, a land where logic and mathematics and common sense were banished long ago. A land where the impossible is possible, where certainty is forever uncertain, where the probable is very unlikely.
I live in the land of the Dallas Cowboys.
The land was not always this way. Long ago, when dinosaurs and a fedora roamed the earth, the Cowboys were in the NFC championship game 10 out of 13 years. They set the record for most consecutive winning seasons at 20, a record that still stands, at least until next year. They played in a stadium with a hole in its roof so God could see His team play, or so the saying went.
From the “it’s always something” department…
Southern Baptist pastor Grady Arnold submitted a resolution to the SBC (Southern Baptist Commission) this past week calling upon the SBC to “decry and reject the terms and framework of social justice,” that they “avoid the terms ‘social justice’,” and several other things.
The second sentence in the resolution contains this:
Whereas social justice by definition is based on anti-biblical and destructive concepts of Marxist ideology
Let’s take a tour and see how “anti-biblical” this justice thing is. (All emphasis mine.)
In church circles, hand-raisers are those who often express their worship by raising their hands. There are a large variety of hand-raisers, and others have covered those varieties much better than I could; e.g. this Tim Hawkins video gives you a quick rundown. (Hawkins is a comedian who happens to be a Christian, which is an entirely different, and much funnier, thing than a Christian comedian. See also Micheal Jr.)
Moses had some hand-raising friends, too, but of a completely different kind.
In Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Tom Stoppard followed in the footsteps of W.S. Gilbert1 before him and wrote a play in which two minor characters from Hamlet are the lead actors. Like much of Stoppard’s work, it is absurdist in nature, but is still pretty funny if one is familiar with the source play.
Today we’re taking a page from Mr. Stoppard and looking a little closer at one our minor characters from last time. This disciple uttered the line we examined in the second half of that post, but we know him for something quite different.
The story of Lazarus (John 11) is justifiably famous — it’s not often a dead guy walks out of his tomb several days after moving in (so to speak).
The story of the early days of the church from Acts 2 is also famous — it’s not often you hear guys spouting things in languages they’ve never learned.
Today we’re going to do a mash-up — we’re going to look at community, but we’re going to do it using Lazarus' story as our backdrop.