Late Night Lectionary Reflection: Fourth Sunday of Easter

I’m immersed in mimetic anthropology this week while writing my term paper (which I should be working on instead of blogging, so this will be brief), so these themes jumped out at me from the weekend readings.

Peter’s description in the Acts of the Apostles of the crippled man who was healed as standing before the hostile crowd in the name of Jesus made me think of how those who are physically disabled or otherwise visibly different are likely victims for scapegoating by a hostile crowd in a mimetic crisis.

I was especially struck by the phrase in 1 John that when “what we shall be” is revealed, we shall be like Jesus, “for we shall see him as he is”. This apparent causal connection between seeing him as he is, and becoming like him, looks like mimesis — we first see someone, then desire to become like them, then imitate them and do become like them.

D. Mark Davis has an interesting translation note on John 10:17-18, which he translates literally as “By this the father loves me because I lay down my life in order that I may take it up again. No one lifts it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again; this command I took up from my father.” (Emphasis mine.)

This parallel use of the same verb is packed with implications. I see an association between the commands of the LORD, and life — I’m hearing echoes of Psalm 1 here and the very common theme in the Shared Scriptures that the law of the LORD leads to life. And I’m hearing echoes of “Mary, do not touch me”, noli me tangere, which has connotations more of hanging on to than simply touching.

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