“Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book.”
This morning I would like to talk about some of these signs. Signs that are not necessarily written in the Bible. Today with our sophisticated knowledge of the sciences of physics and astronomy we have even invented a new word called astrophysics. Among other things, this science deals with our understanding of the origins of the cosmos. I suspect that an astrophysicist would smile condescendingly at the naïve attempts of the Bible to describe creation as a series of isolated events occurring over a period of seven days. I think that even our junior high school science students would do the same thing.
If the Bible were to be written today, I rather suspect that it would begin with an attempt to describe the Big Bang! Even if it were to do so, I fel quite sure that in a few generations readers would be smiling tolerantly at that naïve interpretation of creation.
However there is another account of creation from a theological point of view found in the Bible that is sublimely sophisticated and eternally relevant. This is the first chapter of St. John’s Gospel where we read, “in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. And all things were made through him and without him was made nothing that was made.” This refers to the divine being of God, the second person of the Blessed Trinity who is, as it were, the model for creation, the wisdom through and by which the Father brought about the advent of the cosmic beginnings and, indeed, of its subsequent evolution as it speeds through space and time towards whatever goal this same wisdom has ordained for its fullness.
The evolution of the cosmos and that small part of it, our world and our human race, is certainly to be seen as Signs that the son of God is bringing about that are not, if you will, written in the Bible But they are performed in the sight of all his disciples, indeed of all his followers, if we have but the eyes to see them and the faith to comprehend them.
The Bible does tell us about what we could call the second Big Bang. This is an event however that happened in the silence of the night and which has reverberations that extend to the utmost reaches of the cosmos. The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead constitutes a new creation. This same Christ who was in the beginning with the Father and through whom everything was made is that Christ who rose from the tomb on Easter Sunday morning and by that rising re-created the cosmos, as he said, “Behold I make all things new.” This is not a creation that can be witnessed by astrophysicists but only through the eyes of faith.
St. John also tells us that there are many other things that Jesus said and did that are not written in this book. Indeed, if they were written, the whole world could not contain the books that would be required. These things are still being written today for us.
You may accuse me, if you wish, of going from the sublime to the ridiculous in the following story. But it is, I truly believe, one of an uncountable number of stories that speak to us of the presence of God in the events of our lives, nationally and individually.
A few weeks ago I was invited to participate in a seminar being held at the Aspen Inst. on the subject of Forgiveness and Vengeance. We were dealing with this not only on an individual level but nationally and internationally. Prominent in the discussion, as one might expect, was the destruction of the Twin Towers on 9/11. One of the participants at the seminar, Joseph Daniels, is the president and CEO for the past 10 years of the 9/11 Monument and its Museum. He spoke to us about the museum which contains various artifacts that were taken from the thousands of tons of rubble and human bodies that were once the Twin Towers and its occupants. One of these items was a complete Bible that was actually fused into a steel girder with its charred pages permanently open to the fifth chapter of St. Matthew’s Gospel, The Sermon on the Mount, with this text: “You have heard it said an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth , but I say to you offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well.”
Anyone who has ears to hear, let him hear.
May you be happy,
May you be free,
May you be loving,
May you be loved.
Father William Meninger