Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Simon of Cyrene, meet Emma of Pensacola -- part 1

The Word for today:
Judges 1:1-2:5

Stand in the Rain is gratified by the response to yesterday’s article about Simon of Cyrene.

One faithful reader made the following request, with which we are happy to comply:

Dear Sir,

I read Stand in the Rain every day, so I think I’ve earned this request. I know that tomorrow we leave the gospel of Mark and turn to the book of Judges. But could you please delay your Judges introduction for a day in order to respond to my question…

Your Simon of Cyrene article contained this quizzical comment:

“I’m not sure of the theological implications of helping God get up so he could die on a cross instead of the street. I’m not sure there are any theological implications. And, to tell you the truth, if there are I don’t really want to know.”

With all due respect, Sir, I am intrigued by Simon of Cyrene and I would like to know if there are any “theological implications” that we should know about. Your comment “begged the question,” so now I’m “begging for an answer.”

Thank you,
Emma of Pensacola


Dear Emma,

We’d be happy to delay Judges for a day in order to reply. So taken are we, in fact -- by both you and your question -- that we have decided to honor this teachable moment with a two-day article. The Judges will just have to cool their heels ‘til we get there…

We’ll begin our answer by looking at your question again:

Q. I am intrigued by Simon of Cyrene and I would like to know if there are any “theological implications” that we should know about.

A. First let me say that Stand in the Rain does not consult theological textbooks. We just look to see how a character fits into God’s great Story. The Bible is a storybook, not a textbook -- and when we begin to see it that way, these questions often answer themselves.

So that’s what we want you to do. We want you to see scripture as a story, and from the story derive the answers yourself. We will help you find the answers about Simon of Cyrene by first giving you some questions to ponder (and look up in your Bible) overnight:

1. We told you in yesterday’s article that Simon and his sons had traveled to Jerusalem all the way from Cyrene (in North Africa) for the Feast of Passover. This is your biggest clue from the story of scripture.

2. Now go to Exodus 12:1-7 and read what each family was required to provide for the Passover.

3. Now turn to John 1:29 and see through the eyes of John the Baptist as he identified the fulfillment of that “thing” required for Passover.

4. Now consider that it was the Law of Moses which required that this item be brought for the Passover ritual. In Simon’s brief story, can you find any representatives of “the law” --

A man named Simon from Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was coming from the fields to the city. The soldiers forced Simon to carry the cross for Jesus.
(Mark 15:21)

Ponder these questions overnight, Emma. We can answer them tomorrow, but by then you will already know exactly who it is that Simon, theologically, represents. I daresay, Emma, that you will even know her middle name--and even some of her secrets!


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