Good Friday

As the sorry procession moved past some little distance from him, the men carrying the shrouded body and the women walking behind, one of the women whispered to the mother—pointing to Barabbas. She stopped short and gave him such a helpless and reproachful look that he knew he could never forget it. They went on down towards the Golgotha road and then turned off to the left.

He followed far enough behind for them not to notice him. In a garden a short distance away they laid the dead man in a tomb that was hewn out of the rock. And when they had prayed by the tomb, they rolled a large stone in front of the entrance and went away.

He walked up to the tomb and stood there for a while. But he did not pray, for he was an evil-doer and his prayer would not have been accepted, especially as his crime was not expiated. Besides, he did not know the dead man. He stood there for a moment, all the same.

Then he too went in towards Jerusalem.

Pär Lagerkvist, Barabbas, 10.

barabbas

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I Clement and Canon

While doing some reading for my independent study in the Apostolic Fathers, I came across this interesting nugget in I Clement (ca. 80-90 CE):

“May this Scripture be far removed from us that says: ‘How miserable are those who are two minds, who doubt in their soul, who say, “We have heard these things from the time of our parents, and look! We have grown old, and none of these things has happened to us.” You fools! Compare yourselves to a tree. Take a vine: first it sheds its leaves, then a bud appears, then a leaf, then a flower, and after these an unripe grape, and then an entire bunch fully grown.” (I Clement 23:3-4)

If you search your Hebrew Bible (“Old Testament”) or New Testament, you will be surprised to find that this “Scripture”–as the author of I Clement refers to it–is nowhere to be found! The source is currently unknown to scholarship, but I Clement‘s quotation of it as Scripture serves as a very nice illustration of just how open and “in flux” notions of canon were prior to the fourth century.

It is interesting to note also that I Clement itself was considered to be “Scripture” by Clement of Alexandria (2nd century CE) and was included as part of the New Testament in the 5th century Bible, Codex Alexandrinus.

ImagePhotographic Facsimiles of the Remains of the Epistles of Clement of Rome. Made from the Unique Copy Preserved in the Codex Alexandrinus.

“Do something sweet!”

In the bottom of the 10th, with no outs, Alex Avila stepped up to the plate in today’s match between the Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals. As he awaited the first pitch, one man in the crowd voiced the hope of all baseball fans everywhere rooting for their teams at the beginning of the season:

“DO SOMETHING SWEET!”

Avila then bunted, sacrificing himself so Austin Jackson could advance to second. The Royals then walked the next Detroit batter, putting two men on base. Gonzalez popped out, and then Kinsler cranked a single to send Jackson home for the winning run.

Thus Avila did do something sweet, and so did the Tigers, but what is so remarkable to me is how perfectly that anonymous guy in the crowd encapsulated the unbridled optimism of opening week specifically and baseball in general. No matter what the score is, where your team stands, or what point of the season we’re in, this is the hope of the devoted fan: that his team will get out there, win or lose, and do something sweet.

When you pull for the Tigers, as I do, it’s easy to hope for something sweet. They usually deliver. But, if your team (or, as in my case, your other team) is not so hot—the hope is still utterly irresistible. A Denver resident and now Colorado fan, I watched my Rockies go down two nights in a row, but I never stopped hoping that Cuddyer, Tulo, or CarGo would “do something sweet.” Even though they ultimately lost (to the Marlins!), Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki did do something sweet, and gave this fan reason to stand up from his desk and cheer:

Image

To Avila, Tulo, the Tigers, the Rockies, and the favorite teams of all my friends:

“DO SOMETHING SWEET!”

Happy baseball season 2014.