The Parabler Becomes a Parable, by Katie Snipes Lancaster
TNow there was a man named Joseph who was a member of the council. He was a good and righteous man. He hadn’t agreed with the plan and actions of the council. He was from the Jewish city of Arimathea and eagerly anticipated God’s kingdom. This man went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Taking it down, he wrapped it in a linen cloth and laid it in a tomb carved out of the rock, in which no one had ever been buried. It was the Preparation Day for the Sabbath, and the Sabbath was quickly approaching. The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph. They saw the tomb and how Jesus’ body was laid in it, then they went away and prepared fragrant spices and perfumed oils. They rested on the Sabbath, in keeping with the commandment. Luke 23:50–56
Reflection: “Every perfect life is a parable invented by God,” says Simone Weil. I can’t help but believe this is true. Your mother, your father, your grandmother, your grandfather, your mentor, your friend, any of the saints of life—you know the ways that their life has become for you a parable, a lens through which we see and know ourselves, others, and the Spirit of the Living God.
“Every perfect life is a parable invented by God,” and in considering the definition of perfection, we arrive at the feet of Jesus, the perfecter of our faith. “Every perfect life is a parable invented by God,” and so in the last hours before Easter’s dawning, we approach the tomb of Christ, seeing him become for us a parable. We tell the story of his birth, life, ministry, discipling, healing, sacrificing, power-confronting, and ultimately death on a cross, and we turn it all over in our hands, like we might a stone, noticing the textures, the long history, the weight, and heft. We arrive at Jesus’ story in the same way we arrive at Jesus’ parables, looking for meaning, guidance, inspiration, hope, and a way through.
So let us take in all we have learned from the parables and use that to know and draw near the Great Parable as he himself becomes a Parable. Parables are image-stories that garner a response, urge us to change our hearts, minds, and actions or push us to reframe how we understand the world. In the same way, Jesus’ life-death-resurrection garners in us a response, urges us to change our hearts, minds, and actions, and pushes us to reframe how we understand the world. Let us walk into this season of Easter with eyes awake with the possibilities that lay before us, with hearts open to the divine mystery hidden within.
May our lives become parable,
just as we watch and await
the Great Parabler to become a parable,
a lens through which we can see and know
the Kingdom of God draws near.