Bulletin for this Biblical Characterization Vignette: Bulletin-04-30-2023 Easter 4 YA
Author’s note: Many years ago when I was a youth, I watched an immensely impactful video by a United Methodist Actor (I wish I had been in the audience!) It was called “Witnesses” and was an old VHS we watched in youth group. Thank you, Curt Cloninger, for your portrayal of Biblical characters in such a lively way that brought the stories to life. I dedicate the following “adaptive recreative attempt” of one of those characters, “Lazarus” to you in thanksgiving for your far superior gift! ~ Rev. Dr. Scott T. Crane, PC(USA) pastor
Scripture Reference: John 11:1-44. (Scripture will be read as lectio divina while artist paints a visio divina in situ of Lazarus coming out of the tomb).
Let us pray:
Open our eyes, O Resurrected One, that we may see, and unwrap our hearts that we may live anew each day. May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable to you, O Lord our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.
Dead. Four Days I was-a dead. It all started with a little bit of a tummy ache, you know, something down in my gall bladder; next thing I know, BAM, I was-a dead. My sisters, they cried and cried at my funeral, and all our friends, they were crying, too. I had a beautiful funeral, you know, lots of pretty flowers from my sisters’ garden. After the local Rabbi said some nice words, they put a bit of spices on me – like a good subway sandwich-huh! Then they wrapped me up, tucked the ends in and then off I go into the cave like a paddy-cake in the brick oven! (Smile a mischievous smile) I did not-a know at the time I was a gong to rise again like a good loaf of barley bread! Heh! BOOM, they rolled the stone in place and all was dark. Quiet dark. I didn’t hear the crying anymore, and all was still. No sound of singing in the kitchen, no sound of the customer’s bell at the counter, not even a smell of baking bread. In fact, there was a bit of a musty smell in there. I did-a not like that part. I must have fallen asleep.
Next thing I know, I hear my name being called, really really loud after all that silence. It sounded like urm, “LAZARUS, COME OUTA THERE!” You know who it was? It was the voice of my friend Jesus! I was a little bit upset he didn’t come to my funeral, but oh it was good to hear his voice! And, boy, when you hear his voice, you get up and answer! So I opened my eyes and sat up. It was-a very strange. I’m in a cave with a bunch of my dead family members – there’s-a. my grandmama, my grandpapa, my mother and father, my Aunti Louisa, and Uncle Antonio – oh, I owed him some-a money when he passed away, so it is a good thing Jesus was-a calling MY name! Huh! I got up. You know, it’s-a kind of hard to walk all wrapped up, so I waddled – urm, like a penguin – out of the cave and there was Jesus! My sisters and some of our other friends Jesus brought with him were there, too. You should have seen the look on their faces! Eyes as big as unleavened pita bread! Some of them were white and scared looking and others were crying and smiling and incredulous. It was pretty funny to see!
Some brave ones, they come and unwrap me and-a give me back-a some clothes. Then I say, “Thank you, Jesus! Boy am I glad to get out-a that cave! How long was I in there?” He tell me, four days! Four days I was-a dead. Four days?!? “Say, Jesus, I’m a bit hungry I think. How about we go have-a something to eat, eh?” So we go into the house and have a big old supper like we used to, with all our friends around all through the house and shop. They did keep looking at me funny, though. Made me want to jump up and shout “Boo!” or something!
So that’s-a my story. I was-a dead, Jesus made me alive, so we celebrated! – Oh, and by the way, since I’m back, I’ll see you in the bake shop next Monday for pastry and coffee. Hmm, I’ll have to invent something to commemorate it for the shop. Maybe a nice mini loaf shaped like the stone that was over the tomb. I could drizzle a crossing of white frosting on it. Yes, yes that sounds good; I’ll call them – hmm – eh, “Hot Crossed Buns!” I don’t know how well it will catch on, but you know they will be good if they come from my bake shop!
I’ll have to advertise…Maybe change the name of the shop to “Grateful Bread?” Posters-I’ll need some posters, maybe “Back from the Dead: Half-baked and delicious!” Hmmm, no, that sounds a bit strange… let’s see…oh, I know, I’ll hire some singers. They can go through the town and cry out: “Hot-crossed buns, hot crossed buns, one-a-penny, two-a-penny, hot crossed buns!” Ah-ha! It is good to be back alive again!