Monday, April 25, 2011
Five Minutes with My Daughter and the Gospel of John
Every night for homework, my oldest daughter is required to read a short book - typically one from her class, but sometimes one she chooses from her shelf at home - and answer a series of questions about the story. Tonight, she selected a short volume from The Little Golden Book series, about Easter. For the most part, it deals with Easter as a time of rebirth, flowers blooming, sun shining, spring arriving, etc.
But there is one particular picture which shows family looking out the window of their house and gazing at a hill in the distance, upon which stand three empty crosses. When doing the question where she has to list three things that happened in the story, MB chose that scene as one of the three events - and then she paused and asked me how Jesus died.
It certainly wasn't a question I was prepared to receive when we first starting doing her homework, and on short notice it was difficult to come up with what I felt was an adequate - and simple - summary for her. I muddled my way through it - Jesus was hung on a cross and died, he was put in the tomb, and three days later he was once again alive. MB contemplated all of this for a moment, and then asked, "How did he come back to life?" I then went into a short description of how it was as a result of God's power; I thought that would be simple enough.
She again thoughtfully considered my (admittedly) short answer, and then asked, "Well, did Jesus have powers?" "Yes, he did!" I responded. "He made blind people see, he made people who couldn't walk walk, and he even brought dead people back to life." Immediately, MB cut in: "The little girl!" "Yes, the little girl, and a man named Lazarus, too."
MB then asked, "Who was Lazarus?" I went and got my Bible, flipped to the Gospel of John, and started to read. I then stopped and thought, why not give her a little extra reading homework? So I pointed to this passage, and she started to read to me:
When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Unbind him, and let him go." (Jn. 11:43-44)
This story had no grand conclusion; MB said, "Hmmm" and handed the Bible back to me. Then, it was off to draw in her notebook. She may not remember this particular moment beyond tonight, but it's a time with her that I'll remember for the rest of my life.