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Greater Things

August 24, 2020

“Jesus answered, ‘Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these'” John 1:50

It’s Day 162 of Dispatches From a Suburban Parson During a Pandemic. It’s also the Feast of St. Bartholomew, one of the Twelve. Not much is known of Bartholomew’s life. He is generally assumed to be the same person whom John calls Nathanael. In John’s Gospel, Philip invites Nathanael to meet Jesus. Nathanael is skeptical (“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?) but goes along with his friend. Nathanael is promptly moved to faith by his encounter with Jesus, but Jesus tells him that greater things are yet to come.

Greater things, indeed. Nathanael/Bartholomew was one of the seven disciples to whom Jesus reveals himself by the Sea of Tiberius (John 21). Jesus who was dead is alive, and he fills their nets with an abundant catch. Alleluia!

Tradition tells us that Bartholomew preached the gospel in India. He then joined back up with Thaddeus; the two men brought Christianity to Armenia, where they are regarded as the patron saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Bartholomew was martyred for his faith (I’ll spare you the details), placing his trust in the “greater things” of Jesus. Life and salvation are always on the other side of suffering and death.

As we continue to live in this pandemic, work for social justice, and enter a new school year, may we always believe with Bartholomew that greater things are yet to come.

Be well, friends. You are loved.

God of hope, in Christ the best is always yet to come. We thank you for the witness of Bartholomew and all the saints. Enliven us with the Spirit that we may do you work in the world today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Image: St. Bartholomew, Rembrandt, 1657 (public domain).

From → COVID-19

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