Yesterday (Sunday), I tried something new in my preaching. I offered a sermon as the mother of the man born blind (John 9). The man is healed by Jesus, but the story involves a whole host of characters: the man's parents, Jesus' disciples, Pharisees.
It's sometimes very interesting and enlightening to think about our gospel stories from different perspectives. A whole host of people moved around Jesus and were touched by his life- not just the people who were able to have their specific stories included. What was the woman at the well thinking? What did Nathaniel think when he saw Jesus coming? Why did that woman interrupt a dinner party to wash Jesus' feet?
Yes, we are speculating on what they might have said, but the author of Ecclesiastes tells us: "There is nothing new under the sun." People, since Adam and Eve had to leave the garden, have longed for acceptance, comfort and closeness with God. We can attribute emotions and reactions to the gospel players because they are just like us. That's what makes the gospel so resounding.
We can imagine how Peter felt when he needed to choose between admitting he was with Jesus or saving his hide. We identify with Thomas; we too want to see. Like the Samaritan woman, we long for words of consolation from someone who knows everything we have ever done.
In your next Scripture reading, think about who is in the story and who isn't mentioned, but might have been there. Picture yourself in the action and rejoice in the fact that the same Christ who was available to those people... is available, through faith and the Spirit, to you still!