Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Easter 6A -- Acts 17

The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him--though indeed he is not far from each one of us.

Acts 17:24 - 27

I read this snippet of the text for this week and I can't help but think of "Waiting for Godot." A brief synopsis from Wikipedia:
The play follows two consecutive days in the lives of a pair of men who divert themselves while they wait expectantly (and, we find, endlessly) for someone named Godot. They claim Godot to be an acquaintance but in fact hardly know him, admitting they wouldn’t recognize him if they saw him. To occupy themselves they eat, sleep, talk, argue, sing, play games, exercise, swap hats, and contemplate suicide--anything so as “to hold the terrible silence at bay”.

Here is the portion of the play that really held my interest:
VLADIMIR: Ah yes, the two thieves. Do you remember the story?
VLADIMIR: Shall I tell it to you?
VLADIMIR: It'll pass the time. (Pause.) Two thieves, crucified at the same time as our Saviour. One—
ESTRAGON: Our what?
VLADIMIR: Our Saviour. Two thieves. One is supposed to have been saved and the other . . . (he searches for the contrary of saved) . . . damned.
ESTRAGON: Saved from what?
ESTRAGON: I'm going.
He does not move.
VLADIMIR: And yet . . . (pause) . . . how is it –this is not boring you I hope– how is it that of the four Evangelists only one speaks of a thief being saved. The four of them were there –or thereabouts– and only one speaks of a thief being saved. (Pause.) Come on, Gogo, return the ball, can't you, once in a while?
ESTRAGON: (with exaggerated enthusiasm). I find this really most extraordinarily interesting.
VLADIMIR: One out of four. Of the other three, two don't mention any thieves at all and the third says that both of them abused him.
ESTRAGON: What's all this about? Abused who?
VLADIMIR: The Saviour.
VLADIMIR: Because he wouldn't save them.
ESTRAGON: From hell?
VLADIMIR: Imbecile! From death.
ESTRAGON: I thought you said hell.
VLADIMIR: From death, from death.
ESTRAGON: Well what of it?
VLADIMIR: Then the two of them must have been damned.
ESTRAGON: And why not?
VLADIMIR: But one of the four says that one of the two was saved.
ESTRAGON: Well? They don't agree and that's all there is to it.
VLADIMIR: But all four were there. And only one speaks of a thief being saved. Why believe him rather than the others?
ESTRAGON: Who believes him?
VLADIMIR: Everybody. It's the only version they know.
ESTRAGON: People are bloody ignorant apes.
Of course, I see Vladimir and Estragon as the two thieves. It's never really said that V and E are tramps, hobos, but it is definitely implied. They are searching for Godot (in the English that is quite interesting; but it does not appear in the original French.) They are not quite familiar with Godot and probably wouldn't recognize him if they saw him.

Still thinking.

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