Thursday, 9 October 2014
texting mark two
Mk2v1 Why did Jesus go back to Capernaum 'a few days later', after saying 1v38 he needed to go on elsewhere? Was it an intentional whistlestop tour? Did he change his mind? Did the wind of the spirit blow unexpectedly? What is it to return? Did the same faces come out? Did Jesus continue conversations begun after a gap of time, leaving space for the other's reflection, but not leaving them alone in their questions? A good dialogical practice perhaps offering enough engagement and enough space to allow self & other to co-constitute, to speak new life from outside, whilst allowing also the other to be other. So, as complementary to the Mk1v35-36 reflection, an ongoing divine leaving & return. I extrapolate wildly, of course.
who are the faces
in this crowded house?
there are layers of light
beneath these pressing hands.
Mk2v3-4 How'm I going to get T in front of a power encounter with Jesus?  Collection action;  Creative destruction.  The paralytic was carried by four men. Prayer, here, is shown to be a cooperative endeavour. How was their group dynamic? Who instigated, who lead, who was the first follower? How did they discuss it? Who convinced whom that this bonkers idea was legit? 1Tm2v8 wants men everywhere to raise up holy hands, because when we do we then can crowd surf the afflicted to Jesus.  Barriers, hurdles, obfustications, churchianity, christianese, the inertia of the liturgical status quo, the strongholds of well-intended inflexible Christian culture which present such impermeable container to the gospel within. Permeate it. Perforate it, go in to our Oval Office, right now, and turn what ever ain't tied down, upside down :P The person of Jesus is a summons to architectural transgression, flying in the face of Secure by Design, we leave the side door open, we let the rain come in, we set about re-roofing and spacemaxising like the palsy depends on it, switch enclosure for disclosure, run a renegade Open House London like its urgent. Motivated by youtu.be/DBY7FnkNI4c a Contagionous sense that the world's illness is to be actively resisted, and that Jesus heals. Take a corner of T's mat for me this morning.
Mk2v5 The forgiveness of my sins is Christ's greatest act of love towards me. My liberation from guilt, that explosion to dust of the fear of the law that otherwise resides in the pit of my stomach, towards a rushing wide open space, that is safe & alive & beautiful. I experience my belovedness most deeply when I experience the burning up of my wall of sin, & find my stripped self left standing, & seen, & touched & wanted. (thanks to the faith of others)
Mk2v6 'They questioned in their hearts'. Like the older brother of the prodigal son, we're so quick to think & speak suspicion over the grace granted others. There are some others we want to lower before Jesus on a mat, perhaps, but there are others towards whom a secret unspoken judgment grips us. Jealous & self-righteous at the Gracedness of the Other. One remains a mat-lowerer & not a scribe when one remembers that first we were all mat-dwellers; loved
Mk2v7-8 We ask: Why does he forgive? Jesus asks: Why do you doubt? 'Why?' as a question unpacks causation and purpose. To a 3-year-old's curiosity it is a magic word to meet an insatiable appetite for an ever expanding universe of discovery. Somehow this novelty tarnishes. Why is bellowed into the void late at night. Why is taboo in a culture of small talk that fears a meaningless origin and a meaningless end. Why is weaponised to undermine half-formed creative beginnings, intangible in-progress developments, vulnerable intuitions, Kingdom glimmerings. // Aristotle offers four causes to any why thusly: v7 why does Jesus forgive? Efficiently to make us whole, finally to bring us to himself for his glory, materially because God is love, formally because love qua love when incarnated in the form of sinful flesh, for sin, must overcome the justice sin deserves, by absorbing sin's penalty. And v8 why do we doubt? Efficiently to deflect challenging things, finally to make us authors of our own truth for our own glory, materially because we are fragile clay vessels, formally because broken vessels must patch up gaps in any united epistemological hypothesis with presumption and rhetoric.We, however, have a because 1Jn4v19; we fear no whys, we are not satisfied by a settled scepticism. Let God be God, let him be your healer,forgiver, your why.
Mk2v9-10 Yeah, which is easier though? Why does Jesus ask the question this way? I have always assumed that he is asking a rhetorical question about the nature of what is vs what seems. ie. That it should be obvious that forgiveness seems easier to speak, but isn't? But how does the proof of healing connect to this thought? Jesus showing that he meets us in our seeming as well as our reality? He will even use our false ideas about him to try to shift our eyes towards the true? Clunky thoughts this morning, I welcome a clearer word, but wanting seeking choosing the Christ who treads the line of grace & truth. Thank you
Mk2v11-12 Bed ridden bidden, forgiven: the invisible risible risen. He's upsidedowning our guise, urgently unbreaking all lies that we lie in, rise now to a new thing. We're footloose, we're furniture free: to left luggage he calls thee. Come messy come messier. No longer carried but carriers. You never seen it before? They'd never seen it before. Micah 7:8 said it, I'll say it again. Rise.
Mk2v13-14 Teaching. Jesus the educator. A simple prayer, in this season of new & extended teaching, that I would learn how to teach more like Jesus. That I would teach well, teach to make clear, teach to provoke, teach for-the-sake-of-the-other, teach as love. May that it would be that those I meet & teach would hear Jesus saying 'follow me'. Pray for this with me.
Mk2v15-16 'There were many who followed him' - Twitter has done to 'follow' as Facebook as done to 'friend' - semiotic dilution and impoverishment. The controversy of Jesus' "following" lies in its exclusivity. Levi left his tax booth, Peter left his nets.. Have I only decided to follow Jesus? What have I not yet left? 'eating-with' - Who is at your bbq, whose bbq are you at? We know we are branded by association, the tacit approval assumed in being-seen-with, how much more so when eating-with. Communion unites bodily in counter hygienic comingling; hospitality unites in that bond of gift reciprocation; eating-with is slow, vulnerable, undeniably intentional time constituting a 'We' 'why does he eat-with?' - Jesus is about to meet this with the statement that we are sick needing a doctor. Contained within this response is the suggestion that there is something medicinal about eating-with. Check your diary that you are eating-with sinners as urgently as if you had a cure for ebola. Check your diary that you are regularly eating-with Jesus to learn how.
Mk2v17-18 No fancy wording today. I'm sick. I'm sinful. I'm seen. I'm sought after. He comes for me because my soul is abusive & ingrown & I need help. He does not come to me because he should. He comes for me because he loves me.
Mk2v19 Somewhat as Robin Williams initially does not see the banquet in Hook. Somewhat as the Dwarves in The Last Battle: "Aslan raised his head and shook his mane. Instantly a glorious feast appeared on the Dwarfs' knees: pies and tongues and pigeons and trifles and ices, and each Dwarf had a goblet of good wine in his right hand. But it wasn't much use. They began eating and drinking greedily enough, but it was clear that they couldn't taste it properly." There is so much cause for celebration in the now, and how much more so in the imminent presence of Jesus. Fasting and feasting are responses to conditions, not for-themself rituals. Jesus issues a call not to be unresponsive, ritually, but rather to be alert to circumstance and so to diet parabolically. By contrast with the Pharisee's feast-proof mindset, which fasts preeemptively, presuming and presupposing a reality of scarcity, a harsh reality of scarcity, a harsh taskmaster, an absentee chef. Would that Christians might be known as feasters, festivalisers. Oh let us be in pursuit of an excellence in our expression of cultural abundance and culinary generosity.
Mk2v20 Does then fasting have any place in the Christian's life? Surely. Desperately and urgently, fast and furiously, fast forward with eyes on the goal of change, fast as a response of prayer to conditions which have procluded God. Many are the mournings to make a meal of, to passionately and pathetically feel the pain of. Let us also fast with an acute excellence, as a response not a ritual, forego the fat of the city, ... the blinding excess, so to usher in a reality of sympathetic embodied prayer: feasting and fasting radically.
Mk2v21-22 Not only the promise of new life new creation & renewed mind, but prophetically of new wine that it is a not-yet, a wine yet to mellow & mature in unfamiliar wineskins. Where you, new wine, are weak, or sharp, you will brew steep distill ferment soak into this new thing, which remains the new of the spirit without the new of novelty. You will become depthed in flavour, stronger in substance, full-bodied. Fear not, new wine
Mk2v23-24 Passages encouraging liberal and pragmatic interpretations of Sabbath guidance seem written for a time other than our own. Jesus relaxes rabbinical over-strictures, but right now, in London, in 2014, there is nothing left dilute. 24/7/365 I will shop, work, shop, consume, work, harvest, cook, drive, shop, glean and do bland violence to the seventh day with total and unconscious abandon. I have great sympathy for the Pharisee's cause, nothing is sacred anymore, no one pauses, no one decorates, the church is a grey pragmatistic edifice of unspecific principles and workaholic incoherence, the Sabbath's poetry is utterly obscured, and with it, the glory of being. So. Send in the secret police to shadow the rogue picnic gleaners and pay the agents time and half for patrolling on a Sunday.. the irony is significant. Sabbath typifies exactly the fragility of the balance of law and grace. It is not straightforward to apply what Jesus is implying license for here, Tesco is not a grainfield, the Northern Line is not a country walk, your emails are not ears of corn. But a picnic with Jesus and friends certainly is given precedent here.
Mk2v25-26 Wine, & now bread. Permit me some free association. New bread in new tabernacles too. New aabsorption new digestion. Feed on christ in your hearts by faith, for you are not only allowed to come into the holy of holies, but he comes into you, bread & wine, body & blood. Come because you're hungry, like david. Come not because you are strong but because you are weak. Come because you love the lord a little & would like to love him a lot.
Mk2v27-28 Jesus as Time-Lord. And we are his heirs, inheritors to a dominion over time. Far from being ruled by the clock, we have time at our disposal, we can make time and take time, it is ours as a gift to spend time. The Pharisees' grossly impoverished notion of the human is critiqued here in its unjust and inhuman timing. The flawed but worthy Justin Timberlake film In Time illustrates the relationship between time and the vested interests of social injustice. What horror that the Pharisees would employ the Sabbath as a new scarcity myth, a superstitious righteousness, a system of subjugation, what irony. Sabbath is a rehearsal of eternity, a weekly freedom cry, a time traveler's exodus from wage slavery and clock watching. A declaration of the freedom we are free for. Jesus' eternality makes a mockery of the notion that we are under time. Sabbath is the life we get to live, it never runs out. There are no rules, it is all grace and gratuitous, a pause to pursue unnecessary beauty, art which needs no justification.