Saturday, 30 January 2016

texting mark fourteen

Scent to your inbox every other morning. 07729056452

Mk14v1-2 Stealth. If they are not mere pantomime baddies, I wonder what that conversation was like, was there a debate, who proposes such a motion, what Paris Attacks loomed large in the mind of this parliament of priests and scribes, and who rallied opposition rebels at the eleventh hour with the spectre of Franco and Hitler, and what greater-good was presented as just cause for just war? And so to you Phil, how do I plot minor violences, how do I vote with my feet and by default to serve a status quo and obscure collateral damage by veiled, muffled, encrypted ethical language. My responsibilities to my dependents are clear, the moral case for drone strikes against this Galilean threat to my peace is vital - my position has nothing to do with organised jealousy, risk-averse self-reliance, politickal pride, faith in the tradition of the nation state nor affection for the comforts of the market economy.. Sometimes murder is just the most responsible thing to do. Lord, have mercy.

Mk14v3-4 there are surely many things I mean-mindedly refuse to give over in extravagant worship, but *time* springs to mind as a key resource in this category. What happened to 'soaking', to wasting time with Jesus? Whatever this next season is, I want it to soak.

Mk14v5-6 It's the smell, if there is such a thing. We are still cost engineering prophetic perfume performance in the low churches to spite our nose. Fragrances, odours, smell is a shortcut to body memory (v9), and body memory is how we habituate the gospel. Man dwells aromatically. We are in Christ and Christ is in you, by the lungfull, as if stood at the tea factory's furnace, saturated with a potent inimitable preconceptual description of salvation.

Mk14v7-8 'you will not always have me'. How do we live in the light of an incarnation we cannot touch or smell or see? I remember a sunny morning in West Kensington being angry and sad with God that I was being asked to celebrate 'the word made flesh', but yet the fleshiness of God has gone again, not for us, disincarnate once more. The incarnation now is different to the incarnation then, we deceive ourselves if we don't acknowledge it. There is a right grieving and longing in this, longing for the Rev1v17 moment where he places his right hand (full of stars) on me, and says 'do not be afraid'.

Mk14v9-10 To one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? (2Co2v16) So then v10, the smell, it seems, was the last straw, conspicuous and impractical and costly - offensive in every way to anyone with a sense of justice or decency. I rather imagine Judas gets to the chief priests' lair still smelling pungent and multivalent.

Mk14v11-12 Judas. I want to psychologise Judas through the pages of the text, but I hold my speculations lightly. It seems indeed that witnessing wasteful worship was the tipping point at which he wanted to be free of Jesus. There's a fear to being entangled with a person or a group who have a wild lawlessness about them. The fear of finding oneself on the wrong side of the law through relational contamination is a powerful fear. I get it. The power of legalism is always slinking around like a snake, whispering to betray this chaotic improprietous Jesus. This whilst at the same time living with my own secret law-breaking, like Judas theft (Jn12v6). We see the devil enter Judas (Lk22v3), for the devil always milks & maintains the hypocrisy and double faithlessness to Jesus that the law begets: fear & self-deception, which morph into pride & guilt respectively. God have mercy on me, a Judas.

Mk14v13-14 [Go in to the city.. the Matthew parallel is a verse I've prepared for YWAM today, spooky. See Mt26v18 for homeless Jesus' prescience] But this morning I am struck by the Markan city as a place of abberance and minority interest; and by God as one peculiarly interested in those deviating from socially prescribed, tediously homogenous, measures of heteronormativity. When Jesus issues Neo a "Follow the white rabbit." he chooses a man carrying a water, a man doing woman's work, like Gideon threshing wheat Jg6v11. He could have picked any distinction, a woman in a red dress, but he delights to elect for the grand stage of recorded history, a character who is more than incidentally unusual. It is an essential characteristic of the city that it is a congregation of the eccentric, a density of diversity, of juxtaposed irregulars. A faith consisting in a love of and for the bizarre is thus especially suited to the urban experience. Are you? Do you? Love London thusly.

Mk14v15-16 & who was the rabbit? Who is this secret agent so attuned to the Christ and who provides in the moment everything we needed? An angel unaware? To love our urban eccentrics is not to fetishize them or lump them into a category of the unnormal whom we are 'do good' to. No, it is also to receive humbly lessons & leading & hospitality from our fellow city-dwellers, Jesus way have already whispered in their ear that they have something for us.

Mk14v17-18 Betray. No small let down, no mere dropping of the ball. Betrayal is the calculated change of allegiance, the egregious reversal of loyalty to the enemy. There is an enemy. And one of you has picked his side. One of you is utterly duplicitous, caring nothing, understanding nothing, deceiving and deconstructing everything for nothing. Jesus could smoke out this double agent, route out this mole, rally a witch hunt. But, what curious love is this, so assured that love wins that he would welcome this suicide bomber with open arms? I am not merely undeserving, I am ill-deserving. I do not merely fall short, I actively and diabolically short circuit Jesus, conniving to betray daily. What love is this?

Mk14v19-20 Upset & troubled & questioning. It might seem cruel of Jesus to announce to the disciples that one will betray him...but I'm not going to tell you who! As though subjecting them all to some kind of ambiguous existential Russian roulette. But I think this is deliberate, for they all *could* be traitors, & the angst stirred by his statement reveals it. Jesus the light is always in the business of showing us ourselves, & we must always feel the possibility of our own betrayal in order to choose faithfulness. This is true of our marriages, friendships, churches, art, activism & all conviction, as well as our covenant with Christ. Our faithfulness is not automatic. It's a work and a choice, not a default. So feel the fear, acknowledge your own darkness in the face of the light, in order to choose to stay, for a more authentic joy.

Mk14v21-22 Where did it all go wrong? Is it realistic or fatalistic to rue the day you were born? Born, as we are born into trouble as the sparks fly upwards Jb5v7. If only we could be born again Jn3v3! That we might be even as those untimely born 1Co15v8. The lamentation #Born This Way is sung triumphant because that is the only compassionate response unless there is hope of rebirth, if we cannot absolve shame, we can at least rebrand it Ph3v19. If I concede I was born with design flaw, that I am damaged goods, that I was set up to fail, if I self-understand as such but without rebirth, I have only unbirth, the entropic zombie nihilism that seeks not to go forth and multiply but rather to divide the birth rate to diminish the virus of human biomass. But v22 Jesus has borne that body-breaking of being unborn, so that we no longer have to be towards death only, but towards new birth.

Mk14v23-24 Jesus offers the cup. Then they drink. Then Jesus explains. And the explanation itself points to a third 'then', the bigger reality of his death & resurrection to come. In the Eucharist the divine precedes me along axes of logic, metaphysics & epistemology. The logic of the gift precedes me in form, in content, & in conditions of possibility. Christ precedes me as the explainer, the explained & the explanation itself.

Mk14v25-26 And when they had sung a hymn. Voici la nuit, // L'immense nuit sur la colline, // Et rien n'existe hormis le Corps, // Hormis le Corps criblé d'épines :// En devenant un crucifié, // Dieu fécondait comme un verger, // La terre où le plantait la mort.

Mk14v27-28 Jesus to me: 'you will fall away...but I will go ahead of you.' & I nod, like that scene in good will hunting, & he repeats it again & again until I want to punch him in the face and then weep. I am so much more fallen away than I ever expected. But the But. But the But God. But resurrection outruns me, it is always before me. It is much more true good & beautiful than I thought. Jesus to you: 'you will fall away...but I will go ahead of you.'

Mk14v29-30 While the Queen of Hearts is busy believing as many as six impossible things before breakfast, you're busy disbelieving improbable things. Waster. Faker. Unbeliever. I find your lack of faith disturbing. Me? Not I, surely. Though all be offended, I shall not, not me, nuh uh. Jesus could never ask too much of me, could never push me too far. Jesus' tidy worldview of middle class propriety, liberal easy expectations, and generally mellow disposition is conveniently congruent with my existing lifestyle. And me, I've seen it all before, I'm kind of big deal, I'm a snowflake, I have great self-esteem and I'm more competent than average.. I believe. Help my unbelief.

Mk14v31-32 Never say never. Never say always. Say instead Rm7v21 'When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.' Peter here embodies the antithesis of the meditation on v19-20 on feeling the possibility of one's own traitorship. I am disordered desire and disturbing dependence. Never say never, say there but by the grace of God, and then gasp for said grace, as needed as oxygen.

Mk14v33-34 'Greatly distressed, troubled.. very sorrowful' Ellis Potter's 3 Theories of Everything claims all worldviews spring from the hurt we find ourselves in. As if a most primary state would be to claim: I hurt therefore I am. As Pina asks, Where does all this yearning from? Moby asks, Why does my heart feel so bad? .. But belted, more as Ewan McGregor's Roxanne bellows: Why does my heart cry? Feelings I can't hide. It. Is. More. Than. I. Can. Stand. Lamentations, turned up to 11. Jesus feels. Knowing within his body a living death, he perfectly imagines and perfectly viscerally anticipates the rapidly rising utter darkness, the faceless body of blackest black screaming rust against bone as it tears torture through the tunnels of the void toward him, the harrowing spectre of total night visiting agony on every ashen atom treacled infinitely by the extinguishment of him the only light of the world. The only light of the world.

Mk14v35-36 Sometimes it better to leave commentary to one side and to pray the prayer your given, for self and for others, with weeping and aching and doubt and hope and anger and gratitude, over and over, in many voices: 'Abba, everything is possible for you. Please take this cup. Yet. Your will not mine.' Abba Abba Please Please Everything Everything Yet Yet Please Abba Abba Abba.

Mk14v37-38 "Asleep.." #Stay in bed, float up stream.. Sleeping, only sleeping, sleeping like a baby, sleeping on the job, sleeping with the fishes. The Bible considers all of these: Sleep is a gift from God (Ps127v2, Mk4v38); Sleep is a form of death (Ps13v3, Mk5v39, Jn11v11); and Sleep is an irresponsible laziness with grave consequences (Pr20v13, Mt25v5 and here Mk14v38). How should we then sleep? How, and indeed when? Because the gift of sleep appropriately received is contingent on timing, day timing (1Th5v8). .. "..the flesh is weak" and thus must be rested rightly, so to do day time Christianity as an enfleshed thing ~ faith without works is a kind of waking dream, a disembodied belief. We are called to a wide awake faith, muscle and bone faith, a Christianity of the open air. Time is short and today we need all praying hands on deck.

Mk14v39 And prayed, saying the same words. Abba Abba Everything Everything Please Please Yet Yet Abba Abba again and again.

Mk14v40 They did not know what to say to him. Wordlessness is not such a bad place to be. Wordlessness does not try to justify or explain, it feels its need for repentance, and stutters and stumbles, knowing how easily words become cheap, vain, hollow, distortive, abusive. This Lent I seek to truly go Into The Silent Land with Christ.

Mk14v41-42 "Are you still sleeping?" Still drowsy? Still reading the bible bleary eyed? Still yawning floating adrift in obscure instincts, vague opinion, the mediocre moral mores of the anonymous mass. Still barely conscious at the wheel behind the misted windscreen of social media, fogged by people pleasing's pliability, daydreaming the irresponsible apparatus of life. I am. Enough is enough. Tick follows Tock. Time's up. Game Over. With a jolt, Christianity is mainlining caffeine. Jesus stands at the door and knocks: Knock, knock, Neo. The game is a foot.

Mk14v43-44 I have been thinking about betrayal in my work, for betrayal is necessarily triadically interpersonal. You cannot betray a person with an idea, attitude or omission alone. You can disappoint them or hurt them with such things, but this is not traitorship proper. Judas betrayed Jesus to an Other. Judas made allegiance about utility rather than being submitted to the singular irreducibility of his relationship with Jesus. As such it became possible foe him to care more about what alligence to the pharisees could offer him than allegiance to Jesus. Loving Jesus is not an ideology, or even a way of life. Loving Jesus is an irreducible (& ultimate) allegiance.

Mk14v45-46 We have mixed motives. We are finite knowers. We work with best intentions. But there are only two sides. Mt12v30 For or against. Mk9v40 Against or for. But there is no middle ground. And time is short. 'Betrayer' is, on balance, the boat both feet are in, regardless your frantic paddling. (But it is not for us to judge whose heart is such.) Judas exchanged the glory of Jesus' vulnerability for the power of empire, he betrays the irreducible gospel of a personal God of love, preferring a comfortable lie above the supreme being who sustains vast hetero-geneous multiplicities in his overflow of love. Judas exchanges that for a lie, betraying Jesus not for Caesar-qua-Caesar per se, but for an idea, a mirage, an illusion, a homo-genous extension of the same old sameness, familiar rule of force pursuing infinite tribal agglomeration. Judas-qua-betrayer is enthralled to free falling inertia hurtling towards the lowest common denominator of oneness.

Mk14v47-48 Jesus shows us the foolishness of our armour. Ordinarily, and for the most part, Jesus shows us how entirely foolish our defense budget is, how entirely self-defeating & revealing of our own insecurity & lack of wisdom are our military campaigns. This applies at every scale and in every domain, in all relations, attitudes & policies. It applies to every spikey word I speak. Come, let us beat our swords into ploughshares. Amen.

Mk14v49-50 In the dark places, we Pharisees do dark deeds of commission, conspiring to murk Jesus, to bled and die Jesus, and so silence his threat to our power. In the dark places, we Disciples do dark deeds of omission, conspiring to desert Jesus, to fled and fly Jesus, and so silence his threat to our power. .. Jesus invites us to a daily daytime daylit day-to-day life with him. AA Step 4, from last night, "Without a searching and fearless moral inventory .. the faith which really works in daily living is still out of reach" Lovers of the light, find people and places to be so transparent, so fearless, so alive. Daily.

Mk14v51-52 Commentaries note the linen of the young man's garment as the 15v46 burial robe of Jesus, & that the same word for 'young man' is used again 16v5 to describe the first announcement of Easter. Now: left naked & ashamed, as in Eden, having betrayed the Christ. On Easter morn: clothed in white, proclaiming the resurrection, a new creation. The darkness naked shame of Maunday Thursday is true. But. But Sunday's coming (& came, & already is.)

Mk14v53-54 Peter ventures "Right inside the courtyard" softly softly into the lion's den, going as a mute witness into the belly of the beast. Peter, in pantomime Lost Boys mode, adventuring with his wooden sword and water pistol. So confused. We, like Peter, are confronting the Powers, we set out against this (peculiarly urban) imperial force which would quash Jesus' revolution of love, but we bring our slingshots in vain. Christianity is not a vague optimism that we will magic up superpowers against the Powers, we don't tip toe into the courts with a superstitious sense that if we just reach out with our feelings we can shoot proton torpedoes into the exhaust port of the Death Star.. Jesus has come here to die, deliberately. It is with that wholly different confidence that we venture into the city.

Mk14v55-56 Fallen humanity's knowledge is finite & corrupted yet we cling to predetermined answers, scrabble for evidence that fits, and so follow the logic of violence. God's knowledge is perfect & superabundant yet God makes space for us to wrestle, following the logic of hospitality. While we were still violent, Christ gave us grace.

Mk14v57-58 We heard him say I will destroy a hundred red-brick low-rise tree-lined walkable sociable council estates 'made-with-hands', and in three days replace them with MMC off-site high-rise volumetric panelised podular modular synthetic versions of the domestic 'not-made-with-hands'. Is Jesus condemned here in a witch-hunt by a peculiarly Luddite jury? There are infinite disanalogies between Jesus resurrection claims and Cameron's naive and insidious ambition to bulldoze so-called sink-estates, however, (as last night with Wandsworth Against Cuts) I'm interested in the emotive common language used to oppose the new and unknown. My affirming the good of humane hand-made, devolves subtly into a nostalgic sentimentality, thence into defensively brittle better-the-devil-you-know, and finally I become dogmatic as Babel's self-made city, a monument to self-reliance Zp3v1-2, which ponders no future beyond now Hb9v11 and trusts in no Lord to build/fund/sustain our housing project Ps127.

Mk14v59-60 Quietly now, for She is very near...the Ps131v2 quietness of spirit is a promise for this season, but it is not just for 'quiet time', it's also for moments of interrogation, dialogue, and indeed moments of great stress. Jesus demonstrates quietness against chaos in this brief moment, so come on my soul.

Mk14v61-62 v61 "He remained silent and made no answer.." Why silent? v62 "I am" Why then answer? If he was going to answer, what purpose did he intend in first holding his peace? Noise reduction to clarify the signal. Ensuring the diagram of his murder is absolutely unambiguous, Jesus is exquisitely deliberate to ensure we kill him for the right reasons. Before Caiaphas he would be condemned as Messiah; and when before Pilate, executed as King. And not for any other trumped up charges; not in error; not because of church pain; not under the sway of science or language games or political convenience. Jesus death was not a collateral casualty in a wider battle of ideas, Jesus is the bulls-eye of our fury, the subject of our rebellion, standing nakedly in the laser sighted cross-hairs of our self-reliance. Have you killed Jesus yet? Was it a clean shot? He is infinitely God. You are infinitely wrong. Ready. Aim. Fire.

Mk14v63-64 Tearing one's clothes, an act of self-violence. Sometimes perhaps an authentic act of true grief or repentance, but here we see a false & inverted act. A ritual easily distorted, perhaps why the high priests are told not to tear their clothes Lv10v6. It reminds me of the compulsion to tear at my own skin, to harm myself when in distress. This is sin & sorrow inverted, acted-out, unhealed. Thus Jl2v13 rend your heart and not your garments.

Mk14v65-66 Witch-hunts to waterboarding to the forthcoming Ballardian High-Rise film, I am currently preoccupied with measuring the human capacity for senseless violence, superstitious cruelty, and the architecture which anticipates such. Here we see the scape-goat, the sacrificial lamb and the animality we regress to ourselves when we consider humans as anything less than fully human, say, as Hopkins' cockroaches.. Spitting: wordless contempt, pure primitive proto-scatalogical, an infantile projectile projection tarnishing by taboo, a saliva-ry smeary smear campaign. As it is written, it's what comes out of a man that makes him unclean Mk7v15.

Mk14v67-68 The look. A hundred thousand times found at the end of the look. The challenge is to neither destroy it nor assimilate to it, for Christ's sake. Homework.

Mk14v69-70 I'd never deny Jesus. Cold call me to a laboratory setting in an open-book proof-text exam and I'd give you the right answers. But it's never that simple. Those interested to elicit denial are interested to elicit denial, these are not disinterested dispassionate inquiries, these are accusations, there are sides, this is war, there are consequences. I'm struck by the cornering being engineered: "servant girl .. to the bystanders" - a triangle of shame in an emergingly complex jiu jitsu stranglehold, a lit sparkler of gossip held to the kerosene barrel of mob violence - it's simpler to deny first, then be asked questions later? .. "one of them" open-ended pronoun use, generic one-of-them vs one-of-us, a catch-all 'them' containing also paedophile priests, the Crusades, Ned Flanders, Westboro Baptist.. are you one of them?.. I deny Jesus by abridging nuance when deflecting association with other Christians, and by problematising the question (v68 'nor understand what you mean')

Mk14v71-72 Found here again, on the bathroom floor or pacing the hall, after all this time and all these words, with the rooster crowing in the distance. Frustration and failure and self-loathing. Again. It's the over and over of it all that's the worst. Oh God, have mercy. I cling to the Jn21 resurrection fire on the beach, the fish for breakfast, the promise (again) that this is not how it ends.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

105 christmas label sketches

texting mark thirteen

Notes from a dark side. 07729056452

Mk13v1-2 Christians do not deny entropy. Indeed, entropy must be welcomed in to remind us again & again that we are apt to make idols out of all and any of what we find in nature & culture. We must live with momento mori scribed into all our work & love, for without it resurrection is mere resuscitation. We do not deny decay, we rather say 'and yet'. Ec1v2-11 and yet Ec3v14-15.

Mk13v3-4 'Privately' because GCHQ listens in to rumours of architectural iconoclasm as terror plots. What do we make of the apocalyptic aspects of our faith? There is an inquisitiveness into these things which Jesus seems to encourage. When all that is solid melts into air, what gospel do we offer to this imminent urban interregnum? What alternative is there to the imperial status quo of consumer capitalism? And how shall we then dance on the brink of precarity?

Mk13v5-6 'Be on your guard'. Such a phrase is apt to bring to mind the kind of anxious defensiveness that Tobias Jones ascribed to the modern nuclear family as a fortress last night. But let us bring to mind the guarding that is unanxious, but fierce. The protection I promised you in 'to love him, comfort him, honour and protect him'. The way that God guards us, as Jacob: 'He sustained him in a desert land, in a howling wilderness waste; he shielded him, cared for him, guarded him as the apple of his eye.' Dt3v10. Pr4v23' famous 'guard your heart, because from it flow springs of life'. To guard rightly is to cherish, seek out, brood over, protect, cultivate, delight in. Here we are to guard the truth, and the Christ himself, who is the Truth. Forsaking all others, be in faithful pursuit of the Truth.

Mk13v7-8 'Do not be alarmed.' There's a pill for that. There's an entire culture system of globalised entertainment tailored to anaesthetise alarm. Jesus confronts two distinct alarms: wars (military, financial, environmental global upheaval) and rumours of wars (hyperbolic jeopardy-based journalism conspiring with anxiety-predicated marketing to cast a click-bait metanarrative of apocalypse). The epidemic of Keep Calm Carry On Verbing tote bags bears tribute to a ground swell of epicureanism masquerading as stoicism. Neither of these war-and-war-rumour responses actually constitute a grounded not-being-alarmed. As in Jer6v14's "Peace, Peace.." we seek out prophets 2Tm4v3 to legitimate escapism. By contrast, Jesus, and Paul Rm8v22 suggest a birthpang hermaneutic for facing the world's woes. Is that possible? Genuine question. Can we really say Isis, birthpang, sealevel rise, birthpang, housing crisis, birthpang.. WTF is being born? And, how long oh Lord?

Isis, birth pangs --

Mk13v9-10 I usually respond to such passages with guilt and avoidance. A chance to self-flagellate the fact that I have never been handed over to neither council nor synagogue, and yet not really believing that this verse has anything to say to me other than 'you're doing it wrong, try harder'. I'm done with using the Bible to bellyache, feel bad and do nothing. I'm also not going to anxiously become the kind of 'missionary' that Christians have a rubric for just to prove to myself and the world that I'm doing something. Rather, breathe deep the good the true the beautiful for Jesus and breathe out. Start here, our passage for the week: Jn1v39 'come and see'. Start here: David McPherson yesterday: 'if there's a thread I'll be hanging on it': a truthfulness that I trust, and want to be so to be trusted by others, in together discovering that the Christ is the most existentially satisfying ground beneath my feet, air in my lungs, telos for my feet, come see.

Mk13v11-12 Access to knowledge via an unseen realm that gives you confidence to stand before imperial powers. StarWars innit. I'm fascinated by the zeitgeist coup which the franchise has exacted, astutely tapping a hunger for a spiritual reality which would empower our rebel alliances to confront the dark imperial forces of modernity which have threatened our own fragile humanities only increasingly since 1977's EpIV. Prophecy is no mere Jedi mind trick and the Spirit is not some midichlorian extension of mysterious personal goo. But. We do faith by hope in things not seen, a not-seen realm that yet speaks. Christianity, if it is Christianity, will confront suprahuman powers, and to do so, it must be prophetic. We can stand fearless before the Vaders represented by a savage housing market economy's hegemony or a corrupt SE Asian government's deathly censors and know not merely good things, but the exactly pertinent right things that would woo them to love to hope in another Kingdom.

Mk13v13 Holding out to the very end...because we have always already been loved to the very end: 'Jesus had always loved those who were in the world who were his own, & he loved them to the very end.' Jn13v1

Mk13v14 If Advent made itself salient as the season of apocalypse, of waiting for not only the incarnation, but the eschaton, then how do we meditate on this analogy post-christmas? One risks mixing metaphors of course, & the text warns against muddles on this point. We still wait to see Christ face to face, the smaller advent within the fractal of the bigger advent. But Christmas (& Easter & Pentecost to come) remind us of the 'come' of the Kingdom. This January we live with a sense of God breaking in. Healing things we thought could not be healed. Building things we thought could not be built. This inbreaking comes as a great peace, joy, hope. But what in it might be an 'awful horror'? Christ bids us die to ourselves, & if we are to live in the stream of his inbreaking this year, it will cost something. Mixing metaphors yes, but wanting to hold on to the end for the pearl of price.

Mk13v15-16 There is a time to run like hell, but where are we now in this fractal eschaton, in these endless end times? The abomination has come, still comes and perpetually stands on the event horizon to come again. Hell and Heaven swell swirling about us, moment by moment, we are kites in a hurricane muddle of life and deaths. Am I ready to run? Am I alert to the Mt16v3 signs of the spirit of the age? Judeo-Christianity is a faith of flight, an exiting exiled exodus religion that has no lasting city Hb13v12 but is spread abroad on the wings of calamity so to evangelise the ends of the earth, in all the cracks, nooks and fringes, the shadowy nowhere places. But we yet seek the good of the city Jer29v7, and we repair Nh3v8, and we make it beautiful as Ex31v3 and storied Dt11v20, but we do so as boy scouts adept to fashion loose-fitted, light-footed, make-shift and make-do shelters, so when the death star comes, we are nimble.

Mkv13v17-18 Pregnancy & maternity: states of particular suffering & vulnerability, like being exposed to winter elements and more. Suffering & vulnerability: emotionally, spirituality & physically. This is a prayer for all those known to me, pregnant & mothering, that they would find themselves caught up in the strength & the kindness of God, & not lost in the place of awful horror without him. God is close by, dear ones.

Mk13v19-20 It is interesting to be reading particularly these verses while also watching The Leftovers ~ a harrowing and bleak portrait of accelerating acrimony amongst an ambiguous 'elect' in certain end times. The series (so far) is savagely nihilistic, furious excoriating polemic against faith and it demands an answer as how we should be-towards-turmoil. Misinterpretations of verses like these birth exactly the pathological Christianities which I suspect wounded the writers of Leftovers: 'cut short the days for the sake of the elect..' like a Dignitas for a our terminal condition? My heart is tempted to soften the verses, rather than live in the tension of 2Co5v8 or Ph1v23, and soften rather than to plumb the pain and so see grace abound Rm5v20.

Mk13v21-22 I am struck by the similarity of the 'look, here is the messiah' that Jesus warns us of here, & the virtuous 'look, the lamb of God'...'come & see' that we have been considering in Jn1 this week. This reminds that that joint-attention-to-Jesus depends on the substantiality of Jesus, just as all joint attention to the world depends on the sunstantiality of the world. When we're invited to look, don't just take their word for it, really look!

Mk13v23-24 The great eschatological told-you-so.. But how to live in the light of this? Jesus sets up a seekable something, supposing that we should be seekers of it, and by so seeking we might summon others to similarly seek such, for the joy, for dear life. Jn1v38 "What are you seeking?" on Tuesday some suggested people today don't seek a sinner's saviour because they don't self-identify or self-understand themselves as sinners. How can they? Only to the extent that Christians understand our own many sins of commission omission thought word deed are we able to articulate a sense of the saving from such that is on offer. So too, being-toward a Christ-as-climactic-telos to the universe. Who seeks such except that they observe Christians living in the now with a visceral sense that out of every scale of conflict, blackout or desolation can emerge a sight of the Son of Man and by such substantiated expectation draw a source and motive to live out self-sacrifice in outrageous generosity.

Mk13v25-26 Things fall apart. The language here reminds me of Nietzsche on the death of God: 'What did we do when we unchained the earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving now? Away from all suns? Are we not perpetually falling? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there any up or down left? Are we not straying as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is it not more and more night coming on all the time?' Yes. And yet. 'Then the Son of Man will appear.' Things fall apart and then the Son of Man will appear. In some cases the 'appearing' is perhaps more like an awakening on our part, all our idols turned to dust, the world-collapse that we fear leaves us with nothing else. We have no immunity against such devastation. And yet, then the Christ will appear. This is the 1Tim3 secret of our religion. You can't teach this in Sunday school. 

Mk13v27-28 The cryptic and apocalyptic geometry and teleology of Jesus' universe is magic and mystic. Here his angels ministrate the ends of the earth, combing the fringe hinterlands of heaven, the shores of that more-than wormhole. Today the earth is no longer flat, so how do you picture the periphery, what edge condition does your mind's eye trace, where do the wrinkles crease to fold time as if eternity's continuum was an origami pick-a-number fortune teller? Perhaps this universe is a snow globe, perhaps we are princesses in a game of Monument Valley. Dream eagerly, with geometric abandon, dare to advance claims an imminent ultimate climax. A Beyond Belief panellist recently expressed the psychotic diagnosis she would make of Jesus, just as the Leftovers also explores mental health explications for being-towards-end-times. How do you read the signs? Figging daffs in December, the end is near.

Mk13v29-30 The beginning of the end which is always a new beginning is already happening, it was happening then & it is happening now. In the midst of death we are in life. For you died with Christ & with Christ you are raised Rm6v8 Col2v20 Col3v3 again & again & again. Jn11v25 Christ is the resurrection & the life, though we die, so shall we live, in thought, word & deed, as well as body. Resurrection, Resurrection: here & now, in my generation.

Mk13v31-32 Words, words for when the world has lost its glory, words that could move mountains, we too are outlived by memes we made. And so perhaps this verse is for me today, day two in my adventure seeking subsistence from the toil of wordsmithery. But Jesus is the virtuoso, peerlessly deft in puns and poetics (Gnats, camels, lilies and pearls.. polemics (John's baptism of heaven or man? he without sin cast the first stone..) and remixing traditions and coining neologisms ('Daily' Bread). Jesus verbal prowess pours forth from his own innate wordness, all former words anticipate him Jn5v39, and he himself is a word, the word Jn1v1, a greek alphabet soup Rv1v8, he's a typographic punch in the face, a jot and tittle muscle and bone transcendental signifier. Out of a semiotic quarry, we fashion the building blocks of grammatical constructions, but he is the cornerstone and the bedrock, the source code and the punch line. Every truth ever scribed is but footnotes of Jesus.

Mk13v33-34 Keep awake. If you're going to lie awake all night, at least do it for the right reasons, praying ceaselessly, be on your guard for the beloved coming home. Don't lie awake in distraction boredom anxiety obsession. Pay attention instead to the sharp edges of things, & rejoice.

Mk13v35-36 Wake up. We who would float down the Liffey in a dulled torpor of mental absenteeism. Wake up. Out of that stasis, as Hans Solo in carbonite, we who are frozen in fear, in debt, in slavery. Wake up. Away from your devices, resist regression to the womb of television's totalising anaesthetic [see Seller's Being There, Carrey's Cable Guy, Carpenter's They Live, Fincher's Fight Club - prophetic alarms for those raised by television to sleepwalk] Wake up. I tend more often to think of sin-as-cancer, or sin-as-calculated-commission, and less often to consider sin-as-coma ~ that neglecting to be sensate, omitting to do anything at all. Oh, light in our eyes, awake my soul. Wake up, it is a beautiful morning.

Don't think, look! 
Don't believe me, just watch 
Come & see 
Taste & see

God of the Real,
Who waits to be gracious,
Re-conscrate our attention,
Teach us to watch, wait and witness, and to name that experience, 
that we may find you at the heart of it, knocking,
And that we might invite you in to eat with us.
Through Christ our Lord.