We had a “normal” meeting for the first time in weeks today. Conversations focused on assignments, shows, and exams in addition to our plans for the not so distant future. As is our custom, we began the Noonday Office at 12:30, and continued to read from the Gospel of Mark.
This week we read the calling of the disciples (Mk 13:3-19), Jesus’ parable of the house divided / binding the strong man (3:21-30), and the Jesus’ restructuring of the human family (3:31-35). Our insights were:
Sons of Thunder = an awesome name
When Jesus talked about Beelzebul & Satan, was he speaking literally or metaphorically? How much weight did these characters have in society?
Satan as a stand in for things that rebel against God allows us to think about those things in modern terms: consumerism, Empire, greed, and anything else that tells us we belong to something other than God. In that sense, the worst parts of any age are attempting to plunder from God’s treasure – creation.
Finally, we noted that Jesus fundamentally breaks down the human family in his statement about mothers/brothers/sisters. The family unit, the most exclusive community, ended up with an invitation to inclusivity and permeable boundaries. Still, we had to ask ourselves how this might make people in the crowd feel. For instance, did Mary suddenly feel out of place? Were those with conservative family values now fundamentally opposed to listening to the preaching of Jesus? Particularly insightful was the imagining that in the crowd there were probably the elderly and the orphan, two groups who had possibly lost all their biological families; Jesus’ words indicating that they belonged anyway. We ended our Bible study with this grace-filled wondering.