Thursday, August 16, 2012

Questions for going deeper with the Scriptures for Sunday, August 19th    
Mark 14:32-72

"The killing of Jesus, however incidental to the tasks of governance for the Roman and Jewish authorities, masks the worst in human brutality. Regimes do this to people in the name of all kinds of claims to common good and, not least, to the furtherance of peace. People do this to people, when anger and fear conspire to suppress love and goodness. We all do it. Mark's is an 'in your face'  account of the killing of love."

Theological Themes:
This week’s passage in our ongoing reading of Mark, is commonly read on Good Friday, as the passion narrative.  Other texts habitually read with it are Isaiah 50:1-9 and Philippians 2:5-10.  We reflect and celebrate the paradoxical horror of Good Friday because, as the world continues to turn upside down, Jesus is still at work transforming lives, transforming governments, and transforming societies.  That’s the theological affirmation underneath this story of suffering, desertion and ultimately death and finally new life.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Questions for going deeper with the Scriptures for Sunday, August 5th   
  Mark 14:12-31

As we finish our reading of Mark’s gospel, we arrive at the climactic end (and re-beginning) of the story of Jesus.  I’m struck by the way in which the passage for today, commonly called “the Last Supper” is presented as customary, normal, the established way of celebrating the Passover: the ritual meal that creates community and names the love of a God who delivered the Hebrews from slavery in Ancient Egypt.  Jesus takes this “normal” or “customary” way of explaining God, naming God’s love and experiencing God’s freedom and reinterprets it, turning it upside down and right side up.  His interpretation of the meal is sandwiched between two stories of betrayal, denial and desertion.  His love – best summarized in the offering of the communion meal – seems to be ineffective, not stopping betrayal, but preceding it; not preventing denial but rather naming it.  Is the Love of Jesus that we invoke, proclaim and ask for merely a metaphor?  Is it just pretty words intended to make us feel better in our own betrayals and suffering?  How can it be true when Jesus seems to be a failure more than a victor in the story of the cross?