Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Fourth Wednesday in Lent

Psalm 119: 121-144: Above this psalm is written in my Bible “The Glories of God’s Law.” Here the psalmist is not intellectualizing about the meaning of Torah but declaring in very passionate terms his love for the law, “with open mouth I pant, because I long for your commandments.” “My flesh trembles for fear of you.” “My eyes fail from watching for your salvation.” But I particularly love the last line when the psalmist asks “give me understanding that I may live,” suggesting that in addition to love and commitment, we also need to “understand.”
Imagining overhearing or participating in the psalm is both exhausting and exhilarating. It’s like a battle cry for a group of scholars who then go into their separate rooms and pore over texts, but also for the rest of us who struggle every day to live according to God’s word.
Mark 8:14-28: One’s dominant impression of Jesus in Mark’s gospel is that this Jesus is a man with a mission who has no time for foolish questions. Look and see what I am doing! Don’t you get it? I don’t know the significance of the 12 and 7 baskets left over about feeding the multitudes, presumably it does have significance, but like the disciples, I don’t get it. Then we read about the interesting cure of the blind man. First Jesus takes him by the hand out of the village. He puts saliva on his eyes and lays his hands on him. When Jesus asks him can you see anything, the man looks up and says, “I can see people but they look like trees, walking.” That doesn’t seem to be good enough; Jesus tries again and the man looks “intently” and sees everything clearly. At the end Jesus sends him away but tells him not to go into the village. Why in this very fast paced story does Mark pause to give us this interesting detail? Do the stories connect? The relationship between the blind man and Jesus is marked by none of the frustration Jesus shows with his disciples even though it takes the blind man some time to see as he is supposed to see. Clearly he doesn’t want people to look like trees, so Jesus heals him a second time. Jesus is like a doctor wanting to get it right before he sends him on his way.  

— Peggy Galloway

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