Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Like this everyday

Today the transformation begins. Martin, Teddy and my son Dan are hard at work transforming our Session room into a short term dance rehearsal studio for Noche Flamenca. After all these months of trying, they are finally coming into the house. Martin’s mom, Luli,  is overseeing the work and carrying her share of 2 x 4’s much to Dan’s amazement.
Marc comes in to give us a tour of breaker boxes so that we know what to do when lights go out like they did for Saturday night’s performance of Dem Dahk Days... RL wants to see where the breakers are for what will be his rehearsal/studio space...And Marc wants me to know that he has finally figured out my recording device and actually succeeded in recording the final performance of....Days....
Jeremy is at the piano. He’s working on a new closing song for the Sanctuary NYC services. Has to be simple, easy to get quickly. And true. I listen to him try several variations. It’s like when the optometrist is trying to get your prescription just right, or two?, this time, one, or two?  Finally there’s something that feels right.
This leads to a theological discussion of concepts like perfect and whole and abundance and prosperity.... what we agree on, what troubles us. I say that for me the joy always has to emerge out of struggle (as Jane says, God’s gonna trouble the waters...), has to be there in the midst of struggle. And for Jeremy, any theology or philosophy has to be able to have room for the pain and suffering of even one child. And he goes back to playing his new song, remembering when he walked in here a year ago during one of Woodshed’s speakeasy days. A lot of miles since then.
Ludovica has wrapped up rehearsals for her next play opening this week. 
Before he heads home for dinner, my son Dan stops into the office. He’s been watching the ins and outs all day. All the actors coming and going. The street people. Musicians. Is it like this everyday, Dad? he asks. Yeah, I say, pretty much.
Cool, he says. Yeah, I say.
I find Junia in the  sanctuary resting before Bible Study. And Teddy takes a break from the physical labor to join us. We meet in the Chapel. John R has never been there before. A good group  gathers as we turn to the end of Mark 5. Jesus heads back to the Jewish side of the lake. Two healing stories follow. 
Typical Mark sandwich. A story begins, gets interrupted, continues and its all connected. Like our work here, the unexpected interruptions become the work...Two healings. An important synagogue leader with a name, Jairus, wants his daughter healed. Then a woman who has been suffering from a hemorrhage for 12 years approaches Jesus, touches his hem and is healed. He feels it, asks, fearfully she owns up. And he honors her faith and calls her daughter. 
By now, word comes that Jairus’ daughter has died. No point to go now. Jesus says, no, just sleeping.  And brings his inner circle with him. Gets there. People scoff.he sends them out. Raises up the girl. Tells them not to say anything about it. 
We note:
  • The unnamed woman would be socially and ritually segregated because of her condition
  • Her approaching Jesus, touching him, violates all kinds of social and religious conventions. Listeners would find this offensive.
  • She had to have faith before acting
  • The healing makes her whole, that is, not only physically but socially restored as well. 
  • When Jesus calls her daughter, this gives us a story of two daughters, from opposite ends of the social spectrum. 
  • Her healing before Jairus’ daughter is a sign of the social reversal the kin(g)dom of God, the beloved community, will be. 
  • As the unnamed woman had lived through twelve years of exclusion, Jairus’ daughter had lived through twelve years of privilege
  • Jesus has to ignore the report of death, just as those at the end of the gospel will have to ignore the report of his death
  • The reaction of amazement at the little girl’s raising is the same word used in response to the empty tomb.
  • Jesus, request for keeping it quiet is probably strategic. A question of timing. Wants people to get the difference between his witness and magic. About building a new reality, a new community, not individual miracles. 
Then we have the story of Jesus’ rejection in his hometown. Comments:
  • When they call him the carpenter, it’s like who does he think he is? An unmarried 30 year old, living at home, all of a sudden he’s preaching in the synagogue...(By the way, what did he say? That made them say where did he get this? Something about the social order? 
  • Family concerned about him, bit also probably their own position
  • When they call him Mary’s son, it;s like calling him a bastard, a child of an  unwed mother. No miraculous birth story in this gospel.
  • With no faith, he can do no great works...that’s why it’s not magic...
And that’s why he needs to call 12 to carry on his work. Spread it out. 
  • Two by two: you can’t go alone
  • Going empty handed. Have to rely on the people, therefore have to develop relationships of trust, have to know them 
  • Know when to shake the dust off your feet, wash your hands of the matter, move on...don’t keep beating your head against the wall. 
  • And so they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them. (6: 13)
(The above comments came from our group and several emerged from our reading of Binding the Strongman by Ched Meyer.)
It’s been a goodnight. I can hear the work in the session room continuing. 

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