Thursday, October 25, 2012

As a child


Morning begins with breakfast and a conversation with our longtime lawyer Harris. As we finish, I take him by to see the posters from our film of the “Second Meeting” to give him a feel for what we’ve been up to.

Lennard is a German filmmaker from Hamburg who is doing a documentary on Nil Frahm who played at West-Park a few weeks ago. He wants to photograph the Beckstein, get some shots for his film. He is shooting the piano as our St. Agnes guys are cleaning the sanctuary. They weave around one another in an intricate unconscious dance.

Steven and I and Teddy meet to further develop our ideas for Reformation Sunday. Only question is whether we hae enough time to pull it off. I look over my theses from the last two years and am struck by waht was written and what has changed, what remained the same. 

Martin has brought his friend Wendy back fr another visit. As always, possibilities, but.... And I remind myself that Martin and Noche are an example of a possibility that became a reality.

Anna and Puppy have returned to Bible Study as well. We begin with another Jesus and children passage.  We note that the disciples reject the children. On their first mission trip, Jesus told them that when they were not received, they were to shake the dust off and move on Here it is they who are rejecting, once again just not getting it.

So Jesus welcomes them. Then says that we must receive the kingdom as a little child. We reflect that on the one hand, there is this sense of innocence, simplicity. But then, as we reflect on our own childhoods, we realize that childhood is not always happy or simple. In fact there can be dominance, abuse, suffering. To be a child is to be defenseless and vulnerable. 

And we talk about how it makes sense that this passage follows the one on divorce, since children are the primary victims of divorce. And in Jesus day would heighten their already marginalized status. 

We come, vulnerable, exposed.

Teddy points out that child molesters do not survive well in prison. And I suggest that Jerry Sandusky was probably abused himself. Circles. Cycles. 

Which leads us to the rich young ruler. (Though nothing defines him initially as rich or a ruler..) He calls Jesus good, an invitation to respond with another status affirmation. But Jesus refuses  to play. He wants to know what he must do to inherit eternal life. But Jesus responds with don’t do’s. And he throws in an extra law, not to defraud. Which in Jesus’ day meant to deny a worker just wages. Or refuse to return what was given for safekeeping. The Upper Westside business that refuse to honor the labor laws come immediately to mind. As do the banks. 
To claim to have done all these is to put oneself at the level of Moses. Pretty audacious.

Jesus loves at him, loves him. (Nowhere else in Mark does Jesus love anyone.) Having spoken out about  commandments, Jesus seeks to live out what he called the greatest, IE, love your neighbor as yourself.  Then follows the command to leave all to the poor and follow me. And he goes away sad, because he had many possessions (literally, had much property.) To make sure everyone gets it, Jesus uses the camel and the eye of the needle metaphor for getting into the kingdom of heaven. (And it is  pointless to look for even tiny loopholes around that. He meant what he said, not a play on words about a real gate in the wall.) And then makes the claim for God’s ability to make the impossible, possible.

Peter states emphatically  that they have  left everything. Which in fact, they had. 

And yet again, the disciples don’t understand. And Jesus must remind them of the last shall be first nature of his community. And that in this age, we are destined to receive many times over what we have lost. Not, as has been accused, pie in the sky. But in this age. Eternal life will take care of itself.  

This day is the first day of a new way of being....not defined  by avarice or acquisition or consumption. And the seeds of what our children will become are already  planted. If we want a nonviolent world, we have to begin with our children and break the cycle.

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