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Insider, outsider...

‘Looking, they will not perceive and listening, they will not understand’
In Mark 4:12, Jesus quotes this saying with approval and announces that he will mystify and obstruct those seeking to understand his message. Unexpected and strange words!
The disciples are promised an insider’s prerogative of secret instruction but what they receive from Jesus, in vv13-20, is less than compelling.

Water, water, everywhere...

‘Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink...’ This famous line from ‘The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner’ gained new meaning for me when I was travelling through India. Indeed, there is water almost everywhere in India but to drink even a drop is to become rapidly familiar with ‘Delhi belly’! I got by on Coke. I quite like an occasional Coke. However, for months on end, including for brushing teeth, it loses its appeal. For us living in Sydney, clean, fresh, drinking water is just a tap turn away. That’s not the case for 780 million people in the world, according to a recent UN report.

Where should we look? Up or down?

Above is a photo of a remarkable mosaic inside the Aya Sofia, an ancient and imposing church in Istanbul. The mosaic, dating from 944 CE, is both beautiful and troubling. Why troubling? In it, is depicted Mary, denoted ‘Mother of God’, with an infant Jesus on her lap. He is dressed in gold and his head is surrounded by a halo. The holy pair sits at the centre of the mosaic, receiving honour, deference and gifts from the Emperor Constantine, on the right, and the Emperor Justinian, on her left.

What do you see?

What do you see: a glass/vase or 2 faces? Can you see both at the same time? I can’t. It’s the same picture but there are 2 entirely different perceptions possible. In a word, we do have choice as to how we make sense and meaning of life. Last Sunday we looked at Mark 8:22-26; a man is having trouble working out what it is that he is seeing. He perceives people who look like trees. Are they people or trees? What he perceives is a lack of clarity. The man is representative of all of us who, following the vision of Jesus, are often unclear as to how we should view the world.

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