09 Jan

Images and Text By Rick McVicar             

     In the Gospel of Mark, lakes are provided for the masses while mountains are reserved for Jesus and his crew. 

     After healing a man with a withered hand, Jesus goes to a lake to meet a crowd. He then goes to a mountainside to choose his disciples (3:7-19, NIV).     

A group of trees painted in the middle of an eye.

Click on the digital watercolor to go to a Youtube animated video praising God's blessings.

     The two locations offer a stark contrast between Jesus’ public and private lives. Publicly, Jesus is water. Privately, Jesus is a mountain. These two references to nature provide rich metaphors for who Jesus is. They can be imagined as going hand in hand, as mountains create rapidly flowing streams of water cascading into lakes. Jesus is no Jekyll and Hyde, with the public and private being opposed to each other.  

     Instead. the strength of Jesus’ private life, majestic as a mountain, provides the terrain needed to create nourishing lakes. 

     Jesus provides nourishment by a lake when he heals sick people in a gathered crowd. People have come from several regions to meet Jesus. There are so many people that Jesus must board a boat to have a place to sit so he is not crushed by the crowd (3:7-10, NIV). He offers healing while perched on the boat by touching people, who are “pushing forward” against each other (3:10). 

     After living through the COVOD-19 pandemic, we all know how this story might take a wrong turn.  An outbreak of contagious diseases is likely to occur when people return home. Apparently, the writer of Mark is completely unaware of germs and how diseases are spread.

     So are we to give Jesus a pass at possibly doing more harm than good when he goes on a healing mission? After all, he could not be expected to know about diseases. In the time he lived, discases were explained by demons. Why should we expect Jesus to know about germs?

     I don’t know, can we be expected to know how the use of fossil fuels impacts our planet’s atmosphere? Isn’t climate denying the same as germ denying? Oh, we’ve been through that too with the COVID-19 pandemic, such as seen in the backlash against masks and vaccines.

     Jesus healing throngs of people pushed up against each other raises thorny issues for us. I take it that’s the whole purpose of Mark’s writing.             

     With these thoughts in mind, I hope you maintain artful health.      

A red monster at the bottom of a woodcut picture of a man's smiling face.

Click on picture to go to animated poetry video on YouTube featuring poetry based on Mark.

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