16 Apr

Text and image by Rick McVicar             

      After acting supernaturally by walking on water, Jesus returns to the material world when he lands on shore (Mark 6:53-56, NRSV).             

     At Gennesaret, his disciples moor their boat. Large crowds bring the sick to Jesus on mats in the middle of marketplaces. They are healed by touching the “fringe of his cloak” (v. 56). The choice of words in this story, moor, mat, marketplace and fringe, delivers images that call on the reader to be present in the material world. 

     Do not be focused on the spiritual realm to the detriment of the material world, the gospel writer is telling us. 

     The details of physical items convey a message that Jesus is a part of the physical world. He does not stay floating across the sea as a supernatural being for very long. He does not glide across the sky above the fray.             

     In fact, while Jesus travels the countryside, he is prone to stop at marketplaces where crowds can find him. While he may occasionally seek solitary places for prayer, he does not stay there for long.             

     No, instead Jesus literally sees the “marketplace of ideas” as his primary place for ministry. The marketplace is where he likes to heal as well as preach.             

     So besides crowds, what can be found in those places? Peddlers lining their pockets, meat hanging on hooks and garments dangling from racks, I would imagine.  

     Marketplaces are full of items from the material world, which stand in stark contrast to the supernatural events of Jesus’ miracles. 

     In my last story, writing about Jesus walking on water, I conclude that Mark is giving us a choice to either take part in controlling nature or being in tune with nature. I think that in this passage, Mark is clearly making a decision to be in tune with nature. 

     May you have artful health the next time you visit a marketplace.        

A man with a long nose.

"A Nose for Markets" Click on the image to go to a trance music video on YouTube.

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