Sunday, May 27, 2018

Mark 2.23-3.6: Who's Watching Jesus?

The image is descriptive. As scripture says, Jesus and his disciples were walking through a grain field. They picked some grain. But it was the sabbath, and picking grain, according to the Pharisees, was work. Forbidden on the Sabbath (Mark 2:23-3:6, Proper 4 (9), Pentecost 2B).

But Smetham's work shows no Pharisees. Instead a woman and a child look across the field from the left side of the picture. The woman points at Jesus and the disciples. But no Pharisees.
James Smetham. Lord of the Sabbath. 1681. Etching on Paper.  London: Tate Museum.
What is she saying to the child? Why is she pointing toward Jesus? Is he an example of how she wants the child to live and what she wants the child to do? Or is Jesus being highlighted as a warning and an example of what not to do? 

And what about the birds? Are they doves flying in to symbolize peace? Bringing a meaning beyond the physical setting? Or are they birds flying in to feast on ripening grain as birds do? Are they doing naturally what will get Jesus and the disciples in trouble? Eating grain...even on Sunday?

How do you read this version of the gospel text?

On Facebook this week, a vintage pop culture image meets I Samuel 3. 

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