I want to talk about being ‘cracked’ and how inevitable and how life saving that is;
and I want to talk about companionship and who’s at the table. And I have some questions about insiders and outsiders.
So craziness, being ‘cracked’ and companionship
- these are all in our gospel today. But before I come to those three things, I want to point out a couple of things about the structure of today’s reading, because I think that Mark is talking to us through the very structure he has chosen. For Mark makes use of two clever literary devices to tell today’s stories. The first is something technically called ‘intercalation’, that is to say ‘a story within a story’. So what we have here is the story of Jesus’s family and their relationship with him under stress, interrupted by the story of Jesus’s conflict with some scribes sent from Jerusalem. When a writer puts one story inside another like this, it serves to intensify both, and to create parallels and comparisons between the two. By doing this, Mark is also able to create what is called a ‘chaistic’ story, that is to say one that has a shape that goes in and then comes out, a bit like an hourglass. Think of it as going A1, B1, C, B2,A2. So what we have is the first bit about the family, then a bit about the scribes, then Jesus parables and teaching, then another bit about the scribes and finally another bit about the family. What does that do? Well it helps us know that the really important bit, the bit that makes sense of the rest and transforms it, is in the middle, - not surprisingly in Jesus parables and teaching. This is the inside teaching, aimed at making the outsiders the insiders. You will see what I mean as we go along...