NOW AFTER JOHN WAS ARRESTED
with Rev. Rachel
14 NOW AFTER JOHN WAS ARRESTED Mark 1
Some obscure proverbial wisdom:
Time and straw make medlars ripe. * When the fox cannot reach the grapes he says they are not ripe. † A mouse that removes the palm-nut that turns out to be the bait of a trap, would already have known that the palm-nut does not ripen on the ground. ‡
From Germany to China, in ancient Greek and Africa, for the Dutch, Scottish, English, forgotten peoples... there was and is a word for “ripe”. Ripening is universal. This very ordinary phenomenon offers that for which we have very little appetite: Common ground.
Of course God in Christ would tell agricultural parables. Is it any wonder that Mark’s Jesus tells time in terms of maturation? Paul would write to the Galatians about what happened “in the fullness of time”.
Back to Mark: I don’t want to reduce John’s arrest to a green light for Jesus. Even as it indicates the ripeness of the moment, it is tragic. This arrest preceded a death that did not have to be. It was Herod’s doing; which is to say, our drowning of those who makes waves we do not wish to surf.
I do want to lift up this moment, though. I want to wonder if God is still moving in our midst, pointing to that for which time is ripe. I want to ask if there are distinctions to be made between ripe and rotten and if these distinctions are lost on us because we have grown accustomed to fruit that is manipulated in all sorts of ways to look like what we want it to look like when we go to get it wherever we say it ought to be at the price we expect.
I’m not knocking on anyone’s bananas. I don’t know where y’all stand on this spectrum. Which permits me to sign-off with this: Yellow does not equal ripe. A fully ripe banana has spots. #7 is not rotten. You may have to open it from the bottom. [Monkeys have been waiting for us to figure that out.] What has this to do with life and life together? That’s on you :) ____________________ *Medlar:A rare fruit. †It is easy to sneer at what one cannot get. ‡Greed gets in the way of common sense.