16 October 2006

Mark 7:1-8:10

This morning at 10 Eastern Standard Time, Norma, a friend of mine, called to invite me to Bible Study. She let me know that there would be a picnic, so to pack myself a lunch. She told me to meet her at the church at noon. So I called John and told him about Norma's call so he would know where I was in case he needed to get a hold of me. Then I called Bowser to set up an appointment to get the right rear wheel bearing replaced, and get a wheel alignment done. I was informed that the alignment would cost $69.95, and the labor for the wheel bearing would be about $100.00. For the price of the wheel bearing itself, they transferred me to to the parts department where I was told to leave a message, which I did. While in the kitchen putting together the picnic lunch, Bowser called back and informed me that the part would be $141.51.

Since I was doing laundry, I made sure the washer and dryer had stopped, and that the back door was shut and locked.

Time was running short, so I did not put any makeup on, and just wore my hair in a pony tail. I threw on a pair of flannel lined blue jeans and burgandy colored pullover with black trim. And I wore my gray hiking sandles.

The cats made sure I had cleaned their water dishes and fed them before I left.

Norma had called back to let me know she was picking me up at 11:45 instead. So I made sure I was out the door at a quarter til noon.

I did not see any sign of Norma, so I walked to the corner and checked my mailbox. Mail had not come yet.

When Norma arrived, she was dressed ready for the Red Hatters meeting later this evening. She was completely in red and purple. Red Hatters is where I met Norma. I was a pink hatter. For me, Red Hatters was not fun, but Norma really enjoys it. Then again, Norma is a widow in her 70's, where I am married and 42, so it makes sense we would find different stuff enjoyable.

After Norma picked me up, we stopped to pick up another friend of Norma's who goes to Norma's church. She was really nice with pretty pale blue eyes and a pale sand coral sweater who looked to be about Norma's age. When we got to the church meeting spot, there was another woman there with pretty pale skin who looked like she was in the age group of the other 2 women. Then came the pastor who was about my age.

We all got on the bus. The pastor drove. I sat behind the pastor. The lady with the pale blue eyes sat behind me. Norma sat across from me. The woman with the pretty pale complexion who also smoked sat behind Norma. The leaves were beautiful on our way to Ohiopyle where we ate our picnic lunches by the level 1 rapids.

Norma and I shared greek country olives, feta cheese, pita flat bread, lipini beans, pumpkins seeds mixed with sesame seeds, organic granola bars, fruit (Norma ate a banana while I had an orange), and drinks (Norma drank bottled water while I had the Coke zero). It was a great lunch. After lunch, the minister had layed out 3 blankets for us to all sit on during Bible study. Before we had even gotten on the bus, he had passed out Bibles.

This was the Bible Study from the paper the minister had handed out:

I. Session 6- The Inclusivity of the Kingdom: Mark 7:1-8:10

A. Purity Rules and an Honor Challenge, 7:1-5. Critics of Jesus grows. Mark explains purity rules for Gentile readers. Holiness is the concern, not hygiene. The external was more important to them than the internal. Those who were unclean could not enter the sanctuary for fear they would makeit unclean; women, gentiles, Jews with imperfect bodies, etc. The scribes from Jerusalem want to discredit Jesus, for no true holy man would fail to follow the purity laws.

B. The Disciples Eat Bread with Unwashed Hands: Table fellowship should bring communities together, but purity rules would separate Jews and Gentiles.

C. Jesus' Response to the Challenge: Not Subtle, 7:6-13. Corban refers to an offering dedicated to God so that it cannot be used for other purposes, including care for parents. Jesus' words suggest some were using it to let themselves "off the hook" of parental care and that the religious leadership endorsed the practice (for the money would eventually go to the temple). Thus, he says, they have "made void" the work of God. Jesus Subverts the Sribes' and Pharisees' View of Purity, 7:14-23. The rules for who is holy and who is not are tossed out. Remember that in Mark a parable is any teaching that "stands the world on its head," and this one does. Though Jesus seems displease with their lack of understanding again (4:10-13), he graciously explains. Purity, he said, is a matter of the heart (7:18-21), which means that a Gentile could be as pure as a Jew, a woman as pure as a man, a leper as pure as a priest. Mark's editorial addition, "thus he declared all foods clean," makes clear his understanding that when the kingdom of God draws near, everyone is welcome at the table.

D. The Syrophoemician Woman and the Children's Bread, 7:24-30. As a Gentile and a female, this woman was automatically unclean to a Jewish man, but there's more. The association of Phoenicia with ancient Jewish struggles over foreign religious practices, especially temple prostitution, means "syrophoenican" could indicate a woman from the "seamier" side of a city. Furthermore, this woman approached Jesus, a Jewish man with a religious vocation to whom she was unknown and unrelated, so that she has stepped out of "her place." She did so on behalf of her daughter, a further liability since sons, not daughters, wer rthe focus of a family's hopes. Finally, her daughter was possessed by an "unclean" spirit, a note that completes the portrait of a thoroghly impure woman--female, foreign, pagan, sexually suspect, inappropriately assertive, and "home" to an unclean spirit. Does the crude response of Jesus show his humanness? Can Jesus grow, mature?

E. "Be Opened!" 7:31-37. Jesus stays in Gentile territory, opening the eyes and ears fo those who will see and listen.

F. Bread for the Gentiles, 8:1-10. Since the feeding of the five thousand, we've noted the references to bread (Greek, artos) in this part of Mark's story: Jesus fed them artos in the wilderness, the disciples in the boat didn't understand about the artos, the diciples ate artos with unwashed hands, the children's artos should not be fed to the dogs. In and around these stories, Jesus has undone the puity rules that divided Jews and Gentiles, making it possible for everyone to come to his table. Now this section of Mark comes to a close with Jesus again feeding bread (artos) to a multitude in the wilderness (8:1-10). The story is remarkable similar to the first feeding story: Jesus had been teaching the people for a while, the diciples are clueless, they have but a few loaves and fish to share, yet everyone eats and is satisfied. The key difference is that this feeding happens in Gentile territory. The boundaries (the sea; the purity rules) have been crossed, the bread has been shared, everyone has been filled. The kingdom of God had drawn near. So, do we understand about the bread?

I got this picture of Korban Inscription from http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/israel/korban-inscription.html .

After Bible study today, I did some research on the internet and found some archaeology that has to do with today's bible study:

This Korban Inscription is a fragment of a stone vessel excavated at the ruins of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. On the fragment are the 4 Hebrew consonants KRBN (kaph, resh, beth, nun), which spell the Hebrew word "korban" meaning "sacrifice." The inscribed word is the same word used by Jesus in Mark 7. With the inscription are two inscribed doves or pigeons. The Korban Inscription is from the time of Jesus and kept at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. The Korban Inscription discovery is important in the study of Biblical Archaeology because the word is mentioned by Jesus in the New Testament.

"But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye." Mark 7:11-13

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