In A Deserted Place Mark 1:29-39

30 Jan

 

 

 

Sitting Alone GWL 

 

35 In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.

This morning’s gospel is often spoken of in a  number of popular ways:

  • The importance of prayer in a quiet place. Contemplation is both a faith based and secular practice. Have noticed recently that Greta Bradman hosts a show on ABC Classical FM that takes people through the practice of mediation accompanied by classical music. Corporates are including it in their staff well-being programs because it is good for business. Universities are studying practices to ascertain which works and which doesn’t!
  • The example of Jesus to practice this throughout his ministry is used often to encourage us to do similar, to be like Jesus and take time away from our daily routine and find a regular rhythm of prayer. Commendable and appropriate.
  • The eagerness of people to capitalise on what is seen as the miraculous capacities of Jesus. In a world where the ordinary has lost its mystery people continue to seek the intervention of the miraculous to solve what appears to be unsolvable. Our nightly news holds a segment just for this purpose. It is focussed on science or medicine and promises, miracles if not now, but somewhere down the line in the future. Miracles are still promised if rarely delivered.
  • The inability of the disciples to protect him from interaction with the masses or perhaps they lived off the adrenalin of miracles and the excitement of being the centre of attention. Like political spin doctors they seem to know he needs space but are always stepping in to say the people are here, and they want to see you, it’s good for your image, publicity, and ensures that people remember you. They have a valuable asset ,and they intend to milk it for all it’s worth.
  • The connection between prayer and healing. This miracle fits in with the theme of Mark. For Mark, this shows that Jesus is the Anointed One as he has power of sin, nature, and the rulers of darkness. Healing was a process of solving both a physical and a spiritual problem, one directly connected to the other in the  thought of the day. The healing of Peter’s mother fits neatly into this world view. The fact that when healed she is immediately able to serve Jesus and the disciples  show the completeness of Jesus power the healing that occurred. There is no time needed for rehabilitation or even recuperation. The healing is so complete she goes and does what she would have done earlier, not just for one person but for all the disciples and the hangers on who were present. Amazing. Interestingly this approach to healing, trauma, grief remains embedded in our society –  we are required to follow Peter’s mother and get back to work or life as normal immediately. Or at least as soon as possible.

All I suspect, are appropriate and valid ways to interpret the scripture depending upon your personal theological perspective. Not all will agree with each other as each will see this passage as best suits their world view.

In my reading of this passage there  is a sentence that piques my interest:

35 In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.

In this sentence are two words that further piques my interest:

 

deserted place

Deserted:

empty,

abandoned,

isolated,

uninhabited,

desolate,

derelict.

 

Is that where

Jesus went

Early in the morning

Escaping

Retiring

Disappearing to

Ngurangguraang[1]

A deserted camp

Where nobody

Remained

Returned

Suspected

It to be the site

Of re-existence,

Re-animation

Renewal

A space others

No longer visited

Remembered

Hoped for

Wished to be

Dreamed of

Becoming

 

Memories

Experiences

Time

Had

Continue

To erode any

Possibility of

Life as it was

Or anew

Aspiring for

A future that

No longer

Lingered

Cowering in the

Dark recesses

Of moments best

Forgotten.

 

Sitting in

The brokenness

Of lives forsaken

Remnants of buildings

Structures designed

To last

Embarrassed by

Their failure

To survive

The enemy

Natural

Human

From within

Without

 

A siitting-down place

Yarning

By the fire

Sharing a meal

Telling stories

Drinking tea

Together

The flames flicker

Against the

Dawning sky

The outline

Of eagles

Clumps of

Mulga

Mountains

Changing colour

In the rising sun

 

These ghosts

Apparitions of

a time gone by

inhabitants of

the dreaming

the every’ when

remain

whisper

Chatter

Bemoan

Lament

Each adding

To the other

Bleeding down

Into the soul

Of Country

Of those

Who dare to sit

In this space

 

The dark

Itself

A deserted place

Empty of

The noise

Of life

Living

Laughing

Crying

Swallowed in

The blackness

Of nothingness

Of no being

Stirring

No bird

Singing

Emptiness

A cathedral

Inviting a listening

Deep within

Massaged by

The emptiness

Without

In this

Deserted place

Abandoned by a life

One comes to caress

To reinvigorate purpose

Enliven connection

Rebirth kinship

From before

The first breath

Or

tender touch

Of a breeze
on virgin flesh

Laying on the ground

Our mother

Under our father

Receiving

Once again the

gift of knowledge

only they can give

when no thing

stirs

no thing

rises belligerently

within

no thought

no opinion

no experience

just

the deep abyss

of sitting in a

deserted place.

(Pause)

39And (then) he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Wiradjuri – deserted camp

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