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Moonstruck

3 Pentecost, Proper 5

9 June 2024

 





Do you think Jesus has lost his marbles?  I guess he could have, since marbles and games associated with them have been around for several thousand years. It makes me wonder if Jesus and his friends played with marbles.  (The term, interestingly enough, originated in the here in the states at a time when marbles were an expensive toy and to lose them was to lose something precious.) But I don’t think Jesus was suffering from the kind of craziness we associate with the term.  Of course I don’t think Jesus was crazy at all; he may have been the only rational person in the room.  But something was different about him in a way that upset people and when that happens we find terms to other someone.  I really think, however,  Jesus was moonstruck, not like the movie with Nicolas Cage and Cher and their truly crazy love story, but more like letting the moon strike you by night just like the psalmist tells us in Psalm 121.  (Our old friend John Milton, great English poet that he was, was the first to write of in English of being moonstruck. Milton, in Paradise lost, blamed a laundry list of disease and dysfunction on the episode of Adam, Eve, and the apple:

Demoniack phrenzy, moaping melancholy,And moon-struck madness, pining atrophy,Marasmus, and wide-wasting pestilence,Dropsies, and asthmas, and joint-racking rheums.)

While you may fear that the moon may strike you, or the sun, or that you might lose your marbles, it can also be used as a weapon against someone.  Convince folks that someone is loony tunes and they lose all credibility. Like I said, if you fear someone or something, make them different, make them an outcast.

I don’t know if you caught this or not, but Jesus was putting together quite a houseful of people.  Think about inviting all the neighbors and the neighbors’ neighbors and so on to your house.  You would have and eclectic, diverse houseful of people, which is just exactly what Jesus was aiming for. This is all about who is in the house where Jesus is the host.  This is a house where the host has lost his mind, at least in the view of certain parties. I am under the distinct impression they did not like Jesus or at least did not like what he was saying.  What better way to minimize someone’s message by accusing them of being off their rocker. Jesus is loco, alocado, disparatado. The French would say he is fou.  Do whatever you can to discredit someone who stands in your way.  I think that was the problem: Jesus stood in the way of too many people, not by raising a military force or by speaking out directly against the Romans, but by acting in a way that threatened the powerful hierarchies of his day. 

Someone who is moonstruck does not speak with the wisdom Jesus uses nor do the things that Jesus does. He directly confronts his accusers with truth: someone who is aligned with Satan would not destroy the army of Satan. The one who denies the Holy Spirit is the one in league with Satan.  Jesus is here as the one who will break into the house of Satan and defeat him.

And why is it that the house where Jesus stays is full to overflowing?  What is he saying to these people that they want to be with him, listen to him, share a meal with him?  These are his family.  They are us!  And they came to hear Jesus not because of his espousal of a creed or rules, but because he heals.  They have experienced his healing words and works and they know he has the bread they need. Those people, together in that house, are the family of choice of Jesus.  We all have families and what matters is the family that give us nourishment and whom we nourish.  The family of Christ are those people who walk in the way of God, which for Jesus is the way of healing, of salvation for all.  If our families oppose the work of love, justice, and mercy, then perhaps we need distance from them.  Most of us came from and are in families that love and nurture us, but that is not always the case.  Families can be toxic and can harm those they are supposed to care for. Abuse is all too common.  Sometimes families do not understand who we are and try to “restrain” us.  But we must broaden our definition of family to all who walk the walk and live in the way Jesus commanded us.

Mark’s lesson today is stark and unapologetic. Jesus came to create a new world, but a world that called us back to what we were meant to be at the beginning.

How do you view the concept of “sin”?  I am not one to say I have the answer, or answers.  I don’t think there is just one way to look at it, but if we think of sin and salvation as affliction and healing, we get very close to what Mark is saying.  And those who are afflicted see that Jesus has the healing remedy.

As we enter into the long season of summer, let us ponder the ways we need healing and the ways we can support each other in that healing.

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