“I tell you that if anyone should say to this hill ‘Be lifted up and hurled into the sea!’, without ever a doubt in his mind, but in the faith that what he says will be done, he would find that it would be.
mountains and molehills
are scalable relatives
one adding to another
a single dust mote
collapsing upon itself
falling down or pulled under
it will happen
intended or not
We have long been captivated by the notion that our ideas manifest and shape the world around us. There is a bit more humility in an alternative translation that would invite the Temple Mount to “take and throw yourself” into the sea.
In either case there is always the out that we use to excuse not having the faith of G*D. One way or another doubt creeps in below a confident voice to subvert such a demonstrative intention.
Continuing with alternative readings, we come to the conclusion that “what they say shall be granted” (it is not a direct command to a mountain but to a creator of mountains.
Both of these alternatives wear better in light of an expected renewal of the fig tree at the end of an age. They come with the same appreciation of something beyond our usual modes of changing the world and rely upon partnerships with G*D and Neighb*r.
We remember here the rich person seeking eternity and the dismay of the disciples that a rich (“blessed by G*D”) person would not have an automatic ticket to heaven. Who then can make it? Who then can have this kind of faith.
Mark’s writing takes place in a time of confusion and opportunity with the Temple having been destroyed, adjustments being made by the Jewish community to another round of defeat and destruction, and followers of Jesus having choices about following Peter or Paul or another (James and John?). In context, a word of encouragement is well in order and an assurance of making a dramatic difference would be very welcome as long as not too big a deal is made—for it also brings the risk of disillusionment when a mountain path is not made smooth.