Mark 3:17

James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John (to whom he gave the name of Boanerges, which means the Thunderers),


lighting strike
sparked
in a moment
lasting no longer

connecting
earth and sky
revealing
stored energy

too fast
for eye
lingering
in ear

leaving
fresh scent
heart stopping
thunderclap

may beloved
lightening
be your
thunder


The various listings of disciples gives fits every time we try to link one list to another. This verse exemplifies the difficulties.

Nicknames are extended past Simon/Peter/Rock to the next two of Jesus’ “kitchen cabinet”—James and John. This tradition of second names ends with “Boanerges” that has no good translation.

As “thunderers”, are James and John, and, by extension, all followers, to thunder out a message of goodness? Or are the more entertaining suggestions of The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible more apt—“they either spoke boldly and vigorously, experienced a sudden awakening, or perhaps survived a lightening strike.

It would seem that Jesus H. Christ and George W. Bush at least have a penchant for nicknames in common. [Go ahead: smile.]

While we are paused here, there are ancient traditions regarding twins that may show up in the calling of brothers (twins?) and others in pairs. There is also the sending out of followers in pairs.

There is sometimes a sense of twins giving us insight into the human/divine relationship with both having both attributes or one caring the human and the other carrying the divine. Depending on how far back one goes there are tales that will support every combination. The Cult of Twins (Dioskouroi) was still being noted in the church by the fifth-century pope Gelasius I. The connection with Castor and Pollux and at least Pollux’s father Zeus (a God of Thunder) adds to unnumbered stories that can be triggered by the uncertainty of Boanerges.

Additional connections have been noted with a fourth-century depiction of the iconic twins alongside the Apostles, Lazarus, and Peter [beginning references for these last two paragraphs can be found in the Wikipedia article, “Castor and Pollux”].

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