Mark 4:10

Afterward, when he was alone, his followers and the Twelve asked him about his parables;


a parable explained
loses its koan effect
and fades faster
than a frog dissected

kids are trained
to not meditate
claiming too early
I don’t know

adults are trained
to say more than is known
exclaiming too early
here’s what it means

a dangerous precedent is set
turning mystery to fact
parable to allegory
a response to answer


For a story built on, BANG, next!, Mark knows how to slow down to a crawl. Any attempt to teach the point of a parable rather than let it grow of its own accord, simply stops time as well as thought.

It is this drilling down that brings forward a suggestion that this is a key moment solidifying the prologue and first act. An announcement was made, tied to prophets old and new; an initial vision and testing developed into healings, exorcisms, and teachings; a conflict with the formal and informal powers was clarified.

No amount of allegorizing this insight about planting and growth will move us onward, but the pedantic explanation given can misdirect our attention. So we will simply spend time here, letting the story settle into the soil of our life and lives. Then we will reprise what we have covered with a revisiting of Baptizer John, healing, exorcism, acts of wonder, feasting, and teaching up to a time of arrest.

This approach places this story at the center of the action. A dove has been planted, like a seed, into Jesus. It found a nurturing place from which to grow. It is on its way to producing more greatness after Jesus is gone. The process is sure.

There are those who place Mark’s turning point at Peter’s affirmation of Jesus as Messiah. Do remember that Jesus silences this and returns to an allusion to this parable with comments about dying and rising as well as a rebuke to Peter for separating Messiah/Christ from the kind of sacrifice a simple seed does as part of its life cycle.

Do your best to continue remembering the sweep of the parable of seed and soil as we plod our way through a choking of the parable with explanations that do not move us ahead. Remember the flow even in the mini-tsunami of additional parables that add other qualities to that of growth.

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