Mark 13:18

Pray, too, that this may not occur in winter.

whether we have seen
promising flowers
or their nascent fruit
inexorably growing
or even picked
at their height
or stored away
for later
or flourishing
for years on end
here comes
a famine
of human kindness
ravenous for
next year’s seed
in the face of only now
tomorrow stands no chance
of being prayed close

Not everywhere has a “winter”. The prayer is that nothing physically impede a retreat.

Taking into account the persistence of predictions of “the end of time”, the stimuli for such warnings range widely. Our tendency to want to be horrified within safe boundaries (note the popularity of horror films or even extreme roller-coasters) is sufficient reason to see this chapter as more apocalyptic than necessary.

Wars and rumors of war and disrespect and dishonoring of women and children need addressing in every generation. These are not the end, but a sigh and sign of the witness still needed regarding changed hearts.

The days leading up to and during the sack of Jerusalem and the crucifixion of thousands of Jews is certainly the biggest of reasons to project a “cosmic catastrophe” (Wright183). For those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, there are any number of additional trigger points for this chapter—Pilate’s setting up Roman standards in Jerusalem or the continued silence of the Herodians to the effect of occupation or the High Priests’ privileged position or the Sadducee’s over-reliance on Moses or the Pharisee’s attempts to mediate overarching rules in a contextual setting or the Disciple’s on-going missing of Jesus’ way or the Crowd’s manic/depressive cycle or Readers so resistant to claiming their belovedness or something too simple and ordinary for us to credit.

Sabin2119sums up Jesus’ use of apocalyptic images:

…Mark shows that while Jesus uses some apocalyptic terms, he does not share that perspective. In Chapter 4, we looked at the way Mark shows Jesus telling the apocalyptic parable (the sower), and then two more parables that reverse its meaning (the seed growing secretly and the mustard seed). In the same way here, Mark shows Jesus using the apocalyptic language of some contemporary writers in order to show how he differs from their point of view.

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