Mark 6:52

for they had not understood about the loaves, their minds being slow to learn.

the half-life of a call
seems extraordinarily short
one moment flush with vision
only to find our heart hardened
repeated misunderstandings

a call without a manual
increases our tendency
to turn everything into yesterday
continuing former powers
past any previous benefit

what don’t we get
let us count the ways
unaccounted for abundance
exponential expectations
our reclamation

The loaves? In the midst of a dramatic windy, stormy sea we are to remember the loaves before we were summarily sent off and Jesus went away to pray?!

This gives pause to reflect on everything up to this point. Can you go back and tick off the journey to this point? If you check your memory against the text there is a good chance that the moments forgotten weren’t really understood.

Do you understand the gaps in your understanding as do some of the languages that don’t have an easy reference for a hardened heart (which is how most English translations spell out the import of having been “changed”)? “They have hard heads” (Trique), “Their ears do not have holes” (Shipibo), or “They do not have pain in their hearts” (Tzeltal). Bratcher216 goes on to note:

Hardened indicates primarily a state of being resulting from a process, not a specific process requiring identification of the particular agent. The Greek has reference to the condition of the hearts, not the process by which they become hardened.

A part of the reader’s task is to supply meaning to that which is being read. How might the hearts of the Twelve have come to be changed away from an understanding that leads to repentant change and follow where good news leads and, instead, result in simply being amazed and baffled? It is our unthinking projections that can help us identify where the missed insight is located.

Simply remembering Chapter 6 tracks us back to connectivity and partnership. Nazareth, an immersion laboratory, Herod and John, a good lab report, boat greeted by 5,000, wanting to send them away, and sent away themselves—hardened—not understanding hospitality. To miss the loaves is to miss compassion, partnership, and mutuality.

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