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Year B, Ordinary 15, 2018 – Don’t Lose Your Head

July 10, 2018 / Molly Douthett / Ordinary Time

Greetings!! I’ve often told people to read the Gospel of Mark as though it were a novel; just start it and read until you get to the end. Don’t think about it – just fall into the setting and let it bear you along like a river. And, like a river, the story moves; characters enter and exit quickly and in the case of the reading for the lectionary this week, suddenly. Last week, Jesus was attempting to work some power among his hometown people and was not able to do so. He then sends his disciples out with instructions to carry his message to and heal as many people as possible. This week’s passage comes right on the heels of that story and to keep with the river metaphor, we run up against a big rock named Herod. Where did that come from? Don’t panic, though; let the story bear you past and pay attention to what happens. The scenery may change downriver, but you’ll notice some familiar patterns and people. We’ll show you some of what we noticed in the illustrations and special effects below.

 

This week’s text is:

Mark 6:14-29[01:59]

We began in WORD smart where David and I independently thought that Herodias must have sounded like Malefiecent in Disney’s Sleeping Beauting when she gave instructions to her daughter. The combination of superbly lifelike animation and a glorious voice actor made an impact on each of us, obviously! Who do YOU hear in that short response to the question in verse 24? Invite your congregation to imagine, as well. David noticed the series of choices identifying Jesus at the beginning of the passage is the same list in Mark 8:27 – is this another Mark sandwich? If it is, it’s a big one! Sort of like a Dagwood!! For an EYE smart special effect, put together a Dagwood as you identify all the ways Jesus’ identity is refined between these two lists. We thought we had nothing for MATH smart until we noticed the sentence “King Herod heard about this” and wondered what “this” is. We think it was the work the disciples did around the country; the healing and teaching and powerful work Jesus sent them to do. Word about it got around – like a viral video today – and eventually got to Herod. 

What kind of dance did Herodias’ daughter perform that pleased Herod so much? It says a lot about us that we’ve frequently interpreted it as something salacious. Could it be that this girl was simply a gifted dancer? In BODY smart, we offer some video clips of really good dancing. If you have a dancer in your congregation, ask them what they think the dance may have looked like. The MUSIC in the clips did not exist in the first century, so I went looking for something that might and found The Epitaph of Seikilos, a first century composition found engraved on a tombstone. You might use this haunting melody for a prelude or an offertory. We have a very interesting article about fetishization in PEOPLE smart; what kind of hold did John the Baptist have on Herod? And in SELF smart, we have an article about the psychology of grudges.

 


Image Credit: Photo by Felipe P. Lima Rizo on Unsplash. Used by permission.


 

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