the mystery of mindfulness part 3

Sometimes we need to focus on the riddles and mysterious statements Jesus makes, staying with just the one or two verses of that riddling.

For example what does Jesus mean when he says this in Mark 4:21-24?

He said to them, ‘Do you bring a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”

‘Consider carefully [see] what you hear,’ he continued. ‘With the measure you use, it will be measured to you – and even more. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.’

A clue is that this has to be considered in the context of the rest of Mark 4. Two key questions are: what is the lamp, and what is being measured?

 Jesus was a riddler. And wrestling with riddles sparks new neural pathways in our neuroplastic brains.

So what does Jesus mean when he says this in Mark 4:21-24?

He said to them, ‘Do you bring a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”

‘Consider carefully [see] what you hear,’ he continued. ‘With the measure you use, it will be measured to you – and even more. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.’

In the context of Mark 4 which is about the seed and the sower, with the seed being the Word of God, the lamp is also the Word of God. The echo is of Psalm 119:105,  ‘Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.’ But what is being measured? And what will be received? The clue is in what the good soil represents in the parable of the seed and the sower. And the answer is worth waiting for. The answer makes Jesus a major contemporary player in a key cultural phenomenon.

The good soil is the attentive listener the one who attentively hears the Word of God. Another aspect of Mark chapter 4 is the hidden nature of God’s revelation, which also requires us to be attentive. Jesus begins the parable of the sower, with the imperative, ‘Listen!’ He ends it with ‘He who has ears to hear let him hear.’

He repeats this with a variation in verse 23, ‘If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.’ This is followed up so that we get the point about being attentive hearers with ‘Consider carefully what you hear, in verse 24. Literally he says ‘see what you hear.’ Akouein in verse 23 is apparently a present imperative which means a continuous turning to God’s Word in attentive hearing.

What are we listening for? We are listening for God’s revelation. What Jesus is saying is that the more attentive we are the more revelation we will receive. With the measure you use (of attentiveness) it (revelation) will be measured to you (v.24).

 The sad thing is that we don’t value this attentive listening (a Christian version of mindfulness) to the Word of God in a continuous way. Of course we have to ask, ‘how do we do it?’, and that is another matter. Jesus is the master and commander of attention and we should listen attentively to him.

 

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