Written by Martin Copenhaver
"Do you have eyes, and fail to see? Do you have ears, and fail to hear?" - Mark 8:14-21
I have always identified with the disciples as they are depicted in Mark's gospel. Far from holy and wholly together, they are the original "Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight," fumbling and fickle, often missing the point. In fact, the first sermon I preached after I was ordained was on this passage and I picked up on these themes. It was entitled, "God's Holy Fool," which was my description of the original disciples. Unfortunately, I didn't think about how that title would look on the board outside the church: "God's Holy Fool, Martin B. Copenhaver, preaching." Anyway, I digress (which isn't easy to do in 250 words!)…
In this passage, Jesus is speaking to his disciples after the multiplication of loaves and fishes. They were present when the crowds were fed. They had picked up the baskets of scraps that were left over after everyone had their fill. But when Jesus asks them to recall what happened, they simply report the facts: five loaves for five thousand people and twelve baskets of scraps. Jesus had given them a stunning glimpse of God's power and all they could see or remember was a picnic in the sun.
I wouldn't be so dim-witted. I wouldn't miss a miracle like that. But then I remember that the word miracle literally means,"sign that points to God." So, yes, I am still one of God's holy fools, because I am quite sure that I miss miracles—signs that point to God—every day.
Jesus, thank you that you love me and claim me as your own, even when I am being a dim-witted fool. Amen.
Martin B. Copenhaver is the President of Andover Newton Theological School, Newton Centre, Massachusetts. His most recent book is Jesus is the Question: The 307 Questions Jesus Asked and the 3 He Answered.