Scratchy heed, Miss

26 05 2012

In a previous life, I was a secondary school teacher in the north east of Scotland.  It was not my home area and at first I struggled with understanding the dialect.  But this little phrase was commonly used, and didn’t need translating – “Scratchy heed, Miss.”  It was used if pupils didn’t understand what they had to do, or if a classmate gave a wrong answer, and probably (under their breath) about my struggles with their dialect.  Something didn’t make sense and needed to be addressed.

A couple of weeks ago, I was pleased to see that my readings were taking me to Mark’s gospel – easy reading, familiar ground, nice stories.  It didn’t pan out as I expected and I was left many times saying, “Scratchy heed, Jesus”,  like when –

  • Crowds are flocking to Jesus for healing.  He’s getting a reputation as a miracle worker who will meet people’s needs, but it’s the “evil spirits” who identify him as “the Son of God”.  Are they the ones who know who he really is?
  • 12 men are chosen to take Jesus’ message “out”, but when things get stormy, they’re not even sure who Jesus is.  They have given up their jobs and changed their lifestyle to follow and are now asking, “who is this man, that even the winds and waves obey him?”  Should they not have checked him out better?  This is scary, but is it scarier to be in the storm, or in the presence of the one who calms the storm?
  • Jesus is misunderstood even by his closest family who think he’s crazy and he doesn’t do anything to persuade them otherwise.  Can a Mum be wrong?!  And when the religious leaders suggest that he is demon-possessed, he replies with stories.  Wouldn’t you want to defend yourself rather than have a “once upon a time” session?
  • And what about the parables?  I supposed that parables are a teaching technique to make what Jesus says easier to understand, but…wrong.  “I am using these stories to conceal everything about [the Kingdom of God] from outsiders.” (Mark 4:11)

Through all my “scratchy heed” moments (and this is only chapters 3 and 4), Jesus’ words to the guys in the boat niggle away.  This time, it’s his question – “Do you still not have faith in me?”  And that sets off a raft of other musings…

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