Sermon for Lent 1 – Year C – Sunday February 17th 2013

Sermon for Lent 1 – 2013 – Year C
Deuteronomy 26:1-11
Psalm 91
Romans 10:8b-13
Luke 4:1-13

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

‘that we may receive mercy and find grace in time of need . . .’

Just this week I heard the story of a man who was in some dire circumstances in his life and went in search of help to a monastery. As is the custom, he was given a director for his time of retreat and he poured out all his problems to the monk, but the monk didn’t respond to them, instead he told him to spend the day meditating on a portion of scripture. Well the man went to his room and for the whole day meditated on the scripture – but nothing came, nothing happened.
The next morning her returned to the monk and told him and started to tell him all his problems again, after all THAT was what he wanted sorting out, but again the monk didn’t respond to anything the man had sent, and gave him a passage from scripture to meditate on – the same one. So again, the man went away and spent another day with this passage – and it was like a brick wall to him – it wasn’t giving him answers – it wasn’t solving his problem. Well the third morning he goes back to the director and the same thing happens, he tries to pour it all out to this monk who doesn’t seem to be interested in him and his problems and again the monk gives him the same passage of scripture, and about half way through the day, God broke through.

What this story illustrates is how distracted we are, how consumed with ourselves -the man was so tied up listening to his story and rehearsing it over and over again, it took God two and a half days to get through to him. And in many ways, distraction is the root of our problems. This past week I have been on retreat. Seven days ‘Away from it all!!’ Sounds wonderful doesn’t it. Seven days when you can leave everything behind and just concentrate on God . . . Well you only need to go away from everything else – all those things that you think are getting in the way of your relationship with God, to understand that they follow you – you carry them around with you. That the problem you have Isn’t with all those people and situations – it is the problem of your heart, that wants to pay attention to anything, rather than to God.

Put yourself in the situation of that man at the monastery – I wonder – could we meditate on a short passage of scripture for an hour, even . . . he has to sit with it for two and a half days, so distracted is he. The problem isn’t that the scriptures are unclear, it is that we are deaf ad blind and we need healing, we need the distractions stripped away. We don’t know how distracted we are from God, until God is all we have

Way back, in the Garden, the snake employs just this technique. The MAn and the Woman had their attention on God, and like a conjourer, the snake distracts them, and all of a sudden God has disappeared – Here ‘look at this tree, look how good the fruit is to eat, don’t pay attention to God . . . and they look at the tree’. And distracted, they forget whose children they are, they forget what the source of their life is . . . And here is the tragedy – we forget who we are – this is why we sin. We forget whose children we are.

And so we come to the season of Lent – it is a time when we follow Jesus into the wilderness – it is a time of preparing ourselves for Easter, and there is only one way we can do that, by dying to our selves – by refusing to make ourselves and our endless stories about our lives the centre of everything. And Lent to be properly observed needs to have Wilderness space in it – Empty space – Space where you are just left with yourself, without distractions – place where we discover that in general we have ordered the universe around ourselves not God

Jesus full of the Spirit, returned from the Jordan, returned from his baptism where God had declared him to be his Son and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. Tempted, tested – had that word from heaven, had that sense of who he was, had it sunk into the very fibre of his being? – or was it just another thought – ready to be blown away. Everyone of the temptations a distraction from the Life of God his Father.  – Everyone of the temptations to deny God – to deny who he was, cleverly dressed up as an opportunity to prove who he was, to make himself the centre of the story.

he was famished, and the devil said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God . . . an invitation not to faith but to doubt . . . command this stone to become a loaf of bread’ As Alexander Schmemann notes – the temptation involves food, just like the apple in the garden of Eden – food is a great distraction. We even eat to avoid things. Unlike Adam and Eve of course, Jesus is famished – they are so much more like us – they have Everything they could possibly need. Jesus is alone, with no food, and here he reveals how it is God, not the food that is the true source of his life. God my Father is the provider . . . I rest in his provision.

I am reminded here of the challenging words of Jesus in John’s gospel, my food is to do the will of the one who sent me – my life is found in humble obedience to my father, he will provide all I need. I wonder if we know what it is to feed on doing the will of God?

Again Satan comes to him – Shows him . . . how easily we are distracted by what we see . . . shows him all the kingdoms of the world . . .  ‘Just worship me and you can do whatever you want!’ ‘If I ruled the world, every day would be the first day of spring . . . If I was the king of the Jungle, I tell you we’d have this place sorted out in no time . . . how easily we think to ourselves that God doesn’t know what he is doing – how readily we seek to assume command . . . all this will be yours – turn your attention from God at the centre and then you will be able to put everything right – the Central delusion of modern life in a secular age – we can fix it

all you have to do . . . note how each of the temptations is carefully crafted – just turn the stones into bread, just worship me, just throw yourself down – the consequences hidden – just eat the fruit of the tree – you have everything to gain – the losses carefully hidden. The gain seems so great, the disobedience so small – after all you are Very hungry, after all surely to rule all things is what its about, after all it would be worth it, just to check that God’s word was sure, no? Just a little test??

This is the very nature of sin, small subtle distractions from God – generally none of us face temptations to commit adultery or murder or steal of go to court and lie about our neighbours – rather we’re just distracted – and gradually we are led deeper and deeper into the woods and then wonder – where is God. We’re distracted by what’s going on around us – all those people who are making our lives difficult, we’re distracted by things – and carefully we listen to those little rationalisations – after all, surely it can’t do any harm. NOt realising that we’re profoundly lost, we try and follow the most convenient track – This must be the way . . .

Of course we could then go out paranoid into the world, trying desperately to avoid all these tiny sins – another distraction – distraction from God.

Lent is a time not to try desperately live good lives, looking at the myriad possibilities to sin and fighting to avoid them – but rather a time to clear away distractions – to turn to God in faith. Faith at its simplest is this – to attend to God, to live in attentiveness to God. Jesus is tested, but his attention is on God. This is why prayer is the essence of faith – to pray continually as St Paul says, is to live in faith, with our eyes upon God in Christ. And down thorugh the years the church has called us to three disciplines of attentiveness in Lent. Prayer, fasting and almsgiving
Prayer first – the essential discipline. Just try sit in the silence in the presence of God, try to attend to God for an hour, and all of a sudden you will understand why you need to pray. Oh it sounds like heaven! But within a minute, this distraction or that comes flooding in and you relaise ten minutes later that you’ve been thinking about the shopping, or those people who are giving you a hard time, you haven’t been paying any attention to God. So for Forty days we are called to a special discipline of prayer – in large part that we might realise how much we need to pray. That we are actually permanently mentally distracted

Then Fasting. Here we learn what really drives us – Food is the most basic of our physical needs. And if we do fast, then we rapidly become aware of how controlled we are by it – and we realise that its not just our minds – our bodies are screaming for attention to and we realise how often we live unthinkingly in response to our physical needs – that our lives really aren’t as controlled by the love of God as we had fondly imagined

Then Almsgiving – always a thorny one. John Wesley’s dictum . . . if you want to be free of the power of money, give it away! It is often said the last part of a man to be converted is his wallet – I have to say I don’t know if it also applies to a woman 🙂 I know few if any people who believe they are no controlled by their financial security – few who belive the words of Jesus, that it is a straight choice – we don’t control money, it controls us. The voice of the snake . . . doesn’t scripture say that you should provide for the needs of your family, you will need a pension and all those sort of things – you can’t really expect God to provide for your needs . . . or more subtly, well of course God has given you all this money precisely as a sign of his care for you . . . Seriously if truly it IS God who has given you your wealth and it wasn’t your anxious hoarding that has accumulated it – your anxiety laden attempt to secure yourself against the future – if God really has given you it – then  it is for one purpose – that you might be a blessing to others

Well that is a fairly negative look at the three disciplines – the painful angle if you like – but as the verse at the outset reminded us – we find mercy and grace in our time of need from Christ. Mercy, severe mercy at times in his exposing what is really controlling us – but also Grace. If we follow in his path – in prayer we grow into a deeper and deeper apprehension that we are his children – the more we want to attend to Him, to listen for His voice. Fasting teaches us dependence on God – note how that sounds negative!! All he has is dependence on God – but THIS is to be fully ALIVE!!!! And when we learn that God our father really DOES provide, then we are set free in generous love – we attend to God in prayer – through fasting we learn the Joy of dependence upon him ad so enter deeper into his life of GEnerosity – more and more we remember who we are, that we are his children and that attention to him and dependence upon him and imitation of him is the most natural thing.

But none of this comes from us – it is only possible because there is one who Lives – one who has conquered death and sin, one whose life means that actually we don’t have to be distracted. Jesus goes into the desert to be tested – has his identity as the Son of his heavenly father taken root in his heart, and he emerges triumphant for he lives out of complete dependence upon God. God will provide, I will worship God, I have no need to test him – who could doubt the father’s love?

And so he is obedient even to death on a cross – for he entrusts himself to the one who even raises the dead – and so becomes the source of life and light to all who trust in him – who turn from their distractions, who repent – who attend to him and walk in faith. MAy God grant to us all a Holy Lent, and may we all grow in grace in the footsteps of Christ.

Through the Bible in a Year – January 20

The Scheme for January and February can be found here

Genesis 41; John 16; Psalm 28-29

The strange and mysterious story of Joseph now takes a dramatic turn for the better. Now even Pharaoh is troubled by dreams. We note how often in the Scriptures, the powerful are threatened by their dreams whilst the weak are given strength. And, the cup bearer remembers that there is one who can tell dreams, but he is no magician – of the sort which will one day deceive in order to imitate the plagues – no, Joseph would not deceive, “It is not I; God will give Pharaoh a favourable answer”. In Joseph’s continuing integrity and honesty, displayed in his faith in the one who alone lifts up the lowly, who exalts the humble and meek – is his story continued. Joseph throughout is one who sees. A prophet in the true tradition who is alert only to what God is about.  And in Joseph we see a foreshadowing of the one who will be exalted to the right hand of the majesty on high, precisely because he only does and speak of that which he sees his father doing.

The theme of Christ’s identification with his church continues and other themes are drawn in to the whole. We are reminded that the disciples are drawn into the closest association with their Lord. They, his sheep, know his voice – in contrast to the world which knows neither the Father, nor His Son. What is more, even though for a while they will weep and mourn – whilst the World rejoices – even though they will be scattered and leave Him to the way that they cannot now follow, they are to know that the Father is with him. Knowing he and the Father are one they may ask with confidence anything in his name, as he himself asked the Father to glorify his name, and the Father spoke to his request. It is asking in the knowledge that Jesus and his Father are one that is the source of the abundant Life and complete Joy which the disciples will know.

Here is no pale Christology. Here is Life and Hope. John would have us under no illusion about the relationship of Jesus of Nazareth to God. As the Prologue lays out the Cosmic dimensions of the relationship of the living Word to God, yet in intimate terms (It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known) – so over and over again Jesus speaks of the Father, His Father, and the Father of all those born from above. The intimacy of God and the only begotten is revealed in breathtaking detail, and as we read, and behold, we too are drawn into the joyous love of the Father for the Son

Through the Bible in a Year – January 12

The Scheme for January and February can be found here

Genesis 25-26; John 9; Psalm 18:1-30

As we have followed the story of the Patriarchs we have also been following in the footsteps of Christ. Here, in this pivotal chapter of John’s gospel,  the ministry of Jesus reveals many of the themes of the Life alluded to in and through the LORD’s relationship with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. Primarily that of Faith and Sight. the Pharisees are offended by what they see with their eyes and hear, and that offence drives them to unbelief. Paradoxically it is the blind who see and those who trust to sight are blind.

Some of that seeing we get a sense of if we understand the ‘allegorical’ way of reading scripture – that its true meaning, like the Life revealed in Christ, lies hidden. Note how often Jesus disappears in the gospel of John, only to reveal himself as he chooses. The early church fathers understood this way of reading scripture well. It is no clumsy allegory, where ‘This is That!’ – rather it is a way of recognising the life of God hidden in the deep intertextuality of the Scriptures, of how Christ is made plain, as to those on the Emmaus road, in the Old Testament. We have no need to ‘read between the lines’ of a single text to fill in our own meanings. If we will but read between the lines given us, of the Old and the New, there are many hidden treasures

For more on this approach to Scripture, especially early in our exploring and in the Calendar year, you may wish to consider this blog article by Father Stephen Freeman on The Baptism of Christ.

There are many other things worth pondering in our readings today – but I shall just briefly consider two. Firstly that the theme of God continuing to work in the highly ambiguous details of his children is magnificently portrayed in the story of Jacob and Esau. How is it that even through ‘he who deceives’, God’s story continues?

Secondly we note how there is a repetitive element in the tale. As we shall see, the metaphor of the bride at the well is played out once more in the life of Jacob as it was in Isaac, and here Isaac’s relationship with Abimelech parallels that of Abram’s double deceit regarding his wife. The Patriarchs continually disown their wives out of fear . . . perhaps it is not surprising that when The Groom comes to the Well to offer the Water of Life, he finds one who has no husband . . .

Ambiguity and allegory at play. Playfulness which is a source of Creative Life [cf Proverbs 8:30 in some translations]

Through the Bible in a Year – January 10

The Scheme for January and February can be found here

Genesis 22-23; John 8:1-30; Psalm 15-16

Paradoxically it is here in the darkest of all texts, that Light is most clear. It is worth perhaps meditating on Isaiah 50:10-11 as a commentary on this story in Genesis.

As many many people have noted down the ages, this story of Abraham and the call to sacrifice ‘your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love’ is The Story of Faith. Abraham is confronted with the starkest of choices. Both ways seem to him to be ways of darkness. On the one hand he may say ‘Yes’ to God’s summons – and yet once more and now in the very starkest of terms he is confronted by the impossibility of Faith. For saying ‘Yes’ to the summons, Obeying, seems to do nothing more than contradict God’s Promise. The God who has said to him ‘It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned’ – now calls him to sacrifice this son.

[In a sense here we face the essence of the struggle of our own walk – for we walk in obedience but rarely can we see what it will bring forth]

Yet the other choice is no less stark – Say ‘No’ to the God who has from the beginning summoned him forth? One way or the other he must say No to life. Of course God’s promise is Not that Isaac will live, it is that through Isaac will the descendents of Abraham be brought forth. The Promise goes way beyond what Abraham can see as he looks at his son. And thus is faith. We can choose to live by sight and trust our own judgement, obedient to ourselves, or live by faith, which is nothing more nor less than obedience to the one who has Promised to bring forth life through our obedience.

It is in darkness that faith comes Alive. When all we have to hold onto is the promise of God, Faith is most True, for it is All we have. It is in that discovery that we are set free – Abraham chooses to die, and trust the God will bring forth Life. He hears the word of one who was lifted up, who in his obedient dying bears much fruit and follows Him. Life revealed in and through Death. And thus, through faith Abraham does rejoice to see the day of the Living One. In the choice of faith in darkness, The Lamb of God is revealed, the Light of the World shines forth.

Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
 I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”

Through the Bible in a year – January 9

The Scheme for January and February can be found here

Genesis 20-21; John 7:25-52; Psalm 13-14

As we read on in the story of Abraham, a theme continues – that of Abraham’s inability because of fear to live in truthfulness. Once more he pretends Sarah is not his wife – once more there are hash consequences for others

We are encouraged to ponder how our lives are so interconnected that these small hidings, deceits, fracture a much broader reality. Once more we see how Words can create and destroy world’s  – bring forth Life as the life giving promise of the LORD is revealed in the birth of  Isaac – or how deceit closes off life, as the people of Gerar suffer for Abraham’s deceit.

The face of the father of lies is not well hid, and his narrative of death constantly struggles for ascendency, finding a home in our fears, the antithesis of faith.

Abraham may well have asked “How Long oh Lord? Will you forget me forever?” But what is at stake here is not the LORD’s faithfulness but that of his people. Abraham has been stood beneath the stars and shown the future – he is called to live in the grandeur of that vision, rather than with a constant eye to preserving his own life.

The centre of God’s revelation in the age to come is the Temple – and from the Temple of his body, life giving streams of water will flow to those who thirst. Yet as for Abraham, the question for us also is ‘who will believe?’ Who will trust in the one whose Word is Life – who listens yet for the whisper of the snake?

Through the Bible in a year – January 7

The Scheme for January and February can be found here

Genesis 15-17; John 6:41-71; Psalm 10

“Does this offend you?”

In the story of Abram, there is much to offend our modern sensibilities – just as the words of Jesus offended those of his own time. Abram hears the promise of God but does not receive the gift of the promise. The promise is too far fetched he thinks for this strange God who has called him to put into effect. Sarai casts around for a way in which her lord might be spared the ignominy of Faith, of which the Psalmist often reminds us. Her eye lands on her Egyptian slave-girl Hagar and no good comes of it – yet once more, as in the story of Cain, God intervenes in the messy and ambiguous outcome, not staying removed.

The dark scene of the sacrifice feels prehistoric to us – yet it speaks of something profound of which we have lost sight. The Power of Word – or Promise – or Oath – that we are taken with immense seriousness. If the Word of God endures forever, does not that of the human made in his image? The divided animals were potent reminders of the significance of the human word – that it was a Bond. ‘Thus be it to me as it is to these animals if I do not keep my word’ [Thus do not swear . . . let your yes be yes, your no, no] Words are the creative power of life, and the destructive power of death. As Noah creates division enmity in blessing and cursing, so oaths have deep power. Yet here one party is taken out of the picture. Abram falls into a deep sleep – who walks between the pieces, with whom does the LORD make this covenant, but with himself. Abram as we see cannot be trusted [‘he knew what was in a man’] – Abram will try to do it for himself – he will not be a covenant partner. God swears by himself  – and when man fails – God pays the price

Anyone who does not see that the entire world is built for better or worse upon human sacrifice is blind to Reality. The offensiveness of the words of Christ are two fold – we think we have moved on from these deep primitive archetypes and metaphors – we think his words are nonsense, for we do not treat words with seriousness, And we like Abram and Sarai still believe that we can have life that is not Promised. The Gift that comes in the Creative Word – made flesh and blood – that is offered to us as real food and real drink – that we might have life within us.

Through the Bible in a Year – January 4

The Scheme for January and February can be found here

Genesis 8-9; John 4; Psalm 7

Two days ago I commented in passing on the habit of editing the Psalms to suit our sensibilities, swathed in cotton wool as many of us are, never thinking it possible we would find ourselves in a position where we might in desperate need call down curses on those who come against us. The Psalms are prayers for All of Life. Today’s though faces us with something which I suggest ought to be far more troubling to us. How in truth dare we pray ‘O Lord my God . . . if there is wrong in my hands . . . then let my enemy pursue, overtake me and trample my life to the ground and my soul to the dust . . .’ Strangely we have not excised this from our psalters

Praying the Psalms as with all prayer is not just about, or even not primarily about calling on God to change things, rather if we pray attentively we cannot but find that We must change. The Psalms throughout speak with searing clarity and not a hint of hypocrisy of The upright, The Just, Those of integrity. As with the serious grandeur which our Genesis readings confront us – these prayers call us to a fuller and deeper humanity and repentance.

A necessary repentance – for as we see, God has wiped the slate clean, but he still works with the same raw material of fallen humanity, whose ‘heart is inclined towards evil from youth’. We do not need Augustine to ‘devise’ original sin. It is there, in the new humanity as in the old. And humanities Choice, to Know Good and Evil is revealed to be terrible in its effects.

Noah is found naked and drunk – in the aftermath he takes the fullness of the divine image upon himself, to Bless, and to Curse – from one family, the people’s are divided.

Yet One comes who joins together in himself those so divided. The deadly enemies, Samaritans and Jews – those who pray these ancient prayers – are joined into one in the encounter of the woman at the well with the Lord of Life. Deep archetypes – Male and Female – Life giving. Look! The fields are ripe for harvesting!

Bible study notes for Sunday 30th September, 2012

Bible Study notes for Sunday September 30th, 2012

Esther 7:1-10; 9:20-22

James 5:13-20

Mark 9:38-50

Take time to read through the three portions of Scripture. Share with one another first impressions. What strikes you from one or other of the texts? What puzzles you? How do they make you feel?

1. The Old Testament lesson is from the Book of Esther. A beautiful story of a courageous woman and how she is instrumental in the salvation of her people[1].

The story finds God’s people in tremendous peril through the treachery of Haman, someone who hates them. In response to their deliverance they celebrated with a great festival and it became an annual remembrance [The feast of Purim]. Each week we give thanks for a Great redemption in the Eucharist. Read the portion of Chapter 9 set. What are the elements of the Celebration? How much do we have a similar sense of celebration at the Eucharist?

2.  Turning to the Epistle to James – Read verses 13-14 again.

a.  People in three different conditions are mentioned: the suffering; the cheerful; and the sick. What links their responses to their different conditions?

b.  When we are sick, how do we respond? What are the prescribed elements of the response here (there are three)? How does this contrast with our response?

a.  In professionalising ministry to the sick, the medical profession, have we ruptured a good practise of faith, that we first turn to the Lord in the person of the elders of the church?

b.  What is the significance of calling for the elders (as opposed to ‘hoping they will somehow find out’; or not calling them at all)

c.  In what sense is calling for the elders actually the exercise of faith?

c.  Read vs 15, 16.

a.  Verse 15 – what strikes you when you read this verse? Do we see or understand sickness as in some sense connected to sin?

b.  Verse 16 suggests there might be some connection – perhaps not at the level of committing sins makes you ill, but more that as I have several times suggested, sin fractures the fabric of the world – sin ruptures things and often in ways we cannot see. Combining confession with prayer for healing understands the individual in a much richer context – that our lives and actions are all caught up together – Discuss

c.  This is further suggested in the command ‘confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another’. The repetition of ‘one another’ suggests a deeper social fabric is in play. When we think of faith and life – do we primarily inderstand them as individual [my faith]? If so are we impoverished, missing out on something which God would show us and so deepen our understanding of faith and Reality?

d.  We are told of the power of prayer in vs 17-18, but its context is very much communal. Most of the teaching on prayer in the Scriptures is that of communal prayer. Again, do we elevate our personal prayers over the prayers of the whole church?

e.  Speak to one another of your experiences of praying together. What have you found in such times?

f.    Vs 19-20 speak of a mutual accountability for our lives – of ‘watching over one another in love’ (see Matthew 18:15-18) What do we understand by ‘mutual accountability’ in terms of our faith. How significant does James think it? (vs 20) What might we do to grow in such accountability?

3.  Finally the gospel – the texts as you might have noticed in some respect are getting more challenging 🙂

a.  Note that these most ‘challenging’ words once more come from the lips of Jesus. Reading Verses 42-48 – do they throw any further light on the significance of mutual accountability?

b.  John says they tried to stop someone casting out demons in Jesus’ name. HOw does Jesus response to John lead into verse 42 and ‘putting stumbling blocks’ before little ones

c.  Who are ‘these little ones who believe in me?’ Q. How might we damage ‘simple faith’ in another?[2]

d.  Jesus seems to see faith as something that we enter into – not an understanding as such but a way of confronting reality – casting out demons in his name / giving a believer a glass of water because they bear the name of Jesus. Put another way, faith here is shown to be entering into a life of association with Jesus. In what ways might we also further enter into association with him? How might we encourage others to do so?

e.  Jesus then shows the terrible consequences for those who try in any sense to prevent this – and indeed the seriousness of ‘stumbling’. What is our response to this teaching?How well do our lives reflect the seriousness of matters of faith expressed in these verses?

f.    V49 is one of the most difficult in Scripture to understand ‘For everyone will be salted with fire’ The best suggestion is perhaps that it is a direct translation of a Hebrew figure of speech which had the meaning of things being destroyed by fire, which would of course follow on from the previous verse about hell, that all that ends up there is ‘salted’ (destroyed) by fire. [3]Jesus then changes the metaphor to one about having Salt in ourselves. What does this mean?? (cf Matthew 5:13)

[1] Interestingly it is the only book in Scripture in which God is not mentioned

[2] Romans Chapter 14 may be of some interest here – especially in the way it is declared wrong to cast doubt upon the action of another – if another is caused to doubt the rightness of a particular action (in this case eating food sacrificed to idols, and they eat with doubt in their mind, that is seen as sinful, not eating ‘believing – ‘All that does not come from faith is sin.’ This example is a good one which shows that believing is a stance of life towards things, as much if not more than a set of beliefs held. This is what lies behind the expression ‘putting stumbling blocks’ before little ones if we take the Mark passage as a whole

[3] [Hebrew does not have nearly as many words as Greek and far far less than English – so a word not only encompasses a spectrum of meaning but may indeed have two meanings. The word for salt is the same as a word for destroy in Hebrew]