Good Fences?

January 22, 2021


Something there is that doesn't love a wall,

That wants it down.

This week we continue our series from Mark’s Gospel:  JESUS IS WHERE HE FINDS YOU.  Thus far we have met the present Jesus who accompanies us in the storms of life.  We have met the calling Jesus who invites us to accompany him in his kingdom work.  Last week we met the healing Jesus who validates the faith of those who support those who need more faith.  And this week we meet the radical Jesus who breaks through boundaries that we often set up to keep ourselves secure, comfortable, and isolated from harsher realities.

Read – Mark 2.21-3.6    

In our text this week, Jesus’ opponents question his authority and actions which do not fit their religious expectations.  In response he offers a parable about patches and new wine.   I invite you to reflect on the following questions:  

Do ‘good fences make good neighbours?’  (Robert Frost)

What is the most basic complaint about Jesus in these stories?

Where have Jesus’ demands made you uncomfortable in the past week?  Month?

Is your life more about fasting or feasting? 

What is the ‘new wine’ you have tasted in the past months?



Mending Wall – R. Frost

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,

That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,

And spills the upper boulders in the sun;

And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.

The work of hunters is another thing:

I have come after them and made repair

Where they have left not one stone on a stone,

But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,

To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,

No one has seen them made or heard them made,

But at spring mending-time we find them there.

I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;

And on a day we meet to walk the line

And set the wall between us once again.

We keep the wall between us as we go.

To each the boulders that have fallen to each.

And some are loaves and some so nearly balls

We have to use a spell to make them balance:

‘Stay where you are until our backs are turned!’

We wear our fingers rough with handling them.

Oh, just another kind of out-door game,

One on a side. It comes to little more:

There where it is we do not need the wall:

He is all pine and I am apple orchard.

My apple trees will never get across

And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.

He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’

Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder

If I could put a notion in his head:

‘Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it

Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.

Before I built a wall I'd ask to know

What I was walling in or walling out,

And to whom I was like to give offense.

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,

That wants it down.’ I could say ‘Elves’ to him,

But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather

He said it for himself. I see him there

Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top

In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.

He moves in darkness as it seems to me,

Not of woods only and the shade of trees.

He will not go behind his father's saying,

And he likes having thought of it so well

He says again, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’