Between the Lines: Pentecost 8: July 22, 2012

Text: Mark 6:30-34, 53-56

Corcovado jesus

Corcovado Jesus
(Photo credit: @Doug88888)

… and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.

Mark’s description of the fringe of Jesus‘ cloak makes clear he is writing about a man serious about his Jewish faith. Such a cloak fringe is required in the Moses tradition: you shall make tassels on the four corners of the cloak with which you cover yourself (Deuteronomy 22:12); The Lord said to Moses: Speak to the Israelites, and tell them to make fringes on the corners of their garments throughout their generations and to put a blue cord at each corner. You have the fringe so that, when you see it, you will remember all the commandments and do them… (Numbers 15:37-39).

It may be significant that the sick reach out to touch the fringe of his cloak rather than Jesus himself. Is the healing power in the man or in the tradition or faith the man carries or bears? What for people in your world serve as reminders of who they are and the symbolic world they inhabit?

What do you know of people today wearing or carrying an amulet, totem, charm, or talisman that has special power or meaning for them? And for you? Your “fringe” — reminder of where you come from and who you are?

– Bill Dols

“Between the Lines” is excerpted from BibleWorkbench, a weekly resource for engaging the biblical story in a new way published by the Educational Center in Charlotte, NC. BibleWorkbench includes a series of open-ended questions focused on a reading in the Common Lectionary aimed at drawing readers into the story and making connections with the world around them and the world within. Also included are “Between the Lines” reflections, Parallel Readings from literature, poetry, and the news, and Critical Background on the text and its setting. For details and subscription information, go to

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