Between the Lines: Pentecost 16: September 16, 2012

Text: Mark 8:27-38

Restored houses at Berneray, Outer Hebrides, S...

Restored houses at Berneray, Outer Hebrides, Scotland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples . . .

I am intrigued that these questions arose in Caesarea Philippi.  Not in home territory.  I ask myself, as I ask you, to think about your travels, particularly to places where you were not “at home.”   Think of your travels, and the questions that have come up in those unfamiliar territories.  What were those questions, for you?

I remember traveling in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland some years back, right after George Bush was elected for the second time.  Neither he nor his policies were popular in Scotland.  My American accent prompted both distrust and disgust on the faces of the people I met then.  Who do people say that I am?  I had no past with them, no knowledge of what I had done or not done, and the question of my political identity was apparently the only issue that mattered.  Who do my friends, my family, my colleagues, my neighbors say that I am?

Who am I, beyond what they say or think?  Who are you?  Beyond what others say?

Remember, or imagine, yourself in strange and unfamiliar territory, and ask these questions.  Get out of your familiar house, town, highway, language, culture and ask it.  Where do you say, “That’s not me,” or even “Get behind me, Satan”…and where do you say “I am…”?

– Beth Harrison

“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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