Monday, June 5, 2017

Peran is a Greek Word


I was in my early 80's when I began to really notice the word peran in the Gospels of the New Testament. For years I have been following the Daily Office way of organizing my daily reading of the Scriptures. I do not claim to have made every day but most days. 

Peran (crossing over/other side) has now become a continuous mode as an orientation in Scripture. In Christ and in daily life, we encounter a host of storms, transitions, discoveries, Aha's that lead to the other side. I am about to demonstrate.  

Having observed the Hebrew and Greek use of repetition, I've found it to be a tool, a reflective way for continuous learning. I think it was in the Gospel of Mark where the word peran most often appears, and then sparingly, that I wanted to know and connect with more. The word first appears when Jesus invites the disciples to cross over the Sea of Galilee to the other side. Mark 4:35. "Let us cross over to the other side." "Other side" is peran.

The word in Greek has ancient origins in Greek poetry. The word is used by Homer and in connection with water. How this background would then appear in the New Testament with a decidedly Hebrew background is a question I can not answer presently.

To get us ready for crossing over, the word sea is introduced more than once. The word appears three times in one verse in Mark 4:1. Repetition in Hebrew, as I understand it, is a way to get your attention for something important. Water has a historical connection to transformation, change, Jonah, baptism, etc. Fire and water are two major metaphors relating to change.

Jesus is teaching by the Sea and in a boat in the Sea to protect himself, crowd control. We could do an addition. The students are by the Sea. We are now students by the Sea. By the Sea will be the beginning of our learning and our transformation. 

His teaching begins with the word listen. That gives us pause since it is in the present imperfect, a Greek verb form meaning continuously in the present. Listen, students then and students now, be ready to listen continuously in the present.

A number of parables follow concluding with "Let us cross over to the other side." 

Jesus and the disciples are crossing over the Sea of Galilee and a frightening storm occurs. The storms of life are now front and center, a major part of life and transformation, big time. The rest of the Gospel can be lived from this way of hearing and seeing. Chapters 7 and 8 of Mark will reinforce this. 

Jesus calms the storm and they ask the question who is this that even the wind and sea obey him? The question will remain to the end of the Gospel and beyond. Proceeding we will find three Gospels with this question, Mark, Matthew, and Luke. The question of all of us at one time or other. 

Staying with Mark, we now "cross over to the other side" literally and at the same time at deeper levels. Jesus will begin a conscious transition as the Son of Man. His relationship with God is being revealed in various ways with transformation at the heart of the matter.   

1 comment:

  1. I used to ask my nursing students to write a story about a time they will never forget, when they came to a totally new understanding of something they felt they understood before. This to me is person. Jesus invited his disciples to come to a totally new understanding of the life they thought they understood. I see him saying "Ah!, there is much more. Follow me. Come and see.