THE HIDDEN CITY
I read the gospel of Mark’s kingdom language intertextually with Italo Calvino’s strange novel, Invisible Cities, in which Marco Polo describes a collection of fantastic cities. This approach illuminates a different way to understand the Markan kingdom of God, for which that kingdom is neither realized nor imminent, indeed not eschatological at all. Nor is the kingdom a symbol. Instead the mysterious kingdom is comparable to (in Marco’s words) “a crack [that] opens” and “all spaces change, all heights, distances; the city is transfigured, becomes crystalline, transparent as a dragonfly” – and yet even that, as Calvino’s story implies, is but one of many possibilities.
Gospel of Mark; Italo Calvino