Immediately on leaving the synagogue, the Pharisees and the Herodians united in laying a plot against Jesus, to put him to death.
playing nice is over
institutions will play along
at the banter level
a nod and a wink is good enough
until it is obvious the game can be gamed
with angry resistance
no longer pretending
everything will be alright
with so many not right now
now it is but a matter of time
until an ultimate schism
is enforced through death
no matter the cultural manner
authority eventually chooses death
We are about 11% of the way through Mark’s verses and the political realities of life come crashing in—Jesus is unmistakedly marked for death. The wildness of wilderness is stalking.
There is nothing new in this being a reality that cycles through our political life and the reign of Empire. Still, how is it that healing brings out the worst in us?
Whatever response can be made to this question, there is no question that a common enemy leads to strange alliances between groups that in ordinary times would have no association with one another. The antagonists mentioned ordinarily vie against one another for control of the community ethos.
While it doesn’t come through in a number of English translations, we are again with our old friend “immediately” (εὐθύς euthys). Jesus flits hither-and-yon, followers quickly come, healings seem instantaneous, and now a growing opposition to Jesus disordering the status quo is finally organized on a moment’s notice.
“What got him was nothing….” begins an e.e. cummings poem reflective of Ecclesiastes’ mantra of “vanity”. When truth is being told, its opposite is not a lie, but nothing. This is a major part of wilderness, the great “Nothing” in The Neverending Story by Michael Ende.
For decades wilderness has been growing in the USofA through the process identified by Stephen Colbert as “truthiness”. “Facts” are abandoned when faced with what we “Feel” should be the case. Data is erased by creed and doctrine. Civics classes are dismissed. Learning is to the test. Critical thinking is labeled elitist. In such an atmosphere traditionalists, accommodationists, bullies, supremacists, Fascists, and more conspire to settle into a pact that identifies and destroys anything and anyone contrary to their preferred order.