Then Jesus went away with his disciples to the sea, followed by a great number of people from Galilee.
we always return to the sea
in stress a rhythmic surf calms
in despair a typhoon brings perspective
in tiredness a holiday swim revives
in routine a sunny bask is a muse
in confusion a shore simplifies choices
threats are submerged
in memory of baptismal energy
we recapitulate a water cycle
from storm cloud to ocean basin
but then we remember
this particular setting
water from cedared hills
and underwater springs
finally make their way
to a larger salt-making sea
we are here to add our salt
living large enough to make a difference
This is one of the clearer places that indicates the weakness of an imposed versification of a piece of art. There are multiple ways to have done this better. At best it reminds us to watch out for our own automatic responses.
Following another healing turned into an angry challenge by Jesus and a resultant plot against him, there is another return to wilderness exemplified by deep water. Without saying it directly, prayer is entered to reset a threat.
A crowd follows. Their ears had pricked up at the direction Jesus was moving—liberation from traps. “Crowd” in Mark is yet another marker of more significance than might first seem. In a country occupied by a foreign power healing speaks to people disenfranchised by their situation in life. Note this same disenfranchisement can also come about when a same-thinking internal power has no room for differences among people.
For those who have lost control of their own life through no obvious fault of their own, healing individuals anticipates a jump to the next level—liberation from Empire. From wherever one’s sense of being trapped with no options arises, healing is a banner under which the poor and disadvantaged can rally.
Crowds, however, are notorious for not being controllable by those around whom they gather. More than one factor is at work that would attract a crowd with no core but unreasonable hope.