Mark 8:26

Jesus sent him to his home, and said, “Do not go even into the village.” 

you can go home again
it is just not the same home
from whence you have come

nostalgic homes are fantastical
reshapers of tomorrow into yesterday
with nothing left for today

a parade of homes hopes for more
than a settled bungalow for two
nestled safely away from care

a next home is a seedbed
for raising a new village
and then composting itself

of villages and homes there is no end
while eyes are opened
and hearts trust change

The word behind “sent” is ἀποστέλλω (apostellō, apostle, one commissioned).

This sets up a tension between being commissioned as a prophet or ambassador or disciple (presumably with a message to be delivered) and the injunction to not go into his hometown (6:1–6). While modern translations usually have a footnote about an alternative translation, there are those such as Mann335 who prefer the alternative translation of “do not tell anyone in the village”, which is an even stronger tension.

Another place of uncertainty has to do with where “home” is. This is the same word that is used after the feeding of 4,000. Having received whatever teaching and/or healing was available, the crowd was fed and then sent on their way home, which is presumed to be at some distance. Adding stories together we find a new location of “home”—literally, where the heart is (hint: think physically here).

Along with the recent “looking up” language, this story concludes one section and is prelude to the conclusion of Mark. Jesus’ instruction to not tell anyone about the wonder just experienced leaves us hanging. We don’t know if this now-no-longer-blind man was like all the others who broke silence or if he followed through on it and was an anonymous witness to wonder wherever he wandered.

It is this uncertainty that is important to begin dealing with. At some point the reader is going to have to decide how they are going to deal with what they have read and experienced through their reading. What will I do? What will you do?

It is this uncertainty of response that also sets us up for the next scenes about typology and Messiah.

Mark 7:10

Note: After a review of the posts here, this verse missed being published in its sequence and is added at this late date to make it available in the “Mark 7” Category to the right. Pardon the intrusion into your regular reading

For while Moses said ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and ‘Let anyone who abuses their father or mother suffer death,’

strong words
set formational values
in no uncertain terms
except life circumstance

honor is beautiful
in the abstract
but a beholding eye
is relevant

failure in basics
fails self and partner
in every direction
through generations

substituting parents
does not assuage
a commandment’s hard edge
keeping order

In an honor/shame culture (and it runs through every culture to varying degrees and about different categories) the positive action is equivalent to what might otherwise be called love.

We might note here that there are objections to be made to the written Torah supported by Jesus and the oral Torah of the Pharisees and Scribes. Like honor in differing cultures, these two have their similarities and differences. Here the similarity is condemnation of the other.

Whether coming from the authority of written or oral sources, care needs taking about what we pull out to constrain those more attuned to the other authority.

Molina/Rohrbaugh223 provide a list of maps that can use either the written or spoken word to justify any boundary setting.

(1) time, which specified rules for the sabbath, when to say the Shema, and when circumcision should be performed; (2) places, spelling out what could be done in the various precincts of the Temple or where the scapegoat was to be sent on the Day of Atonement; (3) persons, designating whom one could marry, touch, or eat with; who could divorce; who could enter the various spaces in the Temple and Temple courtyards; and who could hold certain offices or perform certain actions; (4) things, clarifying what was considered clean or unclean, could be offered in sacrifice, or could be allowed contact with the body; (5) meals, determining what could be eaten; how it was to be grown, prepared, or slaughtered; in what vessels it could be served; when and where it could be eaten; and with whom it could be shared; and (6) “others,” that is, whoever and whatever could pollute by contact.

Larger or smaller deaths are the result of going off map. Written and oral cultural GPS units cry out, “Recalculate!, return to course.”