He will himself show you a large upstairs room, set out ready; and there make preparations for us.”
we leave on ground level
looking all around
a burning bush here
a burning coal there
a burning cloud above
seeking a trail of water
milk and honey ready
a launching place
In later days we will find disciples of Jesus gathering underground in catacombs. Whether in a privileged raised location or hiding from powers by going below, anywhere baptismal waters are found is a good place to gather.
If we were reading this in the Greek it would be easier for us to cast our minds back to previous uses of two words.
The first is στρωννύω (strōnnyō, to furnish or to spread). This word is used to describe putting rugs on seats or couches to ease one’s lying at meal. That would be appropriate for the immediate situation—the work needed to be done that preparations would be accomplished.
This same word was used for the entry into Jerusalem as those rejoicing at Jesus’ “victorious” entry “spread” their cloaks or branches from the fields to participate in that entry—“I eased Jesus’ entry with my cloak!”
This anticipates our entering a new phase of the way Jesus has been traveling and it is not so much victorious as welcoming and encouraging.
The second word is ἑτοιμάζω (hetoimazō, prepare or make ready). Mark has used this word twice before. Back in 1:3 Isaiah calls people to Prepare the Way. In 10:40 James and John are turned down for places of privilege. The right and left are for those who are prepared for them.
Isn’t it the way that the hospitality preparations we make to welcome others prepares us for deeper experiences of loving Neighb*r and, thereby, love G*D and our S*lf? In preparing a feast well we find the meal to be all the more delicious. The infamous ingredient of love makes all the difference with home-style grits or 3-star Michelin prime rib.
The mystery of preparation preparing the preparer continues to prepare the disciples to lose Jerusalem and gain Galilee.