Mark 10:25

It is easier for a camel to get through a needle’s eye, than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 

practice as many impossibilities
as you can before noon
or supper or bed
and still there is no
camel going through
any needle’s eye

no one possessed
gets out under the auspices
of their own bootstraps
or they wouldn’t
have been possessed
in the first place

the poor search for riches
the rich search for heaven
both lose their bearings
the poor poorer
the rich richer
unpartnered death spirals

My own bias is to have this verse come before v. 24. It has a sense of sorrow about it. A man asks an important ethical question and can’t deal with the import of the response. How sad that property, wealth, privilege, prestige of any economic system hold spirit in such a tight grasp.

This is not simply a hyperbolic statement, but a realization of how difficult are good news and fishing. We are back again at the foot of a mountain where the disciples have been thrown for a loop by trying to heal through a technique of repeating what worked last time.

It is one thing to look for places where hospitality welcomes the throwing out of possessive demons and quite another when people who show such promise, as this man seeking a larger life, in the final analysis fall short of being able to take a needed next step. In the first instance there is great rejoicing, in this scene there is a resigned sense of deaf, mute, blindness closing down any glimmer of changed behavior.

Our fantasy of waking up a lottery winner without ever buying a ticket is of the same nature as someone who is a winner in the economic calculus of success and who refuses to see their personal benefaction as based on the besting of others. This is one of those journeys that takes the longest stay in the wilderness to go deep enough for a retreat awareness that can look the temptation of “more” in the eye and rejoice in “enough”.

Here we are facing the old choice about belovedness. Is it a free ticket to the best of all possible worlds? Is it the entrance fee to a wilderness of temptation in the presence of beasts and angels?

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