Mark 11:19

As soon as evening fell, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city.


strategic retreats
are part of every
guerrilla action

a silence for reflection
can up the ante
for raised anxiety

when will they strike again
causes over-reaction
perpetual preparation

eventually systems wear out
from high alert
abused resources

not as regular
as a tide’s ebb and flow
but as sure

every action’s non-action
forwards a march
to fruitful crisis


There are some who translate the last phrase as, “whenever it was evening they used to leave” [Bratcher354]. This brings to mind the Weathermen in1968 who would enter Chicago for their disruptive action and return to Evanston every evening to evaluate the day and plan for the next.

Though this raises an intriguing argument that changes a one-time symbolic action to intentionally continual engagements such as suggested by Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, Mark’s style of “BANG” calls for a single, definitive action.

Evening means the first quarter of the night, after sundown (6-9 p.m.). This also connects with the report of the first days of creation that had a pattern of, “It was evening and morning, of day X”. Evening is the beginning of the action, rather than its conclusion.

It is in our leaving that we enter the “rest of our life”. [No, not “rest” as in sleep, but the next part of a larger arc.] There is a sense that we need to say goodbye to our protective attachments before we have an opening to say hello to moving beyond our fear of suffering. This is the destruction of Jerusalem before its physical destruction.

Early on Jesus walked into a wilderness. The witnesses there were beasts and angels, the creation and meta-creation. Here he has ridden into a temple. The witnesses were a domesticated animal and religious leaders.

In light of Mark’s tendency to give hints to the reader that they might remember prior events that have an overlapping connection—What internal destruction took place in the wilderness and what vision comes forth from the temple? What new day comes with the setting of this day?

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