Mark 11:5

Some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the foal?”


nothing seems to come easy
if only knots were easier to untie
we’d have already been on our way

now we’ll have to take it
from the top starting
with our instructions

while this may take time
it will be shorter than otherwise
going to community court

so we’ll play a middle game
speeding our process here
while delaying our return a bit

nothing comes easy in situ
untying is a witness
as clear as any healing


As expected the Neighborhood Watch committee is on duty and the logical response is, “Hey! What the …?”

The community not only watches out for property but character as well. Unfortunately it is not always easy to tell which members of the community are assassins of the hated Romans? How many are colluding with them because of the personal advantage that brings? How many are trusting what has been true to this point in hope of returning to glory? How many are just focusing on day-to-day survival with no larger vision?

The question: “What are you doing?” can arise from any of these perspectives, or others. This is not a question about action as much as it is about intention.

This question can be seen as a way of controlling the situation as the person who gets the first accusation in goes on to win by setting the frame of the context. Ordinary people are sensitive to this question and often second-guess themselves in light of community approval. One psycho-social condition or another will only hear this as an opportunity to tout their source of authority—“I say so” or “Jesus says so”.

This question is related to the infamous seven last words of the church (or any other institution), “We’ve never done it this way before!” When we take this story a verse at a time we allow ambiguity and possible outcomes reveal themselves. Even these seven words can have a positive spin when there is an appreciation of the role of risk in the matter of trust or faith. How will the people of the village respond to catching these two in an act of privileged use of resources?

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