Mark 2:11

“To you I say, Get up, take up your mat, and return to your home.”


no matter the spelling or language
a time of freedom goes way back
choices made
without knowing they were choices
ready your improving practice

whether categories are official or not
we have difficulty parsing antecedents
clarifications attempted
when everyone agrees on what is clear
set the opportunity for your fresh start

in the face of yesterday and tomorrow
a moment’s notice can unstick us
commitments revised
reveal past limits and commitments
go all the way to the end of your race


After previous healings the instruction has been to show oneself to the priests for confirmation and a certification of cleanliness.

Here the instruction is to go home. There may be some pique here after the word play with the Scribes. Let’s see how far we can push the authority of a healing to stand on its own without external corroboration.

Disease and dis-ease come in varying levels of consequence for particular issues. Degrees of purity, like any human relationship, are parsable and can be bargained about to a greater or lesser degree. Much here has to do with one’s status and the literalness of the interpreter. So how are we going to determine whether this dismissal was within the system boundaries or was pushing them? Your call. The importance of this story to you will be influenced by your decision.

Paul Clayton’s song about having laid around and stayed around too long is an introduction to formative moments in the wilderness when it appears all that lies ahead is dryness and scrabbling for survival. This picture urges us to move on to a larger home. Mark’s crude language is still evocative enough to raise the question of a restrictive locus for home.

In a wilderness setting, home is far more than simply a place where folks have to take you in. A gift of wilderness is coming to terms with all the various parts of our heritage and a consolidating or centering of vision about where and how our particular brand of belovedness will travel. It may well be within a previous locale; it may be in a wider setting.

May your “home” be better because of your participation in it.

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