Mark 3:13

Jesus made his way up the hill, and called those whom he wished; and they went to him.


after breathing out
comes an in-breath
after sea riding
there is mountain striding
after a crowd-only crampedness
a long-view overview

having heard a call to rise
we test by re-calling friends
some were only called once
a reward for promise shown
each challenged to see what I see
heady stuff of teaching and self-care

off we go into a wild blue
baptismal vision re-filled
desert temptation re-met
sickness despairing salved
and for each other we wept
anticipating work to come


Was the small boat a ruse, a distraction that allowed Jesus to leave the crowd behind and ascend a mountain? Mark’s rapid episodes leaves holes for us to midrash upon, to open another story or two or three for which there wasn’t time at the time.

This radical shift from lake to mountain is a geographic form of “immediate”. Now we are here; now there. Moving away from conspiracy and a crushing crowd takes the kind of energy needed for climbing mountains, not drifting away.

With calls to this intentional retreat will come a renewal of becoming a good messenger. There will be commissioning for the purpose of liberation. An unspoken part of this liberation is the emphasis upon the universality of belovedness. By attending to the liberation of others, those called will find their own liberation.

To arrive here will require the leaving of occupation, of power, and the re-establishment of a non-royalist confederation based in the ancient value of hospitality where care for the stranger becomes a sign of a healing meant for all—the crowd with all its interwoven and overwhelming brokenness and possibility.

Just as hearts have their diastolic and systolic motion and lungs have their rhythm of inhalation and exhalation, life has its practice and teaching, its engagement and retreat. We need both active imagination during the day and deep dreams at night. Call and renewal of call is essential to the well-being of any movement because the picture of what we are about fades—as I heard Doug Anderson of the Bishop Rueben Job Center put it, “vision leaks”.

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