Mark 6:27

He immediately dispatched one of his bodyguard, with orders to bring John’s head. The man went and beheaded John in the prison,


action has been fast and furious
offers presented consultations taken
decisions made and made and made
each individual step in the process
finding its place in a scheme
brooking no alternative

when this flurry subsides
a judgment that will haunt
quickly moves to conclude
an order given
order completed
life lost


…Mark enjoyed great historical freedom in writing the story of John’s death. This has led to considerable scholarly discussion concerning the story’s literary form. Some see it as a legend, others as a piece of midrash, a type of traditional narrative commentary. I suggest it be read as a historical parable, a story with its roots in history but which allows full play to the author’s creativity….it must not be reduced to a lesson or theological point. The whole story must be held up to the reader’s imagination.          ~LaVerdiere164

The straight forward, compact telling, makes it seem like a fait accompli—over and done. Too bad, but what can you do. Best to just continue on. Don’t linger here lest we begin to taste John’s blood as our brother’s and seek revenge.

It is at such a point, urged to walk past, that we need to journey more deeply into this wilderness that will test our anger and willingness to avenge this death, an eye-for-an-eye.

A little child led to this. Her “happy dance” (at least as possible as seductive writhing) gone awry stuns us—as do children suicide bombers we see on TV.

To better reveal this verse, pause to consider how you would stage these simple, declarative words. As you do so, hold this advice from Swanson196-197 in mind:

To play this scene wisely…remember the game of “Six Degrees of Separation.” …the chances are disturbingly good that someone in the audience will be connected to someone closely involved with recent beheadings.…you must play the scene aware of what intense pain might be involved, and you must play the scene knowing that your audience will be watching for any sign of irresponsibility in your treatment. Any story that is real and true will touch matters of life and death. Do not play with such issues heedlessly. Touch them reverently and wisely.

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