Mark 6:45

Immediately afterward Jesus made his disciples get into the boat, and cross over in advance, in the direction of Bethsaida, while he himself was dismissing the crowd.


a crowd a flock
is like any other
and also not

individuals writ large
conflicted dissonance
commonly denominated

awaiting a hive-mind
searching for a shepherd
ready but inept

received and taught
exercised and fed
eventually dismissed

dandelion seeds
blown into tomorrow
a shepherd’s decision

a time to gather
a time to scatter
turn and turn again


With people fed, there comes an urgency to be off on another adventure.

Did Peter have the Boatswain’s Call and pipe “Still”, Jesus gave instructions, and Peter then piped, “Carry On”? If not this organized, how do you envision Jesus urging, commanding, compelling the Twelve back into the boat?

Presumably the Twelve were still in an oppositional mode or they wouldn’t need to be sent off without Jesus’ presence—remember what happened the last time Jesus wasn’t with them (going to sleep is practically being gone)? Sailors and fisher folk have their own superstitions and it doesn’t take much to spook them. If Good Luck Charm Jesus wasn’t going to be with them to see them through a difficulty, their wariness quotient rises.

Mark is not all that helpful with his geographical references. They seem to be more metaphorical than cartographically precise. It appears that Bethsaida is just around the corner and so it shouldn’t be a long journey or one requiring to get out into Lake Galilee very far. When we remember the crowd arriving ahead of the crew, it might be that Jesus just needed to stretch his legs, Prayer Jog to Bethsaida, and arrive ahead of the Twelve.

At any rate, the boat was launched.

In anticipation of Jesus having the moment of respite that was needed by both himself and the Twelve as they reported on their commissioned work, Jesus turns to bless the crowd on their way. This may well have been a traditional blessing that signified the end of this teaching and feeding time. It may have been something short, “Bye, Bye!” or crafted for the occasion, “You’re full to overflowing, so overflow into other’s lives that together your hearts might be changed.”

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