Mark 6:29

When John’s disciples heard of it, they came and took his body away, and laid it in a tomb.


the force is disturbed
disciples gather
as nothing takes
a pound of flesh

a keening voice
jagged above dark below
slowly rises in register
calling back calling loss

crying while shuffling
around a now still center
walled with death distance
until anchored facing inward

resolute without permission
an empty one is lifted
quietly carried low
to temple’s center

in the face of nothing
a body laid in its hole
effects an expansion delay
joined to others awaiting another

disciples gather
shards of spirit
to be generously sown
reweighting mercy


Well, there is a postscript to the story of John’s beheading. It also provides a presentiment of a later death and burial.

Bratcher201 notes, “Came is probably better rendered as ‘went’, unless one wishes to portray the writer Mark as narrating from Herod’s court.” The Greek ἔρχομαι (erchomai) is one of those tricky words that usually means “come” or “revealed” but can mean “go” or “follow”.

It might also be noted that the specific of being headless is not part of John’s being dead to his body. This, of course, begs for more stories about what happened to John’s head after it was taken from him. Those interested in a variety of options can get an overview at:

https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Beheading_ of_St_John_the_Baptist#Relics

This may be a place to review the whole story and wonder about John’s disciples from the time of his arrest. If Herod’s enthrallment with John went any distance, there may have been others engaged along the way who may have interceded with Herod to make possible the attainment and burial of what was left of John. Did John have secret disciples or did his in-your-face approach not allow for fence-sitters?

In the end we have a conquering Herodias stalking off with John’s head and John’s disciples recovering John’s body. Matthew has them then coming to tell Jesus, but Mark leaves this detail hanging.

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