Mark 7:31

On returning from the district of Tyre, Jesus went, by way of Sidon, to the Sea of Galilee, across the district of the Ten Towns.


life is more than a circle
it’s great circle route
experiences straight lines
as actual arcs

to move northerly
to arrive south easterly
continues to amuse
voyageur and pilgrim

such lost circling frees
our result-seeking mind
sniff the air ahead
along with passed roses

such is creation’s path
barren verdant continuing
neither distant nor at hand healing
demonstrates good news

it is as it is
incomplete wisdom
bewildering location
confused learning

everywhere along the way
we intentionally engage
as hearth and home
come feast and story tell


The Greek is clear. The significance of the route is not.

Presumably Jesus had not retreated far enough from the crowds of Galilee to yet be able to return. Wilderness retreats also face a testing as to whether they have accomplished what was needed. Sometimes we can return very soon after leaving. Sometimes we need to go further.

Edward Albee in Zoo Story, has Jerry say, “Sometimes it is necessary to go a long way out of the way in order to come back a short distance correctly.”

Jesus travels further north to Sidon, away from the Lake of Galilee. When there he doesn’t just do a U-turn, but proceeds much further inland to finally come to the Lake from the East, from the realm of the Roman Deca-cities, a larger area than the Quad-cities of Davenport and Betendorf, Iowa with Rock Island and Moline/East Moline, Illinois (a 4-county area).

This journey would affirm the clamp Rome had on Palestine, how Rome had made the very edge of its empire into its own image. The cities were revamped into Roman design, having enough independence to commercially prosper through the Roman infrastructure. It is as if there were a noose or cone of silence placed around occupied Israel until it, too, would fully embrace Roman rule.

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