Mark 9:15

But, as soon as they saw Jesus, all the people, in great astonishment, ran up and greeted him.


so focused on the center of attention
it takes awhile to notice
we also have a peripheral vision
quietly signaling to us

arguments threats outrageous tweets
easily rise to take center stage
distracting and confusing everyone
participant and observer

slowly from the outside in
awareness of another way
surfaces from self-imposed darkness
turning any difference into win or die

and a fickle crowd shifts energy
as reinforcements for a losing side
promise an enlarged extended hubbub
its circus experience enhanced


Talk about changing dynamics! An argument between Scribes and Disciples is set by the side when a better show comes along.

In fact the welcome of the crowd is not just excitement for excitement’s sake (think TV game shows), but there being real awe, fear, joy at the unexpected presence of Jesus. This shift feels a bit like the difference between a cardboard cutout and a live person.

We have not been noting all the usages of euthus (immediately, BANG) along the way. As we start into the second half of Mark it is good to remember one of his most-used words. It reminds us of the kind of surprise we have yearning under our surface attempts at control of our situation. It took bright light and cloud voice to surprise Peter, James, and John on a mountain. Here it is a collective remembrance of times past when our expectations were taken off-guard.

Like Moses spending too much time on a mountain, it seemed like forever since Jesus and his three companions had left. It was almost as if time had stood still and now, with a lurch, caught up to itself. Disorientation and Hope teeter-tottered.

This is a good time to review Jesus’ interactions with crowds and assess what seems like his interaction with them. This will inform our own public engagements.

Here is a smattering of remembrances of ὄχλος (ochios, crowd) in Mark 2:13; 3:32; 4:1; 5:27; 6:34; 6:45; 7:14; 8:2; 8:34 and anticipation of next gatherings: 10:1; 11:18; 12:12; 14:43; and 15:8.

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