Mark 9:36

Then Jesus took a little child, and placed it in the middle of them. Taking it in his arms, he said to them,


correcting a commissioned one
is never an easy proposition
as doctors of properness
they have answers well before
a question has begun

to have a fighting chance
conscious regression is needed
a remembrance of yearning
well before certification
still possible impossibilities

a child stands guard
with more keys than a kingdom
to lock and unlock tomorrow
far faster than present perks
can raise their self protections

here in our midst
we catch a glimpse
of a tomorrow beyond
our present highest fantasies
wrapped in another


Before jumping too quickly to what Jesus said (as though it were only the words at their literal level that makes a difference), it is helpful to reflect on the scene. Swanson220 does a good job of enfleshing the gospels through the lens of a play. Listen to his setup.

Be careful with the flow of this composite scene. It begins with stark words about Jesus’ death by torture. It ends with a child. In between, grown men engage in a testosterone joust. Some things do not change. Be careful how you understand the progression of these scenes within the scene. The natural conclusion might be that the crucifixion and the child are both alike symbols of humility, and they are placed in this scene to bracket and shame the arrogance of the middle scene. Be careful with such an interpretive line. Ask yourself where you got the notion that the child is a picture of humility (or worse, humiliation) somehow comparable to the crucifixion. This is a typical reading of this scene, but it is troublesome. Children occupy a tenuous enough place in human communities without linking them imaginatively with an obscenity like crucifixion.

Could the operative flow in the passage be something more like from rejection to welcome? if the flow is sketched that way, the middle term, in which the disciples embarrass themselves yet again, becomes a picture of people too inattentive to catch the tragedy of the first moment, and too full of themselves to catch the last.

The lacuna of life between inattention and too full of what we think we know and deserve shields us from the empathy needed to connect our life with the lives of others and flourish as partners.

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