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.

Mark 7:30

The woman went home, and found the child lying on her bed, and the demon gone. 

returning to a house
that had lost its status
as a bonafide home
for demons stole
a family member
breath is held
until a healing word
transforms euphoric
to everyday
differences and challenges
afforded by living people
in all their uniqueness
for most of us this ordinariness
when we pause to consider
is a continuing and deepening
exhilarated hope to shared joy

As we proceed through life we find opportunity after opportunity to declare life a tragedy or a comedy. All too often Christianity has turned an opportunity for comedy (seeing the rise of the outcast) into a tragedy (active ignoring of an individual or a group to double down on their exile from their inherent Neighb*orliness).

Here, in the midst of the trauma from the visitation of one or another demon, when we could do ourself in by acceding to legalize a communal norm against ourself and dear ones, we find a tragic situation redeemed with what Carrington157 calls “a sense of humour, courage, and a ready wit”.

All three of these are evidenced by Mark and his Jesus story as they explore their scripture base and keep finding a living G*D inhabiting one impurity after another. Feasts keep cropping up. Outsiders keep being brought into a house of changed lives.

When finding the demon gone and her daughter recovering, which do you project came first and which second—laughter or weeping to express relief and joy at a relationship restored that needed no faith and no visit to a religious authority for confirmation?

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Jesus’ receptivity to her wisdom points to a critical truth: Oppressed people often have a profound analysis of social situations, and know the paths to justice. People in position of authority need to heed them…. ¶Similarly, it is when we finally allow ourselves to hear and heed the broken parts of our selves—[not casting them away]—that we can see more clearly the paths to our own inner healing. ~Myers85

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This passage also reminds pastors, teachers, and others in positions of authority how to lose an argument. When Jesus recognizes that the woman’s argument is stronger than his own, he grants her petition. Many of us do not have nearly so much graciousness. ~Perkins611