They then sang a hymn, and went out up the Mount of Olives,
high and lifted up
in the city
about to be grounded
in an olive grove
all our power
will be pressed
to their essence
and so we sing
and change and dance
of old and new
A song of praise stimulates our hope and hope energizes any song we sing into praise.
Even as Mark hurries the story along from a prepared room in Jerusalem to beyond its walls where oil is prepared, we can pause to wonder about hope and praise in moments of betrayal, suffering, and death.
Sabin2128 reflects further on the previous verse when Jesus raised a last glass of wine:
Although in one sense it suggests that he is moving toward death, in another sense it offers hope that there will be another time, a new time, in which God’s kingdom will at last prevail. And by showing that Jesus speaks of this time as one in which there will be “fruit of the vine” to drink, Mark also suggests that there will be a time when the fruit of God’s vineyard will be accessible again to God.
It seems clear that Judas was present for the sharing of bread and wine. What is not clear is when he was no longer present with the rest of the disciples and on his way to the Chief Priest to complete the betrayal he had begun. This will be the first of the options. Its strength is the very energy of singing songs praise-fully. In such a setting people would not be tracking where others were and gives the most time for the planning that went into handing Jesus over to the Chief Priests and on to Prefect Pontius Pilate and finally to a Centurion to administer death.
With the adjustments Jesus made to the Passover ritual, there is no need to be limited to singing the traditional Psalms 113–118. As the party left Jerusalem, paralleling the Hebrews leaving Egypt, there may have been someone who lifted Miriam’s song of victory after passing through the sea and the drowning of Pharaoh’s army. This takes us back to the praise going on as Jesus left the Mount of Olives and entered Jerusalem in what seems like a long time ago. In between these times, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives to speak of the Temple’s fall, echoing Jericho’s fall as the people shouted their victory praise.