Mark 14:2

for they said, “Not during the Festival, or the people may riot.”

we do so want
unfettered autonomy
doing what we want
when and how we want

to be soft and cuddled
when we want
with whom we want
as long as we want

to always be right
no questions
no challenges
no doubts expressed

to remove embarrassments
before the surface
under polite cover

when unfairly constrained
go to stealth mode
stretch your morality
just do it

Note the shift in Mark’s language from “crowd” to “people”. The crowds have been helpful revealers of how astounding the quality of belovedness is in Jesus’ life, and the life of others who have joined a long line of conscious avatars—G*D and Neighb*or partners.

LaVerdiere2226 identifies the trap within which the Chief Priests and the Temple structure have found themselves:

On the one hand, they could not arrest Jesus during the feast, for fear the people (ho laos) might riot on his behalf. On the other, they absolutely had to arrest him during the feast, for fear the people (ho laos) might rally to Jesus and riot against them. The only way out of the dilemma was to arrest Jesus by treachery (en dolo).

The Chief Priests were not yet able to discern just what diabolical mechanism would work to get them out of their pharaonic dilemma of self-protective leadership in a time of transition. This leads Readers to anticipate a concluding parenthesis and to begin paying attention to what lies between the raising of this problem and its resolution—this plotting and a convenient betrayal.

From here to the end of Mark, Readers do well to reflect on how “Holy Week” activities suppress the terrible realism of an intensely political drama still being played out in the crowds of injured and vulnerable persons. Myers183 notes raw themes of “back-room deals and covert action, judicial manipulation and prisoner exchanges, torture and summary execution” are “persistent in our own world” and act to deny any hope of rising to fuller partnership with one another.

Mark 14:1

It was now two days before the Festival of the Passover and the unleavened bread. The chief priests and the teachers of the Law were looking for an opportunity to arrest Jesus by stealth, and to put him to death;

the countdown is on
searching beyond boundaries
brought a gift beyond
tribal rescue
occupational resistance
a change of heart

the countdown continues
being beloved enough
to hazard a wilderness
plumb its depths
probe its strength
poke its edges

the countdown resumes
each new night next day
with riddles of trust
shifting frames
opening eyes and ears
partnering generously

Two days or two plagues before what became known as Passover there were locusts which ate all that was green in Egypt-land. The accusation against Moses was that of plotting an evil scheme and it turned out the trickster was Pharaoh who asked for forgiveness to stop the locusts and then would not give-in and let the Hebrews go.

Two days or two plagues before what became known as the Release, Exodus, or Rising of the Hebrew people from Egypt—there was darkness. Pharaoh’s stubbornness to not let the Hebrew people rise led him to say to Moses, “…the next time you see my face you will die.”

Adding the Feast of Unrising Bread into the mix has led to numerous attempts to make sense of Mark’s chronology. It may be necessary to broaden our understanding of the eight days of Passover and how that term can stand for the preparation for the whole of the celebration, the days themselves, and the carrying of the whole event forward as a perspective of release throughout the whole year.

When seen in light of the Passover story, we have the irony of the Chief Priests and Scribes shifting from a continued journey of rising up against injustice and unmercy, to playing the role of oppressor working in the background to play an okey-doke of sounding positive while setting in motion any and all necessary, last-minute reversals that turn an immanent release into harder captivity. Every institutional trick of the trade is fair in a zero-sum game of power.

Finally, the curtain is pulled back when the fire-hoses and dogs come out of hiding and arrest and death become the bottom-line of passed and past laws against a watched-for future grace-filled rising.