Mark 14:17

In the evening he went there with the Twelve,

and it was
evening and morning
another seventh sabbath

all is ready
elements prepared
betraying disciples and all

and it was
a day like all days
visions and choices

all is still ready
a next moment
already at hand

A) And there was evening, we are back in Jewish time. And there was evening—a ninth day of creation.

B) It is helpful to emphasize, “… all of the Twelve.”

We are at the end of a time of preparation. Two have gone off to do what was necessary to prepare and they have done that work without recognition. What will be remembered is a woman’s anointing, not two male (likely) disciples heading up the preparations for Passover.

We are at a time when, after an eighth day of creation, wherein things fall apart—a Garden is off-limits, rains come to raise an ark, prophet after prophet fails to make their case in time (except, perhaps, for Jonah who is angry when the Ninevites change their hearts)—the Hebrews are caught in one exile or occupation after another. When bad news seemingly can’t get any worse—this is the eighth day (take a day off and creation falls to pieces). We are in need of a ninth day to repair creation. In some important ways the church has kept us in the eighth day and in other important ways has reminded us that the eighth day is an aberration.

Instead of using betrayal or idolatry as an excuse for wiping out a small group of people (remember the rainbow is a sign forbidding a universal genocide or common suicide) we begin with a time of beginning—evening—and with what it takes to reveal a heart changed by belovedness—hospitality for a once and future betrayer.

This line doesn’t really follow either the betrayal scene with Judas and the Chief Priests or the anointing scene anticipating the middle part of suffer, die, rise. We are at the end of what Mark sees as the culmination of wilderness exploration, healings, teachings, and feedings—evening. We are living the mercy, even when “it would be better if they had never been born”, of a heart changed by beloved mercy. What started as Passover, is transitioning beyond that now.

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