Mark 14:46

Then the men seized Jesus, and arrested him.

a mob descends
as quietly as they can
poking one another
in the ribs as they go
holding in chortles
as best they can

had any watcher
paid attention
an escape
was available
through a convenient dark
into a welcoming wilderness

the plotters
were too clever
by half
what was needed
was an assassination
not a show trial

Jesus has been saying that he would be handed over. Here the hands arrive and grab.

With the handling of Jesus, the Judas part of Mark’s story comes to an end. Other players will bring the actual suffering and death Jesus has anticipated.

This scene is another spot of irony as Jesus has used his hands for healings and feedings. The hymnwriter Margaret Cropper has us sing, “Jesus’ hands are kind hands”. Jesus’ hands give, not take. This is in accord with his coming to deacon.

This coming to “serve” can be seen in Gene Sharp’s presentation of rhythmic sequence in his trilogy, Politics of Nonviolent Action. Download Sharp’s synopsis of his trilogy at:

In an unjust/non-merciful situation, the first movement is a confrontation or challenge to reveal the situation. Jesus begins with breaches of tradition, a vineyard parable, and entering Jerusalem.

The second is a reactive response from those in power—repression. This acknowledges that the challenge has come too close—there has been a reduction in power’s ability to control the situation. Fear of a growing crowd has led to this School-of-the-America’s tactic of a night raid employing physical violence, disappearance, and death. This is where we currently are in Mark’s story.

Finally, a situation-changing, non-retaliatory choice. We are not fully there yet; it will be realized only after the trio of suffering, death, and rising. It begins with no resistance by Jesus here in Gethsemane.

The flow of these three moments changes hearts and minds and leads to a repentance in community relationships and behaviors (remember Jesus’ mission from 1:15). These stages can be seen in three scenes: Temple upset, Garden arrest, and Galilee community.

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