Mark 15:16

The soldiers then took Jesus away into the courtyard – that is the Government house – and they called the whole garrison together.

Pilate’s court
had a cohort
at his disposal
to dispose of

how else rule
so many others
by such a pittance
of pity

here’s yet another
this must be Tuesday
or any other day
who knows who cares

much practice
leads to great efficiency
we whistle we work
as one ought
in a graveyard

Presumably, these soldiers were the ones who publicly scourged Jesus. It is likely that they were just as matter-of-fact in their hauling him away to be disposed of through the all too familiar route of crucifixion.

We know from current reports of secret places of detention around the world that further degradation of identity and torture await. In preparation for those, a larger audience is called together for the “fun”.

It was not that long ago that Jesus was led from Gethsemane to the chief priests who called together the whole Sanhedrin for a religious trial. From there Jesus was led to Pilate for a state trial that never became a trial but a bartering session. Pilate had Jesus led away to the keeping of soldiers on his way to Golgotha. They, in turn, called a larger group together for a pre-crucifixion ritual of diminishment and weakening.

Jesus had indicated that he would be handed over to death. At the time it was not clear that there would be handing over after handing over. This is a systemic institutional response—keep shunting a decision on to a next level for implementation. Everyone can claim to be innocent; it is always the next set of actors that screwed up.

As we enter deeper into the processes leading to the death of Jesus, we might remember Barabbas. Knowing the duplicity of occupiers from the inside [note slavery and removal of Native peoples, not to mention sequential waves of immigrants, women, and LGBTQ+ persons], Readers can imagine Barabbas also having been present during the previous scene and freed to walk down the steps and into a cheering crowd. Other imaginations can see this as a promise and that he never makes it out of captivity or is recaptured the next day.

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