Mark 15:37

But Jesus, giving a loud cry, breathed his last.

no loud cry
not even a whimper
chest muscles exhausted
no air to exhale

it comes to breath
taken in to call forth
no in no out
like chicken’s egg

which left first
a last exhale
a last inhale
how do we count

this knot cannot be cut
all that’s left is waiting
not for breath gone
but our own to start

We have here the equivalent of a star collapsing into a black hole or going supernova. Those with divergent base lines and experiences will evaluate this cry differently.

This is where Mark has been leading since we first heard another cry in the wilderness before a sense of belovedness entered into one. This cry sets that sense of belovedness loose again. Mark may well anticipate that his readers will receive that sense of wellness, no matter what consequences come from living it out, and share it in their own way.

Given the way crucifixion works through the weakening of muscles until a breath cannot be taken and suffocation eventuates, this cry may not be as loud as Mark claims. It may be more in the mode of T.S. Eliot’s whimper.

Sabin2146 puts this in better context than most translations:

The precise words that Mark uses to describe the moment of Jesus’ death are significant: “Then Jesus, releasing a loud voice, breathed out”. This literal translation is not as idiomatic as the conventional one, but it serves to highlight Mark’s ultimate use of the theme of release. When Jesus cures Simon’s mother-in-law, Mark says that the “fever released her” (1:31b). When Jesus forgives the paralytic, he says, “Your sins are released” (2:5). When Jesus heals the deaf-mute, he says in Aramaic, “Be released!” (7:34). And we have just seen how Mark shows Pilate ironically releasing a murderous rebel, but not Jesus from death (15:6, 9, 15). So it is dramatically effective that Mark uses the verb again here, suggesting that Jesus’ final breath is freeing.

Carlos Castaneda reports Don Juan counseling that death sits on our left shoulder to advise when everything has apparently gone wrong. A question here is how we are to live when death does touch us—what is the content of our released “cry”? Is it a weeping over a false peace? Is it a release of belovedness to those with ears to hear?

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