Mark 2:4

Being, however, unable to get him near to Jesus, owing to the crowd, they removed the roofing above Jesus; and, when they had made an opening, they let down the mat on which the paralyzed man was lying.

a closed door
offers a second look
a second story is sparked
a lid removed

after bump bump bumping
urgency for satisfaction
can give up and fall in line
a fickle finger of fate is not the plan

for some baptismal reason
we look up in times of defeat
we are still beloved
and see reflections in a dove’s eye

there is a way around
even when it is up and over
a little geometry and we’re off again
to lay our burden in blessing’s lap

even as we are rewarded
for a creative initiative
we know we’ve cut the line
solidarity now suffers

such is it when fish fish for fishers
a golden sunfish distracts
we begin to game the system for profit
in the wilderness a low chuckle is heard

For the first time we hear of a “crowd”. It has been implied up to this point but from here on out it will be important to track this word that shows up, on average, more than twice per remaining chapter. A crowd has meaning on its own, much in the way of a chorus in ancient Greek plays. Sometimes crowds are blockages and sometimes show awe, but neither change the arc of the story.

“Carry”, often used in Mark regarding a sick person, speaks to the amount of illness and poverty that comes Jesus’ way. In wildernesses we need to be carried and to carry others.

The paralyzed person is being carried on a flexible mat, mattress, or sling of some sort, quite different from the “bed” described in Matthew and Luke. Here life is at the level of the poor—a mat, not a bed. Such small word choices remind us to read Mark in light of Mark.

The roof is described as being “unroofed”, not just a small section dug out. Unroofed is a good descriptor for wilderness. Take this back to baptism, “heaven was torn open, a paralytic descended.” As you read Mark, be sensitive to what, beside a dove, images Spirit?

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