Mark 3:3

“Stand out in the middle,” Jesus said to the man with the withered hand;

silence is death
visibility is healing

between secrets and flaunting
relationships grow

I see you there
even when you don’t

your belovedness shines
before you see it

reflected and refracted
in other smiles

come stand alongside me
we’re better together

in such a small invitation
a new world begins

In a time of insistence that the Messiah will only come if Israel keeps true to the Sabbath and other honorings of G*D, Jesus breaks open a conversation about the purpose of Sabbath by bringing a fraught situation to a head. A helpful way for a tense situation to be resolved is for the elephant in the room to be acknowledged. Jesus’ insider/outsider location can help begin a larger conversation. If he doesn’t act, he’s over. If he does act, he will be charged with provoking or picking a fight.

“Come here, where you can be seen.” These are simple enough words but they turn the scene from a script to a play.

Whether dealing with the wilderness of having lost one’s identity or use of one’s whole body or just one part of it, it doesn’t make a great deal of difference if a healing seems to come out of the blue or whether it is intentionally set up. In the face of the trauma of having lost one’s community as well as one’s place within it a healing can be fantasized as being a good thing, but it can also be an equivalent to the current curse of trying to reestablish life after conviction for a felony. You may be quite able to work only to find a little box on an application form that will likely put you out of the running even before you have an interview or can demonstrate your ability.

We don’t know anything about this person with a non-usable hand. Was he purposely invited to be present or was it sheer happenstance? What will we find out about him during a healing? What do we hear about his experience after the fact? Nothing. There is nothing here but an example to be used by Jesus. Being a specimen carries its own place of being-of-no-account. Healed or not, wilderness identity abides.

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