Mark 5:40

They began to laugh at him; but he sent them all out, and then, with the child’s father and mother and his companions, went into the room where she was lying.

we shake our heads in derision
at those so out of touch with reality
they are not worth a superior chuckle
we would laugh them out of town
if this were a laughing matter

when responded to in such a manner
there is no pushing an argument further
sides will only harden positions
needed is a waiting a demonstration
revelation’s own sweet time

a strategic huddle and retreat
is missed by closed eyes and ears
as a shift from impasse to direct action
builds quietly underground off stage
to surprise as retreat whirls to charge

In the laughing, ridiculing, jeering, scorning we find a clue to the connections between the synoptic gospels. The word κατεγέλων (kategelōn) is only found three times in the whole of the official Christian scriptures. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all record this same word at the same place in the story of Jairus’ daughter.

I still remember being laughed at and expect that such an experience is close to the top of most people’s memories and is easily joggable.

When derision can’t be dismissed it can become accepted and used as an inside word of identity by one member to another, but woe to the one from the outside who uses it. It can also become a badge of pride as followers of John Wesley turned the word “Methodist” from a slur to an affirmation. We might even remember that it was after Stephen’s stoning that we first hear about Antioch where the use of “Christian” is first noted in the bible. Josephus nearly dismisses Jesus’ followers, “Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man…. the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.” (Antiquities of the Jews, XVIII 3:3).

Here the tables are turned. The one laughed at, banishes those who jeered at him and continues on his way.

This moment is a failure, as there was no reason to have others leave if there is a separate room to enter to complete his task. Such escalation or payback is all too easy for us to identify with and to have to later repent. Recent American leaders have acted this way.

This moment is also a triumph. No matter the resistance, when something is needed we don’t let petty laughter get in the way.

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