Mark 5:8

For Jesus had said, “Come out from the man, you foul spirit.”

even before repentance
is on the horizon
we prepare to act
as though it were true

when another stands in need
having seen it a long way off
we have already acted
a prevenient partner

when it is me in need
having lived with it forever
it is still a surprise
when relief comes BANG

we are whiplashed
while running to say begone
we are enveloped with welcome
our circle circled

stories of life
live in this dynamic
fade without it
are reprised without end

A command is not always a command as we are continuing a conversation after an order has been given. This willingness to listen further than a first decision reminds us of the importance of partnership and valuing horizontal relationships.

What a different story it would be if Jesus were to have every answer to every situation already written down on a cheat sheet to be pulled out, checked, and enforced.

With a little extra time the story can get played out a bit further and we will see where our values have been tempted and caught along the way. Bargaining with G*D, institutions, and one another reveals much about how we are engaged in the world.

A number of translations do not follow a sequence of Jesus first, chain-breaking man second, and back to Jesus. There is more of a sense of simultaneity or Jesus opening his mouth to speak. See the Easy-to-Read, Good News, New Life, New Testament for Everyone, and The Voice versions listed at James A. Kleist, in his translation found in The Memoirs of St. Peter: The Gospel According to St. Mark, Translated into English Sense-Lines, records it this way: “for He was about to say to him”.

For whatever reasons, the “standard” versions are oriented toward a linear presentation while the lesser-attested versions carry a more dynamic interaction of both Jesus and the yet unnamed man speaking and interacting at the same time. Your preference?

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