Mark 6:13

They drove out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were infirm, and cured them.

from appointed to anointing
evidences growth in trust
with nothing new under the sun
healing gifts are all around

to begin seeing need out there
and a gift to share in here
pushes us into a wilderness
of our own assumptions

need so great gift too small
confuse our tracking skills
running over one another
prodding here tugging there

until we are thoroughly lost
and in a moment’s moment
find ourself with the lost
reclaiming a grand mutual healing

after all these years
this still cannot be explained
how intentional lostness
leads out from wilderness

Hooray! The first part of the work of the Twelve seems to have worked well (authority over “unclean” spirits). Notice that nothing is mentioned about their second task to proclaim a change of hearts and lives.

There are technical terms such as synecdoche and metonymy that indicate one part stands for the whole or closely associated with it—e.g., seeing the tip of a sail just cresting the horizon and calling out, “Ship ho!” Under this rubric you can say one and mean both. But Mark has set them up verses apart as the crust ends of a sandwich holding a dress code and a conditioned leaving process—they are connected but distinguishable.

Working from silence to be able to have a positive response about the proclamation of John and Jesus and themselves (and ourselves?) tends to leave us with an encroaching piety that sees everything in its own light. We have to ask whether the hearts and lives of the Twelve were changed on their journey and healing acts? Given the track-record of the Twelve and events yet to come it seems unlikely.

We can see the Twelve excited about being able to participate in signs of G*D’s presence with them and completely blanking about how to report on the lives of those whose spirit and body were anointed (Messiah-ed). It is exciting to claim the authority of a Messiah without the ongoing work that comes from intentional testing and retreat grounding tomorrow’s present rather than the past’s today.

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