Thursday, February 12, 2015

Lent, Year B

Lent for Everyone, Mark, Year B continues N. T. Wright's three-part series on Lent, published by WestminsterJohnKnox  ( Author of many books, Wright is also Professor of New Testament at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. His series on Lent begins with the Gospel stories found in Year A, on Matthew; Year B, Mark with a few portions from John; and Year C on the Gospel of Luke with some portions of Acts. This liturgical year, B, puts us right in the middle of Wright's series on Christ's ministry: calling disciples, teachings, healings, the arrest, trial, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Our Lenten journey begins on Ash Wednesday, February 18, and concludes with Easter Saturday, April 11.Wright provides his translation of the Gospel stories as he guides readers, helping us to join in, be part of each story, and "make it our own." He suggests we "pause and pray" about any messages we may get from time to time on our journey. He gives a brief reflection on each story, and a sample prayer for each day. I love the prayers. They are simple, ordinary, and reaching out to Jesus.

Wright has us study a Psalm on most Sundays, and then each day we walk through the Gospel stories in Mark, and a few in John. He talks about biblical cultures and how they compare or contrast with each other and with our own. The contrasts he makes between the Old Testament culture of law and the New Testament culture of love are sometimes quite different. In our culture, as we try to put together both law and love in the midst of our world of wars, we may have similar challenges.

Wright has a gentle way of explaining the Gospel stories and what Jesus was doing as he went about "announcing God's kingdom and making it happen wherever he went" on his way to the Cross and Easter with its "shocking new beginning." And the story is not over yet.......

---Lois Sibley