Thursday, March 12, 2015

One More for Lent...

Meeting God in Mark, Reflections for the Season of Lent,was  written by Rowan Williams when he was Archbishop of Canterbury. Actually, these are part of a short series of talks he gave at Canterbury when we were in Year B in 2010. I'm glad for the privilege of having them now and will enjoy them through the rest of this season of Lent. Published by WestminsterJohnKnox, the book is available at www.wjkbooks.com. By this time in Lent, as usual I have gathered quite a collection of readings for Lent and I don't want to miss anything so I try to squeeze them all in.

Williams, who is now Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, reminds us that Mark is a bit different from the other Gospels. Mark doesn't tell us much about "Jesus' early life nor his teaching ministry and resurrection appearances." But Mark does offer "deeply theological perspectives," and he includes "these insights in skillful storytelling techniques and turns of phrase." Williams says that "offering simple stories requires enormous skill, and Mark is a great artist in this respect."

Meeting God in Mark begins with "The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the son of God...."  and tells the stories of John, coming as an important messenger, and Jesus, who came to John to be baptized,while God himself introduced his beloved Son, with whom he was "well pleased." Williams says that Jesus came to bring "change." "Someone's new reign was about to be inaugurated," writes Williams. So in Mark's Gospel, suddenly Jesus is there---and he is bringing great change.

Williams cautions readers to read slowly and he hopes we will "go back and let it work afresh" on us so that we will find that Mark gives us "the sense of a living Presence at work," that is, Jesus. May it be so.

---Lois Sibley,
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