For churches that follow the lectionary, this is the year of Mark. The lectionary years are designated A, B, and C, which correspond to following the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, respectively. So this is Year B, the year to read Mark. The purpose of the lectionary is to give people a complete view of the Bible every three years. (”Where’s John?!?” I’m sure you are exclaiming in confused frustration. Good question, I say!) Since we don’t follow the lectionary, I would at least like to give people a chance to encounter this year’s gospel on its own terms.
That’s the real trick. It is very hard to read anything in the Bible without interjecting all the things we know from other parts of the Bible. Even if we have never studied the Bible intensively or if we came from a tradition that was not as focused on Scripture, it is hard not to import all the cultural baggage. For example, as we hurtle toward the Christmas season, it is hard to imagine the story of Jesus without a birth narrative. Prepare to be disappointed.
This week, we will look at the beginning of the Gospel According to Mark. As my professor, Dr. Heller, says, “The first thing is the most important thing.” Or something like that. I didn’t take a lot of notes. I’m not a “note” guy. Anyway, the important thing is that the way that someone starts a text will tell you a lot about what they are attempting to do. Think of the great novels you have read. (Full disclosure: I don’t read a lot of novels, but looking at this list makes me want to read a lot of novels, just to see what happens after those first delicious sentences.) Anyway, Mark starts boldly, not with a genealogy or birth narrative, but with a statement of purpose: “The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”
Please join us this Sunday, 11am at Kidd Springs Rec Center, as we unpack that auspicious beginning.
Grace and Peace,
Nov. 4 – The Beginning
Nov. 11 – Jesus’ Ministry
Nov. 18 – Jesus’ Death
Nov. 25 – Ressurection?
I was hoping to do a four week study of Mark. Since this last week was filled with gumbo and candy and the last week of November is Thanksgiving, I think it is best to condense to three weeks. Granted, this is a criminally short time to study anything, but we do what we can. So here’s the schedule:
Nov. 7 – Chapters 1-8 (Ministry in Galilee)
Nov. 14 – Chapter 9-13 (The Road to Jerusalem)
Nov. 21 – Chapters 14-16 (The Passion)
The format will be to discuss whatever issues people want to discuss. Take about an hour to read through the whole book and then read each section carefully before the discussion. The goal is to dig a little deeper than we can on Sundays.
The study will take place during Wednesday night dinners starting at 8pm after everyone has gotten something to eat. We will be at Sara Kitto’s throughout November. Hope to see you there!