From Gospel to Gospel: Matthew into Mark

Think

Here we are at the Fifth Sunday in Lent, moving from Matthew 27 all the way to Mark 5. It is commonly understood that even though in the canonical order in which we are used to seeing them, Mark is actually the earliest-written Gospel, our earliest canonical written version of events in Jesus’ ministry. Williamson also notes, “First gospel or not, Mark is surely the only New Testament book which calls itself a gospel. … ‘Gospel’ can signify a literary genre, or a particular theological message, or a canonical writing normative in the life of the church. The Gospel of Mark is all three: a collection of traditions about Jesus presented in story form, a narrative constituting good news about God and [God’s empire], and a writing which occupies a place of fundamental importance in the Scriptures of the church.” (p. 1)

Given that we are still in Lent, it seems somewhat jarring to move from the conclusion of one gospel into a new one, and yet, as with so many things in life, here we are. Have you noticed any differences between reading the Bible this way versus other reading plans?

This week we read Part 2,  “Managing Your Time,” Chapter 16, “Seven Time Management Tips” of the T+P+A Big Read 2019, The Lifelong Activist. I have found all of these tips helpful in some form or another. As time has marched on, I have particularly found #4, make technology work for (not against) you. I am old enough to remember the earlier days of computer technology in which it seemed to take as much time to get technology working well as it did to do things in a less tech-y way. These days I am amazed at how much technology can help us to work more efficiently and effectively – both separate and together. At the same time, it’s also important to remember that technology is a tool and that you are the boss of it, not it of you. I find it helpful to spend significant time offline, and have specific tasks in mind when I get on the computer, phone, or tablet – otherwise I can easily waste an hour scrolling through social media.

Also, tip #7 is important for me: make quick decisions! I sometimes find myself hesitating over a decision or a beginning because I want to do the right thing. It seems like many decisions can be changed or modified – and it’s okay to do that! It’s also okay to fail! Those moments provide opportunities to learn and fail better the next time.

What do you think of these tips? Do you have any of your own to add? C’mon over to People of the Books, our online book club in which we discuss this book and whatever else is on your mind or heart!

Pray

We continue on with our Lenten practice with Compton Heights Christian Church – reading and praying through Boundless Compassion: Creating a Way of Life by Joyce Rupp. This week we read Week Five, “A Thousand Unbreakable Links.”

I invite you to reflect on the tremendous gift we have in being citizens of Earth, to enter into the wonder of our dwelling on this exceedingly generous home in the cosmos. I encourage you to gaze upon the ways that nature and spirituality companion one another. I ask you to becoming more aware of the growing need to have empathy for the suffering inflicted on Earth by human consumption, indifference, and greed. My hope is that this week will enable you to take a more encompassing look at how much gratitude we owe our planet, and that it will inspire you to renew a desire to care well for this vulnerable home of ours.

Joyce Rupp, Boundless Compassion: Creating a Way of Life, p. 141

Oh my! Well, Ms. Rupp, when you put it that way! This chapter meets us at the core of our existence on Earth. Even if we are a part of no religious or faith tradition, there is something undoubtedly magnificent about life on Earth itself. How is it that out of all that space in the universe that there happens to be at least one planet that gives and sustains life in the way we have come to know? In the midst of our stresses and problems and all we’ve done to Earth and Earth’s creatures, we are still supported in our existence. In the midst of our vast universe, what is our place in it? And my fave question ever, what’s the meaning of it all, anyway?

Act

Check out the Find Your FBCO Map to find your local faith-based community organizing affiliate and connect with the people who are working together to live out their dreams of a more just world! What’s going on in your living of the Gospel? Let us know in the comments, in our e-mail discussion group, or on social media.

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