Posted by: richard | 21 January, 2009

The Mystery Appears (Mark 1:1-15)

Last night we had a rich discussion on the opening of Mark’s gospel – the “cry of joy about Jesus Christ” as the book puts it!

We talked about how the opening of the Gospel points out all too clearly that Jesus is of supreme importance – old testament prophecies, John the Baptist’s preparations, the Father and the Spirit both identifying the Son in the moment of baptism.  We saw that John (and the prophets) announced that good news was coming – but that Jesus himself WAS (and is!) the good news!

We talked about baptism as a symbol of God’s forgiveness  – and that Jesus’s baptism was a sign of identification with those who would be saved through him.  There is also strong links to the story of Israel – Jesus’s passing through the waters into the wilderness and beyond into the rich and fertile area of Galilee resonates with Israel’s escape from slavery through the waters of the red sea, into the wilderness and beyond into the rich and fertile promised land.  This is a glimpse of the truth that Jesus came to be the true Israel, to fulfil what Israel the nation never could – to live under God’s rule and be a blessing through whom all nations would be blessed.

We then looked at Jesus’s message, which could perhaps be translated:  “the long-awaited appointed time has come and is here – God’s reign is breaking in now!  As a result, reform your lifestyle and put all your trust in this wonderful good God!”  So faith isn’t so much about belief (in the sense of “agree with these intellectual statements”) but rather trust (as in “put your weight on this bridge and trust that it will hold”).  As we found out through our “practical”, trust can be a scary thing!  But wonderful when you know into whose arms you are falling…

We briefly touched upon the guide’s exhortation to

  • realign our prideful posturings
  • recalibrate our ethical thresholds
  • remanufacture our principled priorities

To make these a bit more concrete – how about each trying to leave one comment on this blog post to give a concrete example of what one of these might look like in practice, in your life!

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Responses

  1. Prideful posturings – sometimes I can get on my high horse even in church situations (church council?). Whilst I think it is OK to actively push for the principles one believes in and be articulate and forthright, I am aware that sometimes the balance shifts from humble service to, probably, prideful posturing!

  2. PP – feeling proud about doing “spiritual” things at HTCML, like Passion Fruit and the Ecumenical evenings and being a bit snooty about things like LPG (sorry Mary-Lisa) Cameo and Scottish Dancing when we should be fostering anything that builds up our common life.
    Being smug about not smoking and not drinking a lot, but wasting my employer’s time surfing the internet (but I am writing this at home now)
    Pretending to be very ecological with low-energy light-bulbs etc but waiting for a major leak before getting the plumbing fixed.

    Possibly not what you were expecting, but I did miss the session.

  3. While we were talking about it on Monday the thing that struck me was that while I like to think I’m ethically environmentally friendly, there’s still so much I could be doing to keep the planet clean. I tend to think I’m doing well because I’m doing better than some other people, but I think that God calls us to be witnesses in that area by becoming extra eco-friendly, while not obsessing about it…

  4. I don’t take criticism well, that is pride fullness and lack of humility. Using my sensitivity as a shield, I could easily miss out on life. I force myself a lot on this. I forget to trust in the Lord to carry me through, making it possible for me to just act and give and receive gracefully.
    Does laziness fit anywhere in this? I don’t want to waste the time and gifts that I’ve received. But I so often do!!
    Bottom line: work on being a servant.

  5. I’m not sure that this is really answering the question though


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