From Pastor's Desk

Mark for Everyone

I am glad we are reading through the gospel of Mark for our Lenten meditations. This gospel is one of many favorites. I recommend this to the confirmation candidates as they prepare to be accepted into the full membership of the church. The gospel is like a movie trailer that moves from one scene to the other in quick succession. His use of the word “immediately” several times in the gospel reminds us of the urgent in-breaking of the gospel and the kingdom in the life of Jesus. Probably, Mark has no time to tell all that has happened in the life of Jesus but ones that are necessary for the extension of the kingdom. Jesus has ushered in the kingdom and now it is time for the disciples and us to keep it going. There is urgency and so the church and the disciples cannot wait on it but must get the work done. Does that urgency reflect in the things that we do in church? If no, then we are missing the one thing Jesus came to do.

I am always intrigued by the first words from the mouth of Jesus in the gospel of Mark “Now after John  was  arrested,  Jesus  came  to  Galilee  proclaiming  the  good  news  of  God  and  saying,  “The  time  is fulfilled,  and  the  kingdom  of  God  has  come  near;  repent,  and  believe  in  the  good  news.”  The  word repentance, in my view, is either spoken too much in the church or not spoken at all. Repentance without grace is too much to bear, at the same time, only grace without repentance makes for “anything goes” in the kingdom. The word repent is in the imperfect tense, which means we are called to repeatedly repent of the wrongs we have done. It is not a one-time act but a daily dose of coming before God in humility and with a contrite heart. May be repent is something we need to think about again and again as we journey thru Lent.  

Repent is not only a complete turn around but also, rearranging our priorities so thatChrist still holds a central place in our lives. In our human frailty, pride, and brokenness, we move Christ away from being the center of  our lives. Repentance  calls us to  keep a check  and to put  back Christ in  His rightful place.Once again, Lent can help us do it.

The first week of Lenten meditation allowed us to peek into the identity of Jesus. The ones who are outsiders to the faith have a better understanding of Jesus’ identity beginning with the man possessed by demons, the centurion at the cross and the blind men who are healed by Jesus. Mark will also tell us that Jesus will exert power and authority over everything. He will teach with authority, will drive out demons, calm the storm and raise the dead to life with authority.

 In the coming weeks, we will see Jesus talk about “evangelism.” This word has gotten such a bad rap in the  world  that  the  church  hardly  speaks  about  it.  For  the  Markan  Jesus,  evangelism  is  so  central  to  His work. The church must find creative ways to bring people to the knowledge of God. The gospel of Mark will  challenge  us  to  engage  in  evangelism  beyond  the  traditional  ways  of  preaching  and  teaching.  The demoniac healed by Jesus will be asked to share “what God has done” and that becomes the core of our evangelistic message.

There is so much to the gospel of Mark that we can dig together and find meaning for our lives in this time and space. If you’re interested in watching the video sessions with me, please text or email me and I can share the link to the videos. I hope you will join us for the next 4 weeks as we read, ask questions, and meditate on the good news of the gospel. Blessings on your Lenten journey.

Rev. Kamalesh Stephen

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