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First page of the Gospel of Mark, by Sargis Pi...

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“Let’s do a public community reading of Mark’s gospel!”

“Oh yeah!” I thought. “Who’s going to come?”

So 40 people aged from 7 to 90 gathered on a hot Sunday evening for our first public community reading of Mark’s gospel. It took 90 minutes, three narrators, and about 12 voices to read various characters. (For some reason I was allocated the voices of the unclean spirits and Judas!)

By the time the women fled the open tomb (we used Mark’s short ending), several observations could be made:

  • the event had a strong effect on all gathered , from youngest to oldest – some commented that they had come to appreciate Mark’s gospel in a new light
  • although Mark is an action gospel, Jesus still had plenty to say – lots of “red letter” words.
  • Mark’s gospel has a continuity of narrative that is easily missed through a habitual selective focus on its many vignettes.
  • Immersion in a total public reading of the gospel leads to a sense of participation in the flow of the narrative.

Some will wonder whether this non-analytical approach short changed us. No worries –  internationally renowned New Testament scholar, Professor William (Bill) Loader will be conducting a series on Mark’s gospel over the weeks between now and Easter. We combine with the Wembley Downs Uniting Church who will be hosting the series.  The topics are:

26 February – “Good News” according to Mark – what does salvation and faith and eternal life look like in Mark – in comparison with others?

4 March – Mark on Scripture – looking at the controversy stories and how they reflect different approaches to Scripture.

11 March –  An evening with Herod the Great: Sex and Power in the world of Jesus and Mark (a lot of fun as well as informative)

18 March – Mark on Miracles – looking at the problems and possibilities posed by miracle stories for Mark and other NT writers.

25 March – Mark on being human and being God – looking at the conflicting models of humanness, Jesus and God between Jesus and the disciples.

Should be fun!

 

 

 

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