“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!