I’m a born procrastinator. I need time to think things through. “Immediately” is not a word that appears often in my working vocabulary.
It occurs twice and insistently in the text from today’s reading in Mark’s gospel.
Four men instantly drop their work to go around with one who has just taken up the baton of his politically assassinated cousin. Critical moments call for instant decisions, I suppose. And let’s not de-politicise what was at stake here – it was the proclamation of an alternative empire to that of Rome. ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ· is more correctly translated as “empire of God” than “kingdom of God.”
I would like to think that as one who is absolutely sold on the “empire of God” as proclaimed by Jesus that I would be as immediate in my response to claims by alternative empires, especially the dominant western one that claims my allegiance now and whose political masters brand many like me unloyal and unpatriotic when we measure their claims against his.
There was nothing rash or immediate about Jesus’ proclamation, however. It was 40 days in the making and rejected easy fixes to get to the nub of what mattered. Perhaps that’s why it evoked such an immediate response.