The Greek word for Gospel, “euangelion,” means “good news.” There are four books in the Bible we name gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. And of these four, it is believed that Mark is the first one to be written. Mark is also the shortest of the gospels.
Our Summer Bible Study (each Sunday morning at 9:45) will be focusing on Mark’s Gospel, and this will also be my focus in preaching during July and August. Mark tells the story of Jesus in an “action-packed” manner, which is why we have named our study this year, “The Adventures of Jesus of Nazareth.” Immediately, Immediately, Immediately; Mark uses this word over and over. Mark almost leaves us breathless with the immediacy of unfolding events.
Indeed, the pace and excitement are akin to a modern day action movie. Each week of this series, both in study and in worship, we will pull out another incredible scene and make application for our lives today. Chapter one tells us what to expect; this is the beginning of the good news of Jesus the Messiah, God’s Son. And from there we will hear about the baptism of Jesus, and then the calling of the first disciples!
So in these coming weeks, I hope you will join us for Summer Bible Study and for worship and discover the ways we are all being invited to witness to the good news that we know in Jesus. As Tom Wright says in his commentary on Mark, “Mark has all the zip and punch of a quick, hasty story that is meant to grab us by the collar and make us face the truth about Jesus, about God, and about ourselves. Mark is for everyone!
So, come join us on the first Sunday of July. We will provide a daily reading and study guide from Mark’s gospel. I encourage you to make use of this resource. Or, you might try to read the book of Mark in its entirety before we begin our study. As I mentioned, this is the shortest gospel. It will only take a few hours to read through.
And, I pray that each of us takes time this summer to refresh and renew our spirits. Jesus took time to get away from the business of his ministry to spend time with God. At times, our summer schedules are so full we need a vacation from our vacation. Jesus urges us, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” That is a good word as we begin this summer season. Come and spend some time with Him, and may God bless us, our summer, and our worship and service of Jesus the Christ.
In Christ, Pastor Joel
Rev. Dr. Doris Barron-Shell