Originally published in the South Jetty
The feel of Mark's gospel seems, at first, to match the feel of our world today. We are two steps ahead of ourselves, and wondering where the time went; we are trying to get more things done, and multitasking if possible. We don't have time to wait. We don't know how to wait. If we are looking for a gospel to connect with this busy season, Mark's may seem to be the most appropriate. We don't read about where Jesus came from, we just know he's baptized, tempted, and then he's calling people to learn his ways and change the whole world.
And therein lies the big difference between our perceived busy lives in our world, and the laser-focused-urgency we find in Mark's gospel. If we allow in the world's changes and chances to toss us about as a ship on a rough sea, then the world will be glad to tell us how and when we are to distract ourselves and how to make ourselves busier and busier. We are told that we can't miss the sacred economic holiday of Black Friday so we leave the table to start shopping. We can be pulled in a thousand directions.
In contrast to that is the immediacy and focused urgency of Mark's gospel. It is not distracted but carefully aimed on an message of cosmic importance. Mark's urgency comes from the reality of Christ's truth. It isn't a response to the world's frenetic pace, it is a way to move through it with purpose in spite of all distractions. It is a focused urgency. Jesus has a purpose that will not wait. He has come to liberate the world from it's bondage.
Where is your focus this season? Christmas begins on December 25 and continues for 12 days. In what ways will you be focused on the truth of your mission and purpose in life? What worldly distractions might you do well to ignore? Unique among the gospels, Mark's story telling gives us a model that is so focused the healing-feeding-raising from the dead ministry of Jesus that leaves us no doubt that he must be God Incarnate. Mark's gospel presents a way of living in the world that places a sense of urgency on the life-giving movement of God in the world, but not of the world. If the world is the sea, the gospel of Christ is our motor and rudder. The rest of Marks' quote from Isaiah is, "I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; a voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight." Good thing, too, because Jesus came in hot! When God moves, God really moves. How might you prepare for God to move with such urgency in your life this Christmas? The time is now. It's here.