Live in a bubble of relative affluence, health and freedom, low mortality rate, higher degree of control over the basic circumstances of our existence than at any other stage in history. But walls of that bubble are thin, and thanks to the ease of global travel and almost instant visual forms of communication, we can not only hear about what is happening outside it, but see it, too. We do not necessarily appreciate our good fortune, in the sense of giving thanks for it, hour by hour; but we are aware of it even so. We know that we are the lucky ones. That it might have been us. That it might yet be us. There, but for the grace of God, go I. It follows us, like the shadow at our shoulder. We do not acknowledge it, most of the time, but we know it is there. It undermines our ease, means that pleasure is bitter-sweet, nibbles at our confidence. Whether we want to think about it or not, we live in the face of death. The void sucks at us. We eat, mindful of famine.

 

we all make our own journey through loss, limitation, disability, dying and death - the particular ways that these issues affect us, that anxiety is expressed in us, and that we choose to respond - the impossibility of persuasion that is the death of the teacher, and the death of the Church.

 

We must demonstrate not only that we have faith in a life beyond death, but also that we know how to find life in the face of death.

 

Mark 16.1-8. The “end” that Mark gives us: overwhelmed by our fear.

 

The invitation: to express trust

- in the nature of God, as one who makes abundant life available to all

- in the ways of God, who has always been at work in the world, and continues to be at work in this situation; who has brought us to this moment and who gives us what we have “in our hands” to work with

- in the presence of God, here and now, offering us creative space in which to act as if abundance is real and by doing so, take part in a process of transformation

- in God’s vision of a positive future, towards which we are being led, and towards which all our creative endeavour tends.  

 

nature of Mark’s Gospel, make the gospel work for them, demonstrate:

that the alternative actually existed, that the vision could be realised, that the process worked,

how the vision of abundance, the strategy that Jesus had taught them, combined to change people, circumstances, situations, lives.

 

It was this combination of elements - the focus on the Gospel as creative process; the vision of abundant life for all; a strategy for applying that general promise to the specific needs of a situation or person; and the willingness to act as if all this was true - that empowered listeners to respond with generosity and commitment.

 

Gospel shown to be authentic and authoritative. Its truth proved in action - by addressing the deepest needs of the people for healing, freedom and peace. By meeting the needs of the crowd.

follows on from Bread in our Hands.  

Where Bread in our Hands focused on the Feeding of the 5,000, Grace in the Wilderness will “unpack” Mark’s account of the Last Supper, setting the meal in its narrative context

exploring its themes

 

Showing how the meal re-presents Jesus’ vision of God’s kingdom as the feast to which all are invited, and how his words and actions demonstrate his intention of pursuing to the end the creative strategy that he has taught his disciples. reinforcing and developing the ideas of BIOH

Looking at Mark’s Gospel through that prism by showing how they illuminate the Passion of Jesus as well as his life and ministry. how this interpretation of the Last Supper illuminates our understanding of the Atonement and of Holy Communion.

 

to address the issue of our creative suffering through reflecting on Jesus’ “passive” ministry and its impact on those around Jesus, those who witnessed it, those who came after him (for whom Mark’s Gospel was written), and the kind of mission which Mark envisages following Jesus’ death. To elaborate Jesus’ Passion as an expression of God’s mission.

 

to acknowledge where we are and to explore what faith means (what it is, and what it enables us to do) in this context.

 

Relate this to prayer and action.

 

ask questions (personal, Biblical) which enable us to tease out how we, individually and together, are being challenged to act in faith here and now, as step by step, we make our personal journey/s through death to life beyond death, finding life as we go, even in the face of death. This is the essence and meaning of the life of Christ.

 

 

Context - universal, inevitable death - the threat to the planet - to the society we have known - to the Church -

 

Live in a bubble of relative affluence, health and freedom, low mortality rate, higher degree of control over the basic circumstances of our existence than at any other stage in history. But walls of that bubble are thin, and thanks to the ease of global travel and almost instant visual forms of communication, we can not only hear about what is happening outside it, but see it, too. We do not necessarily appreciate our good fortune, in the sense of giving thanks for it, hour by hour; but we are aware of it even so. We know that we are the lucky ones. That it might have been us. That it might yet be us. There, but for the grace of God, go I. It follows us, like the shadow at our shoulder. We do not acknowledge it, most of the time, but we know it is there. It undermines our ease, means that pleasure is bitter-sweet, nibbles at our confidence. Whether we want to think about it or not, we live in the face of death. The void sucks at us. We eat, mindful of famine.

 

we all make our own journey through loss, limitation, disability, dying and death - the particular ways that these issues affect us, that anxiety is expressed in us, and that we choose to respond - the impossibility of persuasion that is the death of the teacher, and the death of the Church.

 

We must demonstrate not only that we have faith in a life beyond death, but also that we know how to find life in the face of death.

Choice: faith or fear.

 

 

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