by Liz Goodyear-Jones
Shortest, probably earliest, and almost curt in places: these are all characteristics of Mark’s Gospel and this is his feast day.
It has been almost 40 years since I was in seminary, trying to figure out who and what made this person tick, but this one fact stuck with me. Mark uses the word “immediately” 40 times in the Gospel. His sense of urgency permeates this work. And though we know almost nothing about the who, where, what, and when of this man, we know this- He wanted us to get to the point and get there NOW. His point, of course, was Jesus is the son of God and if you follow him, your life will be forever transformed. Period.
As I am writing my piece this morning, we are celebrating Earth Day and I have dutifully gone to my What’s App and sent messages for this beautiful planet and our need to care for it. As I did that, it gave me pause to think about Mark and his Gospel: his calling to us with a sense of “Right Now” and the importance of doing something “immediately”.
The symbol of the lion for Mark comes from its Gospel opening, describing John the Baptist as the voice of a messenger preparing the way, ”the voice of one crying out in the wilderness,” urgently.
I am reminded of another evangelist today, her pungent, right now, message, stinging a bit and calling us to get up out of our lawn chairs and beach things, and start picking up the earth. Could be Mark, but it is not. Right. It is tiny Greta Thunberg. Out to save the world. And just like Mark, she just may do it.
God bless the urgent ones, who save us from our complacency and give us rich blood for the high adventure of having something at stake in our lives-like maybe following Jesus and saving the world.