Letter from Revd. Joan LyonJuly 9, 2015
As we enter what is known as “Ordinary Time” in our liturgical calendar, we get to grips with the life and ministry of Jesus as told through the eyes of St Mark through our weekly Sunday readings. Mark does not offer the more theological and metaphorical spin of St John. It’s a fast-moving Gospel. Jesus doesn’t waste his time but calls his disciples to experience many different situations – debating with the religious leaders, moving on from place to place, healing people from the bonds of illness, physical and psychological, pushing the social and cultural boundaries of the time, paying attention to the needs of the “little ones”, dealing with the disciples’ continuing misunderstanding of his words. Jesus also offers a continuous thread of hope – there will be a harvest (the parable of the seed sower), there will be peace and calm (the stilling of the storm), there will be new life (Jesus’ death and resurrection) – and we can experience that now. The kingdom of God is near (Mark 4: 30 – the story of the mustard seed).
As we read this gospel, we discover a challenging manifesto. We are in challenging political times in this country, across Europe and as the economic international power bases jostle for territory. Where do we hear the voice of Jesus? Might it be in a flood of letters to our local MPs and MEPs – something all of us can do – asking for justice for all, a fair sharing of our wealth (because in global terms, we are hugely wealthy) and in that most serious issue for the whole world – climate change.
It’s lovely to sit back and watch Springwatch on television direct from our beautiful local nature reserve, Minsmere. But nature is changing “through weakness, through negligence, through our own deliberate fault” as one prayer of confession would have us say. We are happy to sing that favourite hymn “For the beauty of the earth”. Through our own efforts now, perhaps our grandchildren will still be able to enjoy a beautiful earth in the company of neighbours from far and near. Through our efforts now, they can have a better understanding of “who is my neighbour?”
I have recently bought a children’s book for one of my grandchildren. It’s called “We are Different and Alike – A book about diversity” and is published by Abbey Press in their series “Just for me books” (www.abbeypresspublications.com and click on “JUST FOR ME BOOKS” in the side bar.) Another one is “What is God like?” – a good conversation starter with a younger, enquiring mind. This is a really good series to share with young people. I can recommend them.
Let’s join our voices to those involved in Christian Aid campaigns – find out more – look up www.christianaid.org. Ask your PCC members to put these issues on their agenda.
Sit down and read Mark’s Gospel – it doesn’t take long but it offers food for a lifetime.
Reverend Joan Lyon