What a wonderful opportunity it is this week, to celebrate both our Patronal Festivals together! It will be slightly strange for the St. Mark’s people, but we are all anticipating the Grand Opening of the new plant on 19th August.
If St. John and St. Mark were with us today, I wonder what the conversation might be like? These two Evangelists have written such wonderful Gospels! And so different from one another.
Mark’s is written in a climate of urgency – perhaps even of fear. It is the earliest of the four gospels to be written. The community to whom he was writing were being persecuted for their faith. On any day, when they arose, they had no way of knowing whether they would survive to nightfall. Mark’s writing, therefore, is immediate, fast-paced and intense – focusing mainly on the passion narrative. The Jesus we meet in Mark is a powerful healer – casting out demons, and demonstrating that he is the Son of God. The literary style is clever and deliberate, like a skillfully written novel.
John, it is thought, lived into old age, and the pace of his writing is more reflective. Although written in very poor Greek, providing scholars with dilemma after dilemma in its interpretation, many people describe John’s gospel as poetic, transcendent. The community he writes to has experienced terrible rejection by the Synagogues, perhaps, and there is no longer a temple – it having been destroyed in 70 AD by the Romans. It is far from a narrative style – engaging in long discourses and reflections, John is filled with symbol. Jesus is the eternal Word of God – who has existed from the beginning. He is the light, shining in the darkness, which will never be fully understood or overcome.
What a wonderful thing it is to be a part of two worship centres whose patrons are so fascinating. May the Holy Spirit knit us together in fellowship, today and always.