Saturday, March 16th
Throughout the year, the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ produces the Daily Lectionary for use by churches. These are the suggested readings for March 16th: Psalm 27; Psalm 118:26-29; and Matthew 23:37-39. I would encourage you to read these short selections as part of your Lenten practice.
Today the Tri-Conference Spring Super Saturday gathering will take place at Minnechaug Regional High School in Wilbraham. The day begins with all of the participants worshiping together. Then each participant goes to the various workshops that had been chosen.
I’ll be spending my morning, just over two hours, at a live presentation of the Gospel of Mark. Rev. Shannon Wall, a former professional actress, will present the entire Gospel from memory. Mark is the oldest Gospel. It emerges from an even earlier oral tradition. The earliest Christians never imagined a church of 2,000 years and counting. They were expecting Jesus to return in glory, probably even during their lifetimes. The written Gospel only appears after the realization that this will not take place.
Robert Browning expresses this poetically: “When my ashes scatter, says John [the last living apostle], ‘There is left on earth no one alive who knew (consider this!) – Saw with his eyes and handled with his hands that which was from the first, the Word of Life. How will it be when none more saith, “I saw”’?”
The workshop description suggests that we will have a “visceral experience of the first Gospel.” The presentation on Mark will take us back to the first generations of our faith when people would share the amazing and paradoxical account of Jesus’s life, teaching, death and resurrection as a story, a first time ever heard story.
I’m looking forward to that, but I think the Bible can always be read as a first-time experience. There is always something new to be revealed. As we grow, as our situation in life changes, as our faith lives change, the Bible speaks to us differently. Lent gives us the sacred opportunity to spend more time with the Word of God so that the Bible can speak to us as a fresh revelation. For this I am grateful. As the Psalmist writes: ““The Lord is God, and he has given us light.”
I invite you to read the Gospels so that God can give us more light, and I invite you to come join us tomorrow at our Sunday Service as we continue to experience firsthand the fresh presence of Christ in our midst.
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