Caversham, Thameside & Mapledurham Parish are doing something a little different in the seven weeks after Trinity (ie from the beginning of June) this year. We are planning to preach a shared sermon series, covering key passages and themes from Mark's Gospel over the seven weeks.
The idea is that the Gospel story is at the heart of what it means to be a Christian, so people should have the opportunity, during their weekly worship, to encounter this story as a whole, not just scattered fragments.
Mark is the gospel of the year in the Anglican lectionary; it is also the shortest, least cluttered, of the accounts of Jesus' ministry, from his baptism to his resurrection. So from a practical point of view, Mark is a good Gospel to go for.
I would also argue that in many ways this is the best gospel for our time: Mark appears to be aimed at people who are busy, cosmopolitan and politically aware; whether they are religious insiders or not. This sounds to me like a description of a large chunk of Caversham, indeed a fair part of today's world (at least the part that is likely to be reading this on the internet).
But this is particularly a message of good news for those who are struggling with uncertainty, with persecution and suffering, and for those whose world is changing in ways they cannot comprehend. Mark is a strange gospel, but it speaks to those for whom chaos and fear are everyday realities.
Each week there will be three readings from Mark, followed by a sermon. In the notice sheets the readings will be listed, along with some short reflections on the themes for consideration over the week. Much of the structure of this is derived from Rowan Williams' excellent little book Meeting God In Mark.
If you live in Caversham or Mapledurham, or hereabouts, why not come along to one of the churches on a Sunday and hear for yourself what this is all about?
Over the period of the series I will also be posting here additional thoughts and reflections on the section of Mark being covered that week. Why not use the comment section to join the conversation, to share your thoughts and what Mark's (or Jesus') words mean to you? You never know who might be helped and encouraged by your words.