It’s no surprise to learn that on-line booksellers have done well during the past year because the opportunity to read more than usual has been welcomed by many. In some ways my most interesting reading experience has been to join with others in a Lent Challenge – following readings each day of Lent except Sundays from the Gospel according to Mark, and then a weekly opportunity for discussion together by Zoom. How fresh the picture of Jesus which the Gospels give us can seem! You think you know the four books quite well then you read one again and something grabs anew. This time, in addition to noting the large crowds that gathered to hear Jesus teach (they were often astounded) and the healings that took place (they were regularly amazed), we’ve taken note of how from quite early on, Jesus somehow knew he would soon end up in Jerusalem and knew what awaited him there. But most striking and mysterious of all was Jesus’ conviction that this is what he had to do, to die, to ‘give his life for many’. This would be the goal of all his efforts to bring about what he called ‘the Kingdom of God. We know, of course, that when (I don’t doubt it!) we reach the end of our Challenge on Easter Eve, another mystery awaits us. The Gospel according to Mark famously ends abruptly with reports of Jesus having been seen alive. But though this and other mysteries will remain unexplained, nothing will deny our Easter joy before God as we experience again the new life which the risen and living Jesus gives - and know again that (as we have discovered), he is with us always. The Rev’d Dr Richard Hines [email protected] (01945) 587742.
Church of England Diocese of Ely Friday Bridge with Coldham