|Pen and Ink Reflections||
What do you think makes for a great political slogan? Whatever you think about him, I think Donald Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ was pretty effective. Other catchy slogans which have famously worked well in the USA have been Lyndon Johnson’s ‘All the Way with LBJ’, Bill Clinton’s ‘Its the Economy stupid’, and the clever response to Barry Goldwater’s ‘In your heart, you know he’s right’ which was ‘In your guts, you know he’s nuts’. In the UK, the one slogan everyone remembers was Margaret Thatcher’s ‘Labout isn’t working’. What about Australia? My guess is that Whitlam’s ‘Its Time’ has probably been the most effective, with ‘Kevin 07’ perhaps a catchy runner-up as most recently memorable. It is hardly a new phenomenon of course. Leaders were coining political slogans from ancient times, not least the Roman Emperors. So too with Jesus. For, whilst Jesus’ proclamation – his evangelion, his ‘gospel’ - was much more than political, as we hear it again in today’s reading, it most certainly had its political dimension. It is something important that we can easily miss with the passing of time…
What do we know about St Mark? (wrote one of the gospels, symbol is a lion, famous churches - for example in Venice - named after him?). The truth is that we don't know a great deal about St. Mark himself There are certainly a few legends that attach to his name. One is that the Last Supper was held in his house - the story goes that Mark was a teenager at the time, and that possibly he sneaked out with the other disciples and followed Jesus to the garden of Gethsemane and was the young man who nearly got arrested, but managed to get away by wriggling out his loin cloth and running away naked. If that story has truth, then Mark learned at an early age that following Jesus can be a very risky matter and that courage is important. Some scholars identify him with a disciple called John Mark, who appears in the Acts of the Apostles, first as a companion to Paul and Barnabas and later as a scribe for Peter. Certainly the gospel of Mark has many references to Peter and seems to have been written by someone who might have heard Peter tell his version of the story.
Whatever the truth of all that, when we read the gospel of Mark some aspects stand out, that I would summarise as pouncing, proclaiming and praying...
I wonder how you like the postcard our sisters and brothers at St Mark’s Buderim give out. On one side, it has this little picture of part of a little time-keeper, with sand trickling through it. The main words are from a Spanish proverb, and they say: ‘How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then rest afterward.’ Do you like that? At the bottom, there are then a few more words, which say: ‘Do nothing and change your life, at St Mark’s Anglican Church, Buderim.’ Not quite the usual advertisement for a Church, is it? It certainly makes us think, and it challenges many of our assumptions. Yet I think it is right on the money, especially for this season of Lent. The question is: how will you and I respond?…