The Gospel of Mark
This year in the church’s Lectionary (the program of Bible readings for the year) the New Testament gospel readings come mainly from the gospel of Mark.
Mark’s gospel was the first of the gospels to be written down, probably just after 70CE. Jerusalem had been destroyed and both the Jewish people and the fledgling Christian church demoralised and dispersed. Mark wrote his gospel to give his struggling Christian community a vision of Jesus and of discipleship to help them through these difficult times.
Mark’s gospel is the shortest of the four gospels. You can read it in one sitting. As you read it you get the sense of being on a journey with Jesus – there is a lot of walking done by Jesus and his disciples! This is partly because that was the way ordinary folk had to get around – there being no cars, trains, buses or planes for public transport! But it also illustrates Mark’s definition of discipleship – for Mark, disciples were followers, not sitting at the feet of the guru but literally following Jesus as he led them into action, learning on the job, living the experience of being a disciple, so that their discipleship shapes who they are.
The journey takes Jesus ultimately to Jerusalem and a showdown with those in authority whom he challenged along the way. Jesus’ actions were radical and socially disruptive, continually challenging the divisions in society, between the rich and the poor, the powerful and the powerless, the ‘haves’ & ‘have-nots’, and the separation between the religious leaders and their pursuit of ‘holy cleanliness’ and those on the margins who were excluded by such practices – the sick, the sinners, women and gentiles (non-Jewish people).
Mark’s gospel asks us to consider: what divisions in our communities need to be challenged today? And how will you live the experience of being a follower of Jesus, how will the gospel shape who you are and how you behave? *
Click here to find activities related to stories from Mark’s gospel that we have used with the children in our worship services. Feel free to use them with your families at home to explore these stories and what they might mean for us today.
Click here for activities that explore what it was like for the early Christians as they take on the work that Jesus gave them to do.
Materials: We try to use simple, readily available and recycled materials. Here are some tips:
- Glue sticks work for sticking almost anything and are less messy than liquid glue.
If you need to use PVC glue, put a small amount in a recycled lid from a jar and apply it with cotton buds.
- If you don’t have cardboard, print onto paper and then glue onto recycled cardboard from a cereal or biscuit box.
- Coloured paper for cutting out can be anything from used wrapping paper to pages from magazines and catalogues.
- For printing on coloured paper you will need proper A4 paper – look for a multi-coloured pack.
- Visit cheap shops for things like chenille sticks, stickers and glittery bits. Craft shops have a great range but are more expensive, but it’s worth getting a pack of googly eyes from there.
- Your local newsagent will have coloured dot stickers, split pins, doilies, cellophane and more.
- Have a “useful box” and save any ribbon that comes on gifts, cardboard rolls from cling-wrap etc., foil chocolate wrappers, pictures from cards, icecream sticks, tissue paper, scraps of material and anything else that might remotely be used for making something.
- And your computer’s clip art and the internet are great for finding theme-related pictures.
Above all, have fun!
If you don’t have a Bible, you can click on the ‘Read the Bible online’ link in the footer below.
*Reference: Mark: The Start of the Good News, by Dr Peter Trudinger, published in KUCA News, Summer 2005/6 p11. Rev Dr Trudinger was then Lecturer in Biblical Studies (Lay Ministry Studies) at Parkin-Wesley College, Adelaide, and Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Theology at Flinders University, SA. He is now a Minister of the Word in the Uniting Church in Australia.