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In early October 2014, Wollaston Theological College and the Diocese of Perth released its second Advent bible study resource,Proclaiming Mark. The booklet consists of ten bible studies: four for use on the Sundays of Advent, four for midweek bible studies, and two extras. The booklet will also function as a taster to the reading of Mark’s Gospel throughout all of Year B, or anytime really, and as a guide to the Revised Common Lectionary’s path through the Gospel in terms of the prescribed Sunday Eucharist readings.
Like Reimagining Matthew, Proclaiming Mark provides an accessible and fresh look at the distinctive voice of a particular gospel writer: this time around, Mark. Mark writes in an unrestrained and immediate style, and his icon is traditionally a winged lion, hence the subtitle, The Untamed Gospel.
You can download the booklet at this linkProclaiming Mark - Advent Year B
Despite being the first gospel to be written, Mark’s Gospel has for a long time been neglected. The Church is far more familiar with Matthew (the ‘Church’s gospel’); Luke is a narrative delight from an accomplished story-teller; John has its inspiring poetic prologue and well-developed and memorable characters. By comparison, Mark is often in the shadows. Proclaiming Mark aims to bring Mark out of the shadows.
The portrayal of Christ in Mark is intriguing, mysterious and enigmatic. Mark takes his radical belief in Jesus as the Messiah right to the front door of the Roman Empire in daring ways. From his very first words, Mark asserts the bold and dangerous claim that Jesus of Nazareth is more worthy of imperial accolades than the emperor himself. The haste and breathless movement of Jesus from one encounter to the next makes for an exhilarating read.
Mark’s seemingly rough and chaotic nature allows this Gospel to speak hope into situations of uncertainty. Mark’s worldview is of a cosmic order that is in need of being restored to the rule of God. The present reality, however, is that the world is captive to forces that are dehumanising. Mark envisions Jesus Christ as the key agent in the breaking-in of the rule of God and the defeat of those forces which dehumanise.