Thursday, 23 February 2012

Up and away with #BigRead12

A couple of days into Lent, and our family is already getting its teeth into Mark's gospel courtesy of Tom Wright's 'Lent for Everyone - Mark' and the Big Bible Project's #BigRead12 initiative.

It's a great feeling to be part of a loosely-connected group of people studying the same text at the same time. Fantastic to do a Google search for #bigread12 and read what others are writing. But most of all, it's marvellous to have a ready-made opportunity to study and reflect on a text which we've all read before in short passages hundreds of times, but in our case, certainly, never approached as a whole.

I've had a copy of Tom Wright's 'New Testament for Everyone' since it was published last year, and although I've referred to it a few times to get Tom's take on the occasional passage, I haven't embarked on a proper read of it. I'm delighted to have the chance to do that now. His translation is fascinating - it really pulls the reader into the text, using modern English phraseology but staying very close to a literal translation. It's a very easy read which the whole family can understand without being dumbed-down or straying way off-piste.

Tom's introductory video to this week's passages described Mark's account as 'breathless' - I can see what he means by that. So much happens in Mark 1 - we get all the way from John the Baptist through Christ's baptism; His exile in the wilderness; the choosing of the first disciples; preaching in Capernaum; healing and casting out of demons.

We discussed what public reaction must have been like to Christ's arrival in Galilee - someone who dares to preach with his own authority, who heals and exorcises without a second thought, putting aside the 'legalistic' teachings of the elders. Here was someone new, radical, avant-garde, charismatic (in all meanings). No wonder he attracted such attention, not all of it good.

We're on to Mark 2 tomorrow.

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