Reflections on two conversations; one started at the beginning in Marks gospel(hat tip to Steve new principle of BBC) and one started at the end with the crucifixion (hat tip to Debbie a co worker at CYM).
Marks gospel starts in a different place to the other gospels, in the wilderness. Mark 1 4 And so John came, baptizing in the desert region . This wilderness is a spacious and wild place, that no-one owned, things didn’t grow, a place beyond and outside the city. It was this place that God came down. Mark 1 v10 As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” Then Jesus was then sent further out into the desert. Mark 1 v 12 At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert
With Debbie we were talking about change and mission, linking to questions about the nature church and what facilitates change; is it about understanding or practice. Do people change in response to seeing something different or through the understanding that can be gained from dialogue.? Obviously there is an element of both but in a church context I think we seek to get people to rethink church through engaging at an understanding level and because we have the sub cultural weakness of evolutionary approach to change (see series of posts starting here) any change will be limited. Debbie’s comment was “remember Jesus was crucified outside the city walls” and change came from; or was motivated from outside.
Now I may be putting two and two together and coming up with six but surely there is a link between the beginning of Mark and Jesus outside the city and the end and Jesus outside the city. What is the significance for ministry and change of Jesus’ approach to remaining outside the city? Maybe it relates to looking for the third way of doing things, maybe (excuse me whilst I go into metaphor mode) it it is about being outside the city with people to discover what God wants you to do (Mark 1) and then getting on with doing it regardless of who in city takes notice or gives permission, going into the city from time to time but knowing that the real action happens outside the city walls.