Slowing the Pace...

A reading for Thursday, August 27, 2015: Mark 14:12-26.

The Book of Mark is fast paced and short on detail. The writer was clearly trying to get the story of Jesus out in writing with urgency. Over and over again throughout the book, we read the word "immediately" when it comes to the action of the characters in the stories and even of Jesus.

But then in chapter 14, things slow down just a bit. We are told the story of how the passover meal was planned and arranged. It seems out of context, and a waste of Mark's pen. Why does it matter how things were arranged? We have not been told other such details in other stories? It seems there is something Mark wants us to pay attention to. What is this about?

All the way back to the first chapter of Mark, the very first thing we read after the subtitle of the book is: "“See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’” Like book ends on the story, these verses from Isaiah and the lesson today demonstrate to all that are reading that Jesus is the one, the Lord. He is the predicted Messiah, the one all the world has been waiting for. The disciples make preparation for him out of this ancient prophecy, this is fulfillment of Mark's story and the whole story of salvation.

The next thing that happens in Mark is the last supper, the prediction of betrayal, and the disciples move back out into the world. The pace has resumed... it's "immediately" again.

What is clear from the story, however in these few moments of a slower pace, is that we are still those that prepare the way. We are the disciples who make Jesus paths straight. The job of those that follow Jesus is to fulfill the ancient story of salvation and to continue to prepare the way. To make his paths straight so that he might enter into our lives and the lives of others and transform us.


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