The Gospel of Mark changed the world. It was the first gospel written (there’s debate on this, but I’m convinced) and that means it blazed the trail for talking about Jesus. Gospels aren’t biographies and they aren’t the hero-worship of greek epics like the Odyssey. Mark isn’t as much a story of what Jesus did as it is an essay on why Jesus is important. Matthew, Luke and John offer us other levels and angles of importance, but they follow Mark’s plan: tell the world the Messiah has come SO THAT they can see everything has changed. A few generations later, the Bible as we know it was put together with the same goal.
I write a lot for my job – emails, sermons, facebook posts, blogs (every 17 months, like clockwork). And I don’t have any illusions that my writing is gospel truth, or that anyone will be reading it in two thousand years. But I know that writing changes things. I know that reading is different than listening – it gives space for thought and reflection. You can read, re-read, re-write and wrestle-with the words in front of you. You can decide if they matter or if they call for action. You can pass them on to friends or throw them in the trash, but writing gives you time to choose.
When I read the bible, I know these are words that have changed people. I know they’ve called people to action, changed their hearts, moved them to love and fight for justice. And I hope God will use them to change me just like that.