Today was the feast day of John Mark. John is a Hebrew name. Mark is a Roman one. The first name points to the God of Israel and the second to Mars, the pagan god of war. John Mark wrote a gospel, abandoned Paul on a missionary journey, but later proved useful to Paul, and was an intimate of Peter. His gospel brings together the two sides of his heritage. It reads like a Biblical comic. . . all suddenlies and action. (I almost anticipate: “Jesus! Whap! Pow!”) This fast paced read has a deep and complex structure at the same time.John Mark is a man of tensions. Courage. Cowardice. Action. Subtle complexity. He is the perfect model for our divided age. Why? John Mark does not subordinate one part of his self to another nor does he try the hopeless task of “integration.” Instead, he follows Jesus, who completes both halves of self and thus creates something New: a whole soul. Jews looked forward to the completion of the promises of the Old Testament. Greeks looked for wisdom, but had not yet found it. Jesus came and brought completion to both. John Mark went beyond his self to become a new thing: a follower of Jesus Old things passed away and now all things became new in his life. John Mark became a new man.
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