In the Gospels of John and Mark, Jesus is accused of taunting those who threaten him, “Tear down this temple, and in three days I will build it again.” Like most of what’s attributed to Jesus, it’s not clear that he actually said it. The Gospel of Mark tells us that “even their (the accusers’) testimony – did not agree.” Still, the saying is attention-getting, and interpreters love to play with it. They’ll say his initial hearers thought he was talking about the place of worship, that incredible physical structure – when in truth, he was talking about his body, and foreshadowing the resurrection….
This Lenten season, we’re going to ask: What if he wasn’t talking about the place of worship, or his own body, but about the community? What if what cannot be torn down forever, the entity strong enough to reconstitute itself after terrible tragedy, is the body of believers who had gathered together around Jesus and the new way he taught and lived? What if what Jesus was saying was something like, ‘You can kill my body. But my message, my hope, my love will live on in my community, and that can never be destroyed’?
To get to those questions by the end, we’re going to journey through the Gospel of Mark – the earliest, and sparsest of the Gospels – and look closely at the community that forms around Jesus. What do they experience? What do they care about? Which of their questions remain unanswered? How can their centuries-old discipleship inform ours today? Our community exists because theirs could not be destroyed. Let’s find communion with them this Lent.
ASH WEDNESDAY – Feb. 14 – We’ll share worship with the congregation of St. James, a tradition spanning more than 20 years. Location: St. James Catholic Church, 1145 NE 1st Street, McMinnville 5:30 pm – Clam/Corn Chowder Supper – $6/Adults – $4/age 6-12 & Free for ages 5 and under. Provided by the Knights of Columbus 6:30 pm – Ash Wednesday Service with musicians and readers from both congregations. FBC member & Linfield religious studies professor, Dr. Jennifer Williams, preaching.
1st Sunday of Lent – Sunday, Feb. 18 / 2nd Sunday of Lent – Sunday, Feb. 25