Even though the gospel was written over 2000 years ago it is still relevant for Christians today. It is the source of moral and spiritual guidance. It can help people through hard times and give them strength when they are feeling weak. It is a place to look when you are afraid, helpless, sinful, strong, tempted and when you are feeling you have nothing to give. ‘Jesus calms a storm’ is where you can look when you are scared. “Why are you frightened? Have you still no faith? ” (4:40). This makes us feel that as long as we have faith we do not need to be afraid which makes us a lot happier.
The Disciples were very committed and gave up all they had to follow Jesus. There are people today who leave everything they have to go where they are needed. Priests and Nuns take vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience and work in the service of others. Martin Luther King was an American Baptist who was a very dedicated man and who was determined to get equality between blacks and whites. Blacks earned half as much as white people, many were not allowed to vote and they were not allowed into certain public places that were reserved for whites only.
Although he got many death threats he continued to organise campaigns, boycotts, marches and other forms of peaceful protest. In 1965 equal voting rights were given to the black people. In 1968 Martin Luther King was assassinated. He was a great inspiration during and after his death. He sacrificed a lot to help the black people have a greater quality of life. In a speech he once said “I have a dream that one day all gods children, Blacks, Whites, Jews, Gentiles, Protestant and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing the words of the black people’s old song, free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, we are free at last”.
The first disciples were given a mission to ‘go into the world and preach the good news’. Christians can do this by being part of a justice and peace group. Corrymeela is an example. It’s on the Antrim coast of Northern Ireland on a hill above Ballycastle, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The community is made up of Protestants and Catholics. They live together, work together and worship together. “It is a place where people can meet to discuss their differences in an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust. ” (Gordon Geddes and Jane Griffiths).
Volunteers at Corrymeela offer help to individuals caught up in the troubles in Northern Ireland. The centre works with schools, youth groups and churches, bringing the young people of divided communities together. In Mark 12 the disciples are told the greatest commandment is to ‘love the lord your god with all your heart and love your neighbour as yourself’. Today Christians are given many opportunities to put this into practice and a lot do this through acts of kindness and forgiveness. Mother Teresa of Calcutta is an example of a modern day Christian who put this commandment into practice.
By becoming a nun, she had made the decision to give up all her possessions, her family and friends, and dedicate her life to the service of God. In 1929, she went to Calcutta in India to teach at a school for girls and was shocked by the poverty and disease which surrounded her school. “Mother Teresa went into the streets of Calcutta with a few of her friends. Her only possession was a white sari with blue stripes. In 1952 she and her fellow missionaries of Charity began the work for which they have been famous ever since. ” (Gordon Geddes and Jane Griffiths).
This was a great act of kindness and showed that Mother Teresa did exactly what she would of liked someone to do for her if she were in the shoes of those less fortunate than herself. We live in a very commercial and consumerist society. The story of ‘The Rich Man’ reminds us not to get too caught up with money and possessions. The example the widow gives is one which modern Christians must follow, it reminds us that we should put God at the centre of our lives. There are many challenges that Christians today are put against such as war, famine, pain, disease and death.
All of these challenges require faith in God. Jesus told his disciples that the cost of discipleship would be great, “if anyone wants to come with me, he told them, he must forget self, carry his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his own life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. ” (8:34). In light of September 11th we are reminded of the cost of being a disciple. Many Christians today suffer from bereavement, Cancer and loneliness. All of these things can be extremely difficult to get through. Father, he prayed, my father! All things are possible for you.
Take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet not what I want, but what you want. ” (14:36) This is a time when Jesus was scared and he wanted gods help. The teaching of marks gospel helps a lot of Christians through tough times in their lives. It teaches them to put God at the centre of their lives and to have faith. It teaches us to love God and to treat our neighbour as we would like to be treated ourselves. If we follow our lives according to Marks Gospel we shall receive the greatest gift of all, eternal life.