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Opening Prayer

Loving heavenly Father we come to you this hour asking for your blessing and help
as we are gathered together. We pray for guidance in the matters at hand and ask
that you would clearly show us how to conduct our work with a spirit of joy and
enthusiasm. Give us the desire to find ways to excel in our work. Help us to work
together and encourage each other to excellence. We ask that we would challenge
each other to reach higher and farther to be the best we can be. We ask this in the
name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen
Closing Prayer
Heavenly Father as we come to the end of our time together we thank you for what
has been accomplished here today. May the matters discussed serve as a catalyst
to move us forward and cause us to advance and see growth in all areas of our
lives. May we leave here recognizing You are the God of all wisdom and You are
willing to lead us forward. This we pray in the name of the Lord Jesus. Amen
Reflection About the gospel
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in
the good news.”
In the beginning of the Gospel of Mark, Jesus immediately (ahem…) says four quite
amazing things. The first two are statements—about how things are going to be as
Jesus begins his ministry.
Time (kairos) is fulfilled. God’s Kingdom has come, and it is near.
Imagine living in Jesus’ day. The Roman Empire has taken over everything. The
emperor’s hands are into every aspect of society. Herod, the “King of the Jews,” is a
hateful man who might kill anyone at anytime. The Temple authorities are in
cahoots with the Empire.
And along comes a rabbi who proclaims that the time (kairos) is fulfilled. And, in
God’s good time, God’s Kingdom—NOT Rome’s Kingdom—has come near.
Eggizo, to come near, can also mean to join one thing to another. Heaven and Earth are
about to be joined together. Everything is about to change. And, the change won’t
be a a rearranging. It’s soup-to-nuts.
Change for a people hungry for it. Desperate for it.
And then, Jesus has two directions as this new kairos is being ushered in: repent, and
believe in the good news.
Readers of this blog will be familiar with my opinion that the word “repent” needs
some convalescence. We’ve made it be a scary word. Something that resembles
“feeling bad.” And, probably, the worse you feel, the better.
But, that is not what “repent” means. It means, quite literally to turn around.
When you’re alone and walking down a dark and scary road, turning around is not a
bad thing. You turn and run as quick as you can in the opposite direction.
It’s a welcome thing.
“Repent” is part of the poetry of exile, something that the Israelites knew a lot
about. Repenting, when in exile, meant going home.
I think if we in the church talked more about “going home” than “feeling bad,” the
church would be a healthier and holier place.
And, Jesus telling us that we can go home, and that God will welcome us back, and
throw His arms around us is suchgood news.

And. 142) was the Bishop of Rome from c. that’s what Jesus tells us to believe in. When we’re able to take-in the fact that Mark is a wartime Gospel—written either in the lead-up-to or in-the-wake-of the destruction of the Jerusalem and the Temple… Jesus’ words are also balm to souls who were frightened for their lives decades after his death and resurrection. though no records verify this.[2] . 142. Pope Hyginus (died c.[1] Tradition holds that during his papacy he determined the various prerogatives of the clergy and defined the grades of the ecclesiastical hierarchy. At the beginning of the Gospel of Mark Jesus tells his listeners something wonderful. The chronology of these bishops of Rome cannot be determined with any degree of exactitude by the help of the authorities at our disposal today. and Mark’s audience…can’t they be good news for us to? It IS time…and it’s time to go Home. He also decreed that all churches be consecrated. And if those words could speak to Jesus’ audience. 138 to c. He is said to have died a martyr under the persecution of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius.