Moment for Ministry: Public Reading of the Gospel of Mark

This year I decided to do something different for our evening Ash Wednesday service: a public reading of the Gospel of Mark.

I commend to your attention this wonderful guide from the Presbyterian Church (USA). Aside from swapping out one of the hymns, I followed their liturgical suggestions to a "t". We opened the service with "O Young and Fearless Prophet", one of my favorite hymns from the Chalice Hymnal. I read the prologue, six lay people read the six parts (beautifully, I'll add; the hourlong rehearsal was helpful, I think), and I invited our senior pastor to read the resurrection narrative. I was utterly spellbound, and filled with awe and love for the young and fearless prophet who is, in the words of the centurion, truly God's Son.

Speaking of the words of the centurion... when I introduced this project at our church council meeting, I referred to it as a "spiritual marathon." One of my co-workers jokingly asked if that meant there would be t-shirts. Har, har. That started me thinking that we should have something to give away as a commemoration of the experience. Within the day I had my idea: we commissioned an original work of art by Suzanne Stovall Vinson of Silver Tree Art. Each worshipper received a gorgeous 4x6 print. (We paid for this out of our Arts and Ministry memorial fund.)

I nabbed this snapshot off of Suzanne's instagram feed - it's beautiful, but doesn't do justice to the brilliance and vibrancy of the painting. It is extraordinary, like everything else she creates.

I cannot recommend this whole "spiritual marathon" highly enough. And while it isn't crucial, having a great take-home only adds more meaning and dimension to the experience.

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