The Background Story

This really is one of those items that won’t make the sermon on Sunday, but really got me thinking. It is from Fred Craddock (that says enough, doesn’t it?) from an article he wrote for Christian Century in 2003. Writing about this week’s lectionary passage from Mark he writes:

Now to Mark 1:9-15. The writer, with almost shocking brevity, relates three major events: Jesus’ baptism, temptation in the desert and first preaching in Galilee. The sequence of events is significant, not simply because it seems the natural order of things, but because in a new exodus Jesus recapitulates the journey of Israel: baptism (Red Sea), struggles in the desert (40 years) and good news (entry into the promised land). In a similar move, Paul drew a parallel between the Corinthian church’s experience of baptism, table fellowship and temptations, and Israels baptism in the sea, sharing of God-given food and drink, and temptations in the desert (1 Cor. 10:1-13). The texts and the experiences of God s people unfold, layer upon layer.

You don’t have to know all those stories to appreciate what Mark is saying, but it helps! That is why regular attendance in worship, in community, in study helps. There is a bigger story being played out, and if we know the little pieces…well then it means so much more!

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