On Sunday I will conclude a short series of 'overview' sermons on each of the four Gospels.
It's been a lot of work - typically having to skim read at least four commentaries a week - and it's been fun.
It would have been easy to go for a 'four protraits of Jesus' approach - and there are even ready made guides/books - so my choice of 'what is one thing that's unique or interesting about this gospel, and how might that affect our disicpleship' has been interesting and also restricting: how do I pick one theme/idea from many, and how do I do justice to any of it?
Maybe at some point I can revisit some of it, but for now a few thoughts to ponder, not from any one gospel per se, but from the differences between them...
Only half of the gospels have a birth story for Jesus, and the two we do have are very different. If we only had Mark and/or John we would never have invented Christmas! So, how important are these stories to us, and why? How does this affect our views on historicity (did it happen like this) and truth?
Mark has no post resurrection appearances, John had no ascension. So what do we make of that? And does it matter?
John has no description of the Last Supper to support the practice of Communion, instead he has a very clear mandate for foot-washing! So what does that say about Communion? And what does it say about the rituals/rites we do include and they we quietly ignore? How would you feel if one Sunday instead of bread and wine, there was a bowl of warm soapy water and a towel?!
Matthew ends with a clear 'Great Commission' which finds echoes in the beginning of the second volume of Luke-Acts; neither Mark or John has anything quite so explicit. So, how does each gospel speak to us about the place and work of mission?
I wonder if you have a 'favourite' gospel, and if so, which one and why? What unique insights does it give you? What would you lose if that was the only gospel you had?
February is going to be very different, not least as I am not preaching at all! I am excited to see what God might say/show to us as we worship in ways familiar and less familiar. Oh, and the small matter of walking to Whithorn from Glasgow!