Okay, take 2 – a bit more like on time.
The reading is Mark 1:14-20
Biblical commentaries on Mark’s gospel always note how it’s the shortest and the most dynamic. Jesus is always going somewhere or doing something and it happens at a rapid pace. Mark doesn’t waste words, which often leaves us filling in blanks, sometimes from other gospels, sometimes from archaeological insights and sometimes from our imaginations. There’s a lot of blanks in the call story of Simon, Andrew, James and John. We don’t know how long Jesus was in Galilee before he called these fishermen, we don’t know what they thought of him before he invited them to go people-fish with him; we don’t know what his family thought (poor Zebedee – he suffers the combined misfortune of losing his sons and having people like me think of the magic roundabout when we hear his name); and we don’t know if Jesus called others who said ‘no thanks’ and kept on mending their nets and not abandoning their families and living sensible lives as part of a close-knit community that didn’t just go off on adventures with strangers because it broke down the family. But Mark just ploughs on through – ‘immediately he called them and they left’ – talk about a sense of urgency. It’s tempting to fill in the blanks and give ourselves room to not respond, but in Lent we’re supposed to be simplifying, so maybe we leave the blanks blank and figure out what we have to leave behind to follow Jesus.