December 24, 2007

The Southern Gospel

Yesterday in Sunday School, we read all the Gospel accounts of the coming of Jesus. Matthew and Luke, of course, tell about the birth, and John writes a long and lovely prose poem about the incarnation. And then there is Mark, who mentions nothing about a baby, and instead just jumps right in to the story of the ministry after the barest of introductions: “The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ.”
After the lesson, one of the women leaned over to me and said that she thought Mark was a northerner and Luke was a southerner, because Mark was in a hurry to get to the story, but Luke added in all the details: what the baby was wearing, where the whole thing happened, how Mary knew she was pregnant, who came to visit. My friend was right – the southern way is to tell the story in all its specificity, and when we hear Luke 2 in church tonight, I will be thinking about the evangelist as one of our neighbors – interested in having us know exactly how it happened, in all the detail, so we can picture ourselves in the story. Which, of course, we are.

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