Feast of Saint Mark, Evangelist

Lectionary: 555

Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved;
whoever does not believe will be condemned.

I may be a sweet guy but I’m not sweetened by the word coexist. I see it on bumper stickers; a clever graphic artist collected symbols from several world religions to form the word; the Muslim crescent for a c, the peace sign of the Vietnam War protest for an o, the Christian cross for a t, a six-pointed Jewish star for the x, and so forth. True to the principles of the alphabet the t is no bigger than the e is no bigger than the x; these symbols for which people have lived and died are just letters, (but the c of Islam is capitalized).

The first problem with coexist is it means we should live with and tolerate something we regard as fundamentally wrong. We’ll just look the other way. Since no one’s religion is the true religion, and no religion is better than any religion, we can exist with one another and ignore those unpleasant differences.

Secondly, it’s not true. We cannot ignore our differences and no one wants his or her own uniqueness to be ignored. If homosexuals didn’t insist they are different no one would notice them at all. The current epidemic of tattoos, piercings and earlobe gouging loudly, obnoxiously proclaims, “I am unique!” Granted, tats are more conformist than rebellious, the stigmatized still want to think their uniqueness is really unique.

Thirdly, coexist dismisses the opportunity to greet, welcome and embrace strangers and their strangeness. Rather than ignoring our differences, please tell me about yourself. Who are you? Where do you come from? What do you believe? Welcome to my world. May I enter your world?

Finally, coexist tells me to take my faith in Jesus back to that musty closet where some people used to hide. No thanks.

On this feast of Saint Mark the Evangelist we hear again the command of the Lord to announce the Good News to every creature. That the Lord has been raised up should be proclaimed far and wide. Never in the history of the world has any other human being been raised from the dead and recognized as the Son of God.

And I should keep this to myself?

Coexisting does no one any favors. It only cleans out the house to allow seven other demons entry. It’s a temporary ceasefire, at best; if not a surrender. It is certainly not a peace treaty.

That will come when Jesus, seated at God’s right hand, with arm outstretched and power in his hands, welcomes every gracious person into his kingdom of justice, mercy and eternal bliss.

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.