Scheming, intrigues, unscrupulous, maybe feisty characters: today’s gospel reading has it all. Mark presents us with the power games of first century Palestine; power games which are not unlike the kind we enjoy watching in TV dramas or plays. Shakespeare made a living of telling these stories. We enjoy watching these because they amplify what we see and hear in real life. Over the past weeks we have seen the power play between Europe and Greece as the latter’s debts unfold. We are not expecting any of the grisly consequences John or Amos faced for calling out the powerful for their sinfulness but experience time and again how power tries to silence truth.
We are faced with a choice. Mark presents us with two models of kingdom and power. Our own which sets out a dichotomy between winning and losing and God’s by which we win everything by losing everything to be free to love and serve unselfishly. It’s our choice which one we want to follow. Its effects are wholly of this world.
Only yesterday we celebrated St Benedict of Nursia who inadvertently set up the first monastic community: A community which still exists today and which has also shaped our own parish with its Benedictine community at Worth Abbey. Benedict fled the intrigues of his time to live a life that eschewed the power games of this world to fully submit to God’s kingdom. As it continues to shape our world we hopefully can follow as pioneers of God’s kingdom drawing others with us as we welcome all as beloved children of God.