Lots to think about on this St. Mark’s Day (April 25): The last parish I loved and served before being elected Bishop of Iowa was St. Mark’s Church and School in Cocoa, Florida. Yesterday, I was honored to make an episcopal visitation to St. Mark’s Church in Glen Ellyn IL in the Diocese of Chicago where we had two baptisms, twenty-eight confirmations, and one reception. And, I am remembering writing my first book John Mark (still available on Amazon!).
The liner notes for what my publisher described as a “gospel novel,” read this way: “What would it be like if you could meet one of the authors of the New Testament? In his novel…Christopher Epting gives us that chance. His story is the first gospel ever written, the Gospel of Mark, but told through the eyes, the experiences, the vision of the person who wrote it.”
“In this beautifully narrated version of the life and ministry of Jesus we are invited into the story in an intimate and immediate way. We are given the rare opportunity to walk beside the figures of the Bible, not as icons from the distant past, but as real people, as people we have known and loved, as friends. John Mark is an extraordinary journey, shared by an extraordinary person, the first person ever to write the life of Jesus.”
This little book came to life as a kind of extended “Ignatian meditation” on the first gospel after my first trip to the Holy Land. It marinated in my mind and heart for years, was written over time, and put in final form only after my “first retirement” in 2010. I have always loved the fast-paced, urgent, almost outline account of Jesus’ life and tried to re-capture that by imagining myself as the supposed-author, John Mark. It was fun to write and, some say, fun to read.
Give it a try!