Not long ago I was talking with friend who has become the pastor of a church in his small home town. He’s been there for a few years, having been away for 20, and has found himself among people he has known all his life. The parish council president, for instance, is an old classmate from nursery school through high school. Some of his elderly parishioners are his old teachers. He knows almost everyone on Main Street, regardless of their denomination or lack thereof.
What’s got to him, he said, is the invisible wall that has been constructed between him and all these old friends.
My family did some major remodeling of our house over the last three or four years. I think we are finally done. A friend asked me if it was a wise investment: would we ever see the market value of the place exceed what we put into it?
No, it's unlikely that the market value of the house will ever surpass what we've spent on it, but, as I said to my friend, we don't really own it anyway, we're just stewards of it for a time.
Recently I helped inter the remains of almost 300 persons who had been lingering, unclaimed, on storage closet shelves in the county coroner’s office. Some of them had been there since the 1940s. Most are men; some are women. Maybe a third bear the name of “Baby Boy/Girl, Unknown.” Our city cemetery made space available for them all in a new public crypt.
Mark has been a constant puzzle to me. I didn’t much care for it for a long time. His sense of urgency and spareness of narrative left me feeling I was reading the Cliff Notes of scripture. That began to change a few years ago when I took a hard look at whether Mark was as immediately this and immediately that as I assumed.