Reading and Hearing the Gospel

Some of our Gospel readers

Some of our Gospel readers

Nearly two thousand years ago St Mark wrote his Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ. Mark’s is the shortest Gospel. This evening a group of us met at Church simply to read it out in turn from beginning to end.

It was lovely to see and hear how the reading united young, and not so young, people of at least six different nationalities, differing educational backgrounds… all joined by the words of the Gospel, all showing how the good news of Jesus breaks down human barriers, and brings people together.

Ann and Laura had prepared the evening well, and had included showing appropriate images as the reading proceeded. Their work was no small task with over twenty different people sharing in the reading.

Some comments from those who attended (and please see further down for more remarks)

“I heard the Gospel in a new way,”  

“I heard it as one Gospel, not just parts, the whole story,”

“A special event in my Lent this year,”

I love shared reading! It’s great hearing stories told through many different voices. My relationship with sacred texts is more complicated, but it felt simpler tonight, and less ‘loaded’ than it has done for a long time.”


About stchrysostoms

St Chrysostom’s is an Anglican (Church of England) parish church in Manchester. We’re an inclusive, diverse and welcoming faith community where people of differing backgrounds make friends. Find our Facebook group at
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4 Responses to Reading and Hearing the Gospel

  1. fliss Morgan says:

    A lovely evening indeed…so good to share the gospel with each other. I wasn’t sure I could focus without the whole text but in fact it came alive with different voices and images…it raised many questions for me…not necessarily to be answered. ..but lots to think about. Thank you 🙂

  2. Laura says:

    I was really encouraged by the number of people who came and were willing to read. So, Thank you to all those who read. For me the fact that we had so many different voices reading brought the Gospel to life. And the fact that those voices, came from people from many nationalities, reinforced the fact that the Gospels are for us all, no matter what our backgrounds are.

  3. What struck me is how we were, as no doubt Mark intended, participants – hearers of the Gospel. We are asked how we will respond. Then, with its abrupt ending Mark is saying start now being participants – you have the story. Now, like the women at the empty tomb, ‘Go tell’


  4. A few thoughts from Fiona:

    Such a dramatic gospel! Short punchy sentences. Narrative moves from one action scene to another. BAM! BAM! BAM!

    A lot of stuff about casting out demons and curing physical disabilities. Made me think about what it might have been like to live in culture where your mental health condition was regarded as a ‘demon’ and there was no support or recognition for it. Jesus freed those people by recognising and loving them as people and not as creatures possessed by unclean spirits. I thought about how much this kind of thing stills goes on in the world and how we need more Jesuses to love those people. It made me think of Carl Rogers and Person-Centred Psychotherapy, and how to ‘grow’ a ‘whole’ human you need to create the right soil for them to grow in. I think part of our Christian mission is to make more of that soil and tend to others so they feel nurtured and can grow. Then we get the parable of the seeds and the sower, which seems to further illustrate this.

    Throughout the gospel there are crowds. Crowds pressing in everywhere. It’s noticeable when there are moments of solitude sought, or quiet. The walking on the water scene is beautiful and profound. I thought about the press of people’s need. The hunger. In our society we are good at pretending we’re not spiritually hungry any more, or tricking ourselves into thinking this, or distracting ourselves from it. The naked need of the people following Jesus around is quite startling. What am I hungry for? What are others hungry for? How can that best be fed?

    The ending surprised me. Abrupt almost. None of the post resurrection stories. Instructions are pretty clear!

    I’ve never read a gospel all the way through. It felt good to do this, although an effort at times.

    I found it very moving to hear the story told in other people’s voices. I am so used to my voice, or a priest’s voice, the cadences of which become familiar very quickly. It felt very refreshing to hear different voices, and the regular change from voice to voice made me really pay attention.

    I liked sensing the atmosphere in the room as the narrative moved through its different stages.

    You get a real sense of urgency from Jesus. The passion and conflicts of his ministry.

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