This workshop series — “Seeing is Not Believing” — was developed specifically for church year B, the year of the Gospel of Mark. Concordia Seminary, St. Louis faculty developed it in response to a request from pastors in the St. Louis region. A pre-Lenten workshop was held on the Concordia Seminary campus to present this material on Jan. 20, 2012.
Hence, the preparatory material here works best in conjunction with the videos provided with it. The workshop material includes a thorough introduction to Mark by Dr. James W. Voelz (which could be used throughout year B); sermon studies for Lent, Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter; and worship resources for the same period. We call the sermons “studies” because they take various forms with the various authors: in some cases, manuscripts, in others outlines, in others notes, in others a combination. Regardless, there is enough material each week to easily develop a full sermon.
Voelz describes the theme of Mark’s Gospel as “Seeing and believing, but not seeing in order to believe, but believing in order to see. The Jewish leaders at the cross express it well — though wrongly: ‘The Christ, the King of Israel, let him come down now from the cross, in order that we may see and believe.’ But that is not what Jesus — and this Gospel — will give to them or to anyone else. Mark gives us a picture of Jesus that is unsettling and uncomfortable: He is the Son of God (1:11) but does not know who touched Him (5:30); He engages in a ministry of healing (1:34) but He gets upset with those whom He heals (1:43). Yet this Gospel also tells and shows us that Jesus’ WORD is ever sure. As the young man says at the tomb on Easter morning (16:7), when there is no vision of the risen Christ: ‘He is going before you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you’ (cf. 14:28). We are invited to believe that word, and when we do, then we will truly see.”
This workshop uses Mark’s passion as the source and backdrop for a full Lenten midweek series, exploring the rich themes of Mark’s passion to discover anew the person of Jesus Christ and what it means to believe in Him.