I was looking at images today of St. Mark, many of which include the winged lion which we have affectionately named Markus in our church. Many of you may be curious about the winged lion as a symbol of St. Mark. Perhaps you may have never noticed before. But in just about any St. Mark’s Church you will find a Lion in a stained glass or on a sign or in as is the case at our church, in a wall hanging. The webpage www.americancathlolic.org has this to say about the symbol;
“The lion derives from Mark’s description of John the Baptist as a "voice of one crying out in the desert" (Mark 1:3), which artists compared to a roaring lion. The wings come from the application of Ezekiel’s vision of four winged creatures (Ezekiel, chapter one) to the evangelists.”
I like that image of celebrating the writing of the evangelist who would be ‘roaring’ the good news to the people far and wide. I love the wings as well because the lion looks ready to take flight, to take off as it were to set out to find the people of God wherever they might be to do God’s bidding. This strong creature seems prepared to deliver, ready to move, to pounce on opportunity, to soar to new heights and to let the world know that God is good.
You are probably not surprised that I see these images in the Lion, especially this week. For me Markus is a creature who is not just loyal and strong, but he/she is a Lion that will be courageous and will step out no matter how risky or how dangerous. St. Mark himself took great risks in his life to proclaim to people the Good News of God’s love. Ultimately it cost him his life.
We are about to embark on a BIG project here at St. Mark’s by-the-Lake. We will set things into motion this Sunday July 20th with a Mass of Celebration at 10:30 AM and an official groundbreaking at 11:45 AM. Now it all gets a little exciting and scary all at the same time. But we have a great deal of hope. It is a hope rooted in the life and teaching of Jesus, much of which we have learned about in the writings of our patron saint Mark! We need to look to our patron and to the symbol of our patron for inspiration. Are we taking risk? Absolutely! Are there a host of church in growth mode? Certainly not! Couldn’t we just rest on our laurels and be happy with things the way they are? Yes we could! So why take on a project so large?
We are a people of the Gospel. In many depictions of the winged lion, the lion holds an open book representative of the scriptures. In almost all of the artistic representations of St. Mark’s he is hold a scroll or an open book, also representative of the scriptures. At St. Mark’s by-the-Lake we are a people of the Gospel. Over 55 years ago some fine folks in this area were moved by the gospel to seek to serve Jesus in a church community, a church that they would build and call St. Mark’s by-the-Lake. Today we feel that same desire to seek out Christ in all persons. So effective are we getting at that mission are we that our church is getting full. We have to be inspired by the words of the scripture that we are called to be a people who serve one another and we can more effectively do that by taking this bold step forward in faith.
We are a people of faith. We are NOT a people governed by fear. We look around us and understand that while we may from tome to time feel scared and frightened, that ultimately God is with us in all things. Mark too feared in his ministry, usually for his life. The lion gives us courage to put our fear aside and embrace our faith and our inner strength knowing that all things work together for those who love the Lord.
We are a people of Good News. We need to share that good news with the community around us and we will be better able to do that when we ample room for them to join us. Mark wrote of John the Baptist proclaiming the imminent arrival of light and love in Jesus. WE NEED TO PROCALIM THE IMMENENT ARRIVAL OF THE LIGHT AND LOVE IN JESUS. We need to invite our family and our friends out to this great place so that we might transform more lives, include more of God’s family in being church, and we might paint an even more beautiful mosaic of God’s family by seeking to be as inclusive as we possibly can. Please don’t keep this Sunday a secret tale a page from our Patron’s book and proclaim the love of God in Jesus as expressed at St. Mark’s by-the-Lake.
Need a personal invitation to give to a friend? Email me and I will gladly provide one.
We are going to have a BIG Sunday.