Faith Comes By Hearing

Have you ever considered memorising an entire book? The thought had never crossed my mind so it was with great intrigue that I attended a dramatized recital of St Mark’s Gospel at St Stephen’s Twickenham last Wednesday evening.

Rev Gerald Osborne, preacher and farmer, memorised all 16 chapters on long walks with his wife after being challenged to do so in a sermon. He delivered it with great passion as if he was Mark himself dictating the words to a scribe.

I’ve found the impact of the evening on myself rather surprising: the next morning I woke up with an urge to revisit some of the words I had listened to the night before. And I’ve continued to contemplate on the utter surprise of the crucifixion – and the astonishment of the resurrection.

How could people plot to kill a man who did so much good and whose words brought life? And then to imagine that he’d return to life? Even the best dystopian novels haven’t come up with such an inexplicable twist.

I am grateful that I get the opportunity to discuss these and other puzzling matters with a group of ladies from our church on Thursday mornings. We are looking at small chunks of the book of Mark each week and it has been so valuable to explore together this book, which, at least in the opinion of Rev Gerald, is worthy of memorising!

The evening was a fundraiser for Crossway Pregnancy Centre. This is a charity based in Twickenham offering free and confidential advice for people facing unplanned pregnancies.

RACHEL MACLURE