An occasional series of those who are barely mentioned, but seem to have had a significant impact on the Early Church.
Today - John Mark's Mother
In Acts 12, verses 1 – 3, we read -
“It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also.”
This chapter gives an account of Peter, miraculously delivered from prison. In the middle of the night, an angel appeared to him, liberated him, and led him out into the city. Peter thought that he was dreaming, but when he found himself alone in the middle of a street, then he knew for sure that God had given him his freedom.
In chapter 12 verse 5 we hear that while Peter was kept in prison, prayer was made without ceasing by other Christian believers for him.
“Peter was kept in prison,
but the church was earnestly
praying to God for him”
One of the places where prayer was being made for him was at the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark.
“……..he went to the house of
Mary the mother of John,
also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying.
Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer the door.
When she recognized Peter’s voice,
she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!”
“You’re out of your mind,”
they told her.
When she kept insisting that it was so,
they said, “It must be his angel.”
But Peter kept on knocking,
and when they opened the door
and saw him,
they were astonished.”
Peter went into Mary's house,
and was able to show them in
person that their prayers had been
John Mark's mother's house was
truly a house of prayer. Mentioned
only a little, the impact of her ministry
in the early church was significant.
Was Mary, the mother of John Mark,
one of the myrrh-bearers on the morning of the Resurrection?
She is not mentioned by name,
but there were other women in attendance
apart from the “main” characters.
“On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb… When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles.
(Luke chapter 24 verses 1,9 and 10).
COLLECT: Almighty God, who inspired John Mark’s Mother, Mary,
to uphold and sustain your Church
by her loving and prayerful life:
Give us the will to love you,
open our hearts to receive you,
and strengthen our hands to serve you
for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Dear Jesus, help us to spread your fragrance everywhere we go.
Flood our souls with your spirit and life.
Penetrate and possess our whole being so utterly
that our lives may only be a radiance of yours.
Shine through us, that every soul whom we contact
may feel your presence.
Let them look up and see no longer us, but only Jesus!
Stay with us, and then we shall begin to shine as you shine; so to shine as to be a light to others;
it will be you, shining on others through us.
Let us preach you without preaching, not by words but by our example, by the catching force,
The sympathetic influence of what we do.
The evident fullness of the love our hearts bear to you.
Radiating Christ by Cardinal Newman:
a daily prayer used by Mother Teresa
and the Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity
John Mark himself gets only a minor mention in the account of the Early Church,
nevertheless he and his mother gave much to help spread the good news
BLESSING: Though you live in a difficult world,
may you remain true to the principles of Christ.
May you embrace the struggles of daily life,
choosing to enter into a place of tension,
instead of simply fleeing to a place of safety.
May you learn from the mistakes and faults of others,
thus honouring their successes as well as their failures.
And through it all, may you live a life so full of Christ’s spirit
that your very identity becomes intertwined
with the holy and perfect King of Heaven;
and may the blessing of Father, Son and Spirit
embrace you and direct you, today and always. Amen.