Saturday, April 25, 2009

Saint Mark

April 25 is the feast day of Saint Mark, who is believed to have written the earliest gospel account. He is frequently depicted in the act of writing, and his designated living creature is a lion (which sometimes has wings). Tradition claims that Mark also established the first significant Christian school.

We praise your grace, O Savior
Enduring with us long,
And ever out of weakness,
Your servants making strong.

The saint who led his comrades
And turned back from the fight,
Behold at last victorious
In your prevailing might!

From you, Lord, came the courage,
Once more to face the host;
Your strength, most mighty Savior,
In weakness shines the most.

Your love Saint Mark has numbered
Among the blessed Four,
And all the world rejoices
To learn his Gospel lore.

O Jesus, glorious Victor,
O'er all the hosts of sin,
In us your strength make perfect,
In us the victory win.

William Walsham How, 1871; alt.
Melchior Vulpius, 1609

As I wrote last year, Mark is believed to have been the man who ran away when Jesus was arrested (one reason he may be considered "weak"). He was then "made strong" by his later accomplishments: the gospel account, his evangelism, and his eventual martyrdom.

It's interesting that both this hymn and Adin Ballou's hymn from Thursday refer to the same night in Gethsemane. While Mark's running away is generally seen as "weak" (requiring later vindication), I wonder if Ballou would have considered it "non-resistant" (and therefore commendable).

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