To read the Gospel of Mark is to embark on a journey that begins in a desert and ends with a boulder rolled away from the tomb. In between, Jesus teaches his disciples, calls them to journey and learn what it means to follow him, and guides them to Jerusalem, the scene of the Passion. In The Spiritual Landscape of Mark, Bonnie Thurston has adapted a retreat that she gave to the Society of the Sacred Cross at Tymawr Convent in Wales, thereby inviting all of us to embark on this spiritual journey. Mark's gospel is full of places' desert, house, sea, valley, mountain, city, cross, garden and the winding roads between them. Thurston's prose invites us to go away to a quiet place and reflect awhile on what it means to be Jesus's disciple, to follow him across the hard landscape. Along the way there will be glimpses of his glory when he stills the storm and is transfigured on the mountain, when he heals the sick and feeds the hungry. Still, the primary lesson is the difficult way to which we are called, along with the great joy of knowing that Jesus has initiated the journey and leads us exactly where we need to go.
Thurston's work is unique and any study of the gospel of Mark would be enriched by her work.The Christian Librarian If you want to see something new in the work of the first evangelist, a couple of hours spent with this book might well be the prompting that you need.The Way Poetry (the author's own, and that of others, including R.S. Thomas), references to spiritual writers--including several to Thomas Merton--and to other parts of Scripture are scattered throughout each chapter such that the writing never becomes dull or predictable. . . . It would make an excellent gift for anyone at any stage of the journey of discipleship, including the bored, the busy, and the beginner.The Merton Journal This lovely book originated as a series of retreat conferences to the Society of the Sacred Cross Tymawr convent in Wales. . . . The term 'landscape' is significant because that is the approach Thurston, a biblical scholar who has given strong emphasis to the spirituality of the biblical text, takes in reflecting on the message of Mark. For each symbolic part of the landscape the author offers the reader probing reflections on the meaning of the gospel for Christian life.The Bible Today The book's testimony will be continued in the transformed lives of those who have allowed its narrative to change them. It would make an excellent gift for anyone at any stage of the journey of discipleship.The Merton Journal The importance of this book is . . . that Thurston is able to draw fresh insights from thinking spatially, propelling the reader into engagement with the Gospel text and with the compelling person of Jesus. . . . Thurston speaks from a place where scholarship and prayer intersect. Her prose reflects a deeply internalized reading of Mark's Gospel. This is not an erudite study, but rather an imaginative enlivening of the Gospel.National Catholic Reporter Bonnie Thurston has more than done her homework on the Gospel of St. Mark. In this book she narrates insight from her lectio. Christians are never done with the Gospels and it is imperative that we each have our own direct access to that precious text, but sometimes there's commentary from the person on the path ahead of you. With this book we are invited to that retreat once upon a time in Wales.Meg Funk, MegFunk.com, Our Lady of Grace Monastery, Beech Grove, Indiana This timely work (as we enter a new lectionary cycle) will bless my preaching without question. In this accessible piece Jesus comes close to us. Not only was my mind fed, but this book 'spoke to me' intimately. The painful places in my life became comforted. The uncertain became a welcomed friend, and a holy place. This will likely become required reading for those seeking standing in our tradition. . . . This book is simply a gift. I receive it as grace-Good News!The Reverend Thaddaeus Burwell Allen, Regional Minister, The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Parkersburg, West Virginia