People in England will never forget the Great Storm of 1987. Without any warning hurricane force winds blew in from the Atlantic with devastating effect – many lives were lost and 15 million trees were felled in the worst storm for 200 years. What made it all worse was the fact that no warning had been given – indeed the weather forecast that evening specifically denied that any such storm was going to blow in and that heavy rain would be the worst problem people would face that night.
If people had known the storm was coming they would have been able to prepare themselves and take the necessary precautions, and in all likelihood the loss of life would have been greatly reduced.
In Mark’s Gospel Jesus begins his public ministry with just such a warning – the Kingdom of God is coming, God is going to start to putting right all that has gone wrong with the world, and He starts with the problem of the human heart, because it is our selfish hearts that lie at the root of the world’s problems – repent, he says, turn back to God and believe the Good News that He loves and cares for you.