We are coming up on a part of the Christian year that I like very much. We will be reminded that Jesus gave his followers a new commandment, to love one another as he loved us. Soon after will come his post resurrection departure and the outflowing/inflowing of the Holy Spirit. The church will then enter into a long season of immersing itself in the gospel stories for the primary purpose of learning more deeply how it was that Jesus loved us and how we might apply those lessons to our own lives.
As late spring rolls into summer and then autumn, the question will remain the same. If we are to love one another as he loved us, how exactly did he do that? What is it about what he did, how he lived, who he met, what he taught, and how he engaged others that is to become the way for our lives in the times and places where we live? It is discipleship formation time. For many of us, Mark will be our guide. I think of Mark as a rough, no-nonsense sort who may not exhibit a lot of patience with us “greenhorns” but will never let us down, will make sure that we get that which is most important, and will deliver us safely to our destination. It is the time for laying the foundation on which the next generation of believers will build. It’s a good time. It is a time to grow.