Do you remember what it feels like to be at the threshold of something new in your life?
Imagine you are a student preparing to go off to college. It’s new and exciting and full of possibilities – (what courses shall I take? will I meet someone and fall in love? will I make lifelong friends? how will these years shape my future?) You’re excited, but it’s also a bit daunting because you can’t fully imagine the challenges ahead (will I get along with my roommate? will I experience heartbreak or disappointments? will I fail?)
Or imagine a young couple awaiting the birth of their first child. They’re thrilled, of course, but they’re also wondering, “What will it be like to be responsible for this tiny human being? Will we be good parents?” They anticipate the joys and possibilities of parenthood, but they also know it won’t be easy, and there is at least a possibility that it won’t as go well as they hope it will.
One of the advantages of the lectionary is that each year, over a three year period, we have the opportunity to really sink our teeth into one of the gospels. This year, is the year of Mark, and Sunday by Sunday for most of the year we will hear Mark’s gospel proclaimed. Now as you know, each of the gospels has certain peculiarities and idiosyncrasies. They are not carbon copies of one another, even though many things are the same they sometimes appear in a different order or with a different emphasis. Each of the gospel writers is writing for a specific audience to make a specific point. One of the characteristics of Mark’s gospel is that it the shortest of the four gospels and scholars believe it is the oldest gospel, written down first sometime between AD 64 and AD 72, in other words just 30 or 40 odd years after the events the gospel depicts.