Easter is more than just a day. It is a 50-day season that marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the ways we live into that reality, just as Jesus’ disciples did. The season of Easter has long been a time when newcomers to Christianity and those already on the Christian journey revisit the foundations of the faith. In other words, this is a time when people examine basic doctrines, providing, as Laurence Hull Stookey writes, “a time for both discovery and reconsideration.”  As a result, our resources will culminate in two four-week series–“Living” and “Loving”–that will focus upon the gospel narratives and ways to integrate these doctrinal pieces into daily Christian living.
This second series focuses upon the action of God upon those who believe in and into Jesus and the action stirred among those who believe, thus creating a flow of divine energy from God to the church to the world. All the themes for this series could be subtitled, “by a Loving God”—marked by a loving God, sent by a loving God, and so on. In the first week, Jesus offers a new commandment to love one another and be known as Jesus’ disciples. This “marking” is the way we are known and has direct connections with our baptism into Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. The second week presents a Trinitarian model in which Jesus and the Spirit are sent by God the Father in a self-giving action. The love that comes from God extends from God to the world. Notice in the Scripture for week three that Jesus says, “I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:26). This is Jesus’ indication that his presence will continue as the body of Christ in the world, and those who join in the body of Christ will know the love given from God. On the Day of Pentecost, the church is born to empower people to go forth and proclaim the love of God throughout the world, in languages far and wide.
Loving, then, becomes the natural response and embodiment of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. We live into the reality that Jesus is alive, and we love as a result of it.
Week 1: Fifth Sunday of Easter May 19 Marked
Week 2: Sixth Sunday of Easter May 26 Sent
Week 3: Seventh Sunday of Easter June 2 Embodied
Week 4: Day of Pentecost June 9 Empowered
*All scripture quotations are NRSV.