This year the Time after Epiphany is a full eight Sundays.
The Sunday following January 6, The Epiphany, is the Baptism of Our Lord. Following Baptism of Our Lord, seven more Sundays, including the Transfiguration of Our Lord, provides ample time to explore themes of baptismal living and the many ways God becomes manifest in our daily lives.
What does this new reality of knowing that the living God is in our midst mean for our lives, the world, and those in need – al the things we pray for each Sunday? The stories we hear during this time are anything but normal. Jesus inaugurates his public ministry using the revolutionary language of Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has set me to proclaim release to the captive and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” St. Luke 4.18-19.
How do we unite our prayer with Jesus’ own stated mission? This would be a good time to lift up Town and Country ministries and organizations working for justice. Can we name specific Upper Bucks community partners, and bless God for their work? Our intercessory prayers are crafted around the counter-cultural Beatitudes, which are proclaimed during this Epiphany season. St. Luke 6.17-26
Sunday, 6 February St. Luke 5.1-11 Epiphany V
Jesus’ teaching of God’s word has begun to draw great crowds. For Simon, James, and John, his teaching inspires hospitality, then obedience, and then risk. After Jesus’ creative power is revealed, fear and amazement lead these three fishermen to leave everything behind to become apostles.
Sunday, 13 February St. Luke 6.17-26 Epiphany VI
After choosing his twelve apostles, Jesus teaches a crowd of followers about the nature and demands of discipleship. He begins his great “Weals and Woes” sermon with surprising statements about who is truly blessed in the eyes of God.
Sunday, 20 February St. Luke 6.27-38 Epiphany VII
Jesus continues to address a crowd of his disciples. He invites his followers to shower radical love, blessing,forgiveness, g enerosity, and trust – even on enemies and outsiders. Living in harmony with God’s intent brings the reward of overflowing blessing.
Sunday, 27 February St. Luke 9.28-36 [37-43] The Transfiguration of Our Lord
The conversation about Jesus’ suffering and death is enclosed in a dazzling foreshadowing of the resurrection. God affirms Jesus’ identity, the disciples are stunned speechless, and Jesus resumes his mission with a demonstration of his power over evil.
The Epiphany is now closed. Witnesses to the glory of God reflect that glory in the world. It was true of Moses. It was doubtless true for Peter, James, and John. We pray that it will be true of all of us who see God’s glory in the Word and in the Supper, and who are now being “transformed into the same image” by God’s Spirit.