The purpose of the Season after Epiphany is to help the whole congregation get ready to accompany candidates preparing for baptism.
The first Sunday focuses on the Baptism of Christ and the last Sunday on the Transfiguration. These “bookend Sundays” frame the whole of Jesus’ journey in ministry, taking us from the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry at his baptism to a glimpse of its fulfillment in the age to come in his Transfiguration. As it frames Jesus’ journey in ministry, so it also frames the journey of his disciples, then and now.
The scripture readings in the lectionary provide two distinct pathways of focus for this season.
One, marked by the Old Testament and Gospel readings, follows Jesus in his earliest days with his disciples, from their calling to beginning to learn what it means live in his way. These scriptures help the local church to focus outward on inviting others to join them, or “Come and see.” The hope is that some who respond to your congregation’s invitation may choose to “Come and stay” to prepare for baptism.
The other pathway, through Paul’s letters to the church in Corinth, helps focus the church inward. These readings help congregations work on internal issues in their church life so they can walk more effectively with those preparing for baptism.
By either path, the church is supported by the scriptures of this season for its mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
This content was produced by Ask The UMC, a ministry of United Methodist Communications.