Focus on Discipleship
With Ash Wednesday not until March 5, the season of Epiphany is 8 weeks long this year. What will you do with all that time? I suggest something very simple – focus on discipleship!
For those who plan and lead worship, the lectionary provides a wonderful journey through the beginning of Luke’s gospel following a brief sojourn over to John on Human Relations Day where we will remember Jesus turning water into wine. Talk about making yourself known in a big way!
Outside of that, starting with the Baptism of the Lord (Luke 3:15-17, 21-22), you move to Jesus in his hometown stirring up his friends (Luke 4), the calling of the first disciples (Luke 5) and Jesus preaching a message which would have been received in a very mixed way (Luke 6).
The Special Called General Conference will take place at the very end of this season. In fact, the Gospel reading for that Sunday comes from Luke 6:27-38—
“But I say to you that listen, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.
But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”
If you do not plan or lead worship, find time during this season to attend worship. Epiphany is about the arrival of the Wise Men to pay homage to the Christ child after following the star which appeared at his birth. What better way to deepen your discipleship than to find time to worship as those Wise Men did so long ago. A new year is a great time to focus on renewing a weekly pattern of worship.
Another way to deepen your discipleship is to focus more intently on things happening around you. Find time to focus on where you observe light in the world. As the days begin to lengthen and night comes later and later, another beautiful aspect of Epiphany, become more aware of how the light shines through people, situations and other mundane aspects of life. Take time each day to share your reflections with another person or in writing.
The prophet Isaiah reminds us that in this season, the light is shining upon us and we are to live differently. Look at all the verbs in his 60th chapter:
“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.”
“Lift up your eyes and look about you:
All assemble and come to you;
your sons come from afar,
and your daughters are carried on the hip.
Then you will look and be radiant,
your heart will throb and swell with joy…”
Happy Epiphany. Enjoy this long season and make it count.
by: Derrek Belase
Director of Discipleship