An Extended Invitation to Baptism
The time after Epiphany is relatively short this year and will soon give way to Lent. Historically Lent has been a time of formation and preparation for catechumens who have made the decision to be baptized, which means that the time after Epiphany is a season for making a clear call to baptism and teaching on its layers of meaning and significance. That task is assisted here by the bookend festivals of Baptism of Our Lord and Transfiguration of Our Lord, and by the Markan theme of spiritual conflict.
On Baptism of Our Lord, the assembly reads that in the waters of baptism the Spirit descends on Jesus, and as he emerges from the water he hears the voice of God saying, “you are my son, the Beloved, with you I am well pleased” (Mark 1:11). Those words are echoed on Transfiguation Sunday as Jesus appears with Elijah and Moses on the mountaintop and the select group of disciples who are also present hear a voice from the cloud saying, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” (9:7).
This pattern of divine identification and invitation to discipleship is continued throughout the time after Epiphany. The second and third Sundays after Epiphany are connected by Jesus’ words as he gathers the disciples. “Follow me.” Those who follow Jesus “will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man” (John 1:51) just as Jesus did at his own baptism.
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RESURRECTION LUTHERAN CHURCH
“SMALL PLACE WITH A BIG HEART!”