The Season after the Epiphany
A quick church-related trivia question — who knows the liturgical season the church is in as this month’s issue of The Voice goes to print (end of January into early February)? If your answer was “Epiphany,” then you did well. If your answer was something along the lines of “the time or season after the Epiphany,” you did very well. If you answered “winter, stretchy-pants time, or I don’t care,” then I extend to you a special invitation to join us for worship each week!
Much like Christmas each year, where Christians have identified December 25 as a day suitable to celebrate the birth of Christ, Epiphany has its day (January 6), which occurs 12 days after Christmas Day and is also identified and placed on the Church calendar. The days and weeks that follow the Day of Epiphany, up until the Lenten Season begins, are a part of ordinary time, or in terms of the liturgical calendar “The Season after the Epiphany.”
Unlike the cycles or seasons of Advent-Christmas and Lent-Easter, the Season after the Epiphany, which stands between these two very important cycles, has no central theme. The Gospel readings in worship focus on Jesus early experiences in ministry. Nothing ordinary about that.
So why challenge you with this “trivia” question or share some of the insight behind these dates and seasons? Because it can be useful. Most of us do not live in a time or calendar void. Dates and times are important and much of what we do has a time or calendar basis. It is very natural. We have special days we celebrate such as birthdays and anniversaries. There are things we don’t to miss or cannot miss such as school or jobs. There are times and sometimes dates that correlate with health or healing like medications or doctor appointments. Life can really get crazy when we miss an appointed time or date that has importance for us.
Our spiritual well-being can be enhanced when we are mindful of and tend to our spiritual lives. Not just at Christmas or Easter, but in ordinary times like the Season after the Epiphany. Or like the Lord’s Day, which by the way is every Sunday. You may be challenged weekly to join with others to worship or maybe even feel like you can worship on your own, but Jesus assures us that when 2 or 3 gather in God’s name, God will be with them (Matthew 18:20).
So we have the opportunity each week, as people who gather and worship in God’s name, so we can experience the transforming power of God’s grace because Jesus said God will be there. This happens every week whether we as individuals see, hear, feel God or not. I wonder how sad God must be when we make other things more important than the time we can be assured God will be present with us in worship. Many of us have had the unfortunate experience of seeing the disappointment of missing an important date on the calendar or letting time slip by or get out of control.
Maybe this ordinary time is not so ordinary after all since God is a part of it. Maybe calendars and seasons have some new possibilities and value for us.
One more quick, church-related trivia question — who knows what time the Methodists in Decatur know God will be present with them each week?
See you in worship (8:30 a.m. and 10:50 a.m.),