This is a short time, but there remains an inner logic to this season, found in the texts themselves, especially the gospel readings, starting with Baptism of the Lord and continuing through Transfiguration.
That inner logic is a focus on the beginnings of the ministry of Jesus, you might even call them “firsts” in Jesus’ life. The purpose of that focus is to help the church get ready for the more intensive work of “spiritual midwifery” with candidates for baptism, confirmation, reaffirmation, or reconciliation during the 40 days of Lent.
So we might say the point of these five weeks (counting the “bookends” of Baptism of the Lord and Transfiguration) is to help the church “get ready to get ready.”
The gospel readings during these weeks give us a foretaste of the life of disciples of Jesus and an overview of the sweep of Christian life from baptism to entire sanctification. In attending to the sweep of this life in these weeks, the church is reminded of the kinds of things it needs to prepare to do and be so it can best walk the Lenten journey with those seeking discipleship to Jesus for the first time, those seeking a deeper faithfulness to Christ, or those returning to the Way after a breach or long absence.
The sermon series is as follows:
January 10, “First Step: Baptized with Holy Spirit and Fire”
January 17, “First Sign: Water to Wine”
January 24, “First Words at Home, Part I: Great News!”
January 31, “First Words at Home, Part II: Great News… For THEM?”
March 7, “First Glance of Final Glory: Transfiguration”
I am looking forward to the short time we have to “Get Ready to Get Ready” as we prepare for an early Lent and Easter. Hope you can make it every Sunday as we explore these “Firsts” in the life of Jesus.