Rise Up! Series Overview
It’s the Season after Epiphany. Midway through, it’s also Black History Month. The historic and ecumenical purpose of the Season after Epiphany is to help your congregation “rise up” and get ready for its work of accompanying people on their journey to baptism or restoration in the life of the church during the Season of Lent.
There are two primary ways the readings for the Season after Epiphany seek to prepare congregations for this core task. One of them is by treating this as a season of evangelism, inviting newcomers to “come and see.” The gospel readings each year are the primary texts for that work. If you need a plan for this season that focuses on that, consider using our 2017 series, Come and See »
This year, we’re following the other major track, which focuses more on the kinds of internal work the church needs to do to get ready. We need to be reminded that it is God speaking to us and among us. We need to listen to God’s voice. We need to be ready to move when and where the Spirit says move. We need to answer God’s call in the varieties of contexts we and those we’ll prepare during Lent will experience it. We need to stay focused on our work and God’s call — the core work of discipling, not just fellowship or friendship. And we need to hear and help those we’ll accompany during Lent hear God’s call to go deeper, following Jesus where he leads.
Each week this year features preaching notes from Kevin B. Smalls and “spoken word” elements in addition to the reading of Scripture, some from Kevin, some from our staff. We also encourage you throughout this season, as an aid to hearing the word, to think carefully about casting the readers in the “readers’ theater” approach we’re taking counter to stereotype. Voice God as a child. Voice Samuel as an older-adult female. Voice familiar voices in tones and accents that may be less familiar for you. And see what you may learn about hearing God’s word by building this as a practice during the six weeks of this series.
And then, Rise up! The light is come. Let the light of God made known through this series prepare you to share that light with those preparing to know it for the first time during Lent, and be fully immersed into it at Easter.