Dear Colleagues and Friends,
Here is a summary of the significance of the Epiphany season which I have seen recently and think to be worth sharing.
Epiphanytide is about the manifestation of the glory of Christ: the glory of Christ, the Light of the world, and the glory of Christ in the Church. His glory is manifest:
(i) as a baby, to the Gentiles,
(ii) as a boy, in His wisdom in the Temple,
(iii) at the beginning of His ministry, at His baptism,
(iv) at His first miracle in Cana, the changing of water into wine,
(v) in miracles of healing, the leper, and the centurion’s servant,
(vi) in His teaching, the parable of the wheat and the tares. “Never man spake like this man.” (John 7:46),
(vii) and in His second coming in glory at the end of time.
I am grateful for this summary. Of course it can be expanded in many directions. For instance, "the glory of Christ in the Church” will also be manifest in the development of the “mind of Christ” in Christians as well as in the faithfulness of the Church’s spokespersons in the public square. When we find ourselves to be “sold out” to Jesus the Messiah, that is not the end of our story as individuals. It’s the beginning: the beginning of a deepening commitment of every part of our complex souls to Him and His way, His truth and His life. This is reflected strongly in the counsels of the apostles Paul, John and Peter to the Church, as recorded in Scripture. In this deepening commitment of souls “the glory of Christ in the Church” will continue until the end of time.
Appropriately, the Presentation of Christ in the Temple (commonly called The Purification of Saint Mary the Virgin) is recognised in the Kalendar on the 2nd day of February every year, which is the last day of the Great Forty Days of Christmas. This often falls in the Epiphany season, as it does this year (next Wednesday), but not always so if Lent begins early. Indeed, the recognition of the Baby by Simeon and Anna in the Temple on this occasion recorded in S. Luke 2 verses 22ff was a remarkable epiphany - a manifestation of God’s glory - to Jewish people, as also were His boyhood understanding and answers manifested to the Jewish teachers twelve years later in the same Temple.
The Collect for the Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany is
O God, who knowest us to be set in the midst of so many and great dangers, that by reason of the frailty of our nature we cannot always stand upright: Grant to us such strength and protection, as may support us in all dangers, and carry us through all temptations; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
In its reference to our being “set in the midst of so many and great dangers” the ancient prayer in our current times of uncertainty (including what seems manifestly to be building between Russia and NATO over Ukraine) can hardly be said to lack relevance! The “frailty of our nature” merits deep contemplation in the face of resolute evils that may appear to have the upper hand. But in our frailty we are offered a truly com-forting (strengthening) prayer: “Grant to us such strength and protection, as may support us in all dangers, and carry us through all temptations.” Such dangers may be personal to individuals or those of a time dangerous to all. But in any case God has promised to respond to sincere and fervent prayers when we truly depend “through Jesus Christ our Lord” upon Him as our Rock in swirling waters.
For directions about the services this Sunday the 30th January 2022, the 4th Sunday after the Epiphany, please see the website www.TruthWithLanguage.com .
In faith in the holy Name of our Lord Jesus, who will continue to provide guidance by the Holy Spirit to all His people.