Beloved of the Lord:
Today is Tuesday, the Sixteenth of January, in the year of our Lord 2018. This-week’s schedule of Services is as-follows:
- Monday: 10:00 Am, Mass, S. Paul, the First Hermit.
- Tuesday: 5:30 PM, Mass, Blessed William Laud, Bishop and Martyr.
6:30 PM, Sung Evensong.
- Wednesday: 12:10 PM, Mass, S. Anthony, Abbot.
- Thursday: 6:30 PM, Mass, S. Prisca, Virgin and Martyr, Soup and Study to follow.
- Friday: 9:00 AM, Mass, Feria (Mass of the preceding Sunday repeated,
in this case Epiphany II).
- Saturday: 5:00 PM, Mass, SS. Fabian & Sebastian, Martyrs.
- Sunday: 9:00 & 11:00 AM, Epiphany III
This Sunday-past, we held the Annual Parish Meeting. Good food, good humour, and good fellowship were shared by all who attended. It was reported that this-past year we had solid finances, enabling a raise to be given to the resident Clergy. Michael Merz and Joan Griffin were elected to two-year terms on the vestry. Other details will be published in the form of the minutes taken at the meeting by the Parish Clerk, Col. Richard Payne, USA Ret.
We are now well-into Epiphanytide. At the most pragmatic level, Epiphanytide is the liturgical shock-absorber for the Church year. The date of Easter is the lynch-pin for the entire Kalendar of the Church; the dates each year for the ancient, great Feasts of Holy Mother, the Church, are determined by that of Easter ~ so-many days after Easter, etc. There are six Sundays appointed for the Season of Epiphany in the Prayer Book. Where Easter falls on the calendar determines how many of them will be used. Thus, it is a Season of adjustable length, to make the Kalendar of the Church function seamlessly, year-after-year.
The Feast originated in the East, where from earliest times it was associated with the Baptism of our Lord, and it remains so to this day, in those Churches. Introduced into the West in the Fourth century, it quickly lost most of its baptismal character. In the East, the waters of the baptismal font are blessed on this Feast ~ in the West, that blessing takes-place during Holy Week.
Thus, in the West the Feast focusses instead upon the recognition by the Magi of the Christ, they being a type for all gentiles. It should be noted that while Romans and ourselves celebrate the Epiphany, the Season of Epiphanytide is particularly Anglican, Rome referring to these weeks as Ordinary Time. Trintytide is another Anglican feature, for the Church of Rome also styles that period as Ordinary time, using the same liturgical colour ~ green ~ as do we.
Spritually, then, we use this time to acknowledge, and focus-upon, Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah, Saviour of the World. On a perhaps more personal, if not deeper level, we should also recognise that to know the Christ, as He is, we must also know ourselves, as we are … truly know, without varnish, without dissimulation. This is, of-course, by design on the part of Holy Church, that we should begin to think-upon these things now, for pre-Lent begins in less than two weeks, with Great Lent soon to follow. These are the true dark nights of the soul, when upon rounding each corner, we meet only ourselves, ’til the great light of the Christ shines-forth, to save us, from sin, Satan and Death … and yes, from ourselves. I remain
in His peace,
The Rev’d Fr. T. L. Crowder
Rector, S. Matthew’s Parish