Due to the wide-spread community transmission of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, our worship services are currently only online. We encourage you to limit the number of people you encounter, and to get the vaccinations and boosters that are available to you: keep yourself as safe as possible, and strive to protect others! Ethiopian Icon of the Baptism of Jesus
Last week we invited you to have some water handy as we renewed our baptismal covenant; we’ll leave it up to you to be inspired by today’s readings. On this second Sunday after the Epiphany, we’ll hear Paul teaching the followers of Jesus in Corinth about spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12.1-11) and we’ll hear about the first sign Jesus performs, at a wedding in Cana (John 2.1-11).
Here’s Sundays and Seasons‘ introduction to this week’s readings:
The Sundays after Epiphany continue to celebrate the revelation of God’s glory to us as it was made known to the magi and to those on Jordan’s banks at Jesus’ baptism—today using wedding imagery. Our God rejoices over God’s people as those being married rejoice over one another. By the power of the Spirit there are gifts galore for everyone. In Christ Jesus the best wine is saved for last. Taste and see.
We are four days early–the feast itself is January 6th–but the church calendar has us anticipate it on the Sunday beforehand, so that churches around the world can join in recalling the Baptism of Jesus together on the first Sunday after the Epiphany next week.
At the feast of the Epiphany, we celebrate that God’s glory is revealed to all the world and all its peoples. Sundays and Seasons movingly observes:
In Isaiah and Ephesians, that glory is proclaimed for all nations and people. Like the light of the star that guided the magi to Jesus, the light of Christ reveals who we are: children of God who are claimed and washed in the waters of baptism. We are sent out to be beacons of the light of Christ, sharing the good news of God’s love to all people.
Although we cannot gather for in-person worship as we had hoped, nevertheless we can come together from our various homes to join in singing carols, praying, and proclaiming the birth of Jesus!
You can join the Christmas Eve live-stream at any time from 3:45 on Christmas Eve onwards! Peter will offer prelude music, and the service will start at 4–but if you’re used to coming to the later service, you can join in then instead: whatever works for you.
The Nativity will live-stream our 10:00 Eucharist this Sunday. The stream will go live at about 9:45 with a welcome and territorial acknowledgement, and our Director of Music will offer about 15 minutes of music to help us pray. The service itself will begin at 10. If you’re not able to join in live, you can always do so at a later time using the same link!
On the second Sunday of Advent this year we’ll hear from one of the Apocryphal books of the Bible! The prophet Baruch speaks to God’s people while exiled in Babylon, promising that every high mountain will be made low and the valleys filled to make level ground–a promise of new beginnings and joy and a new future. (Baruch 5.1-9). We’ll join together in praying Zechariah’s expression of joy, the Benedictus, that revels in what God has done and what God is doing (Luke 1.68-79). And in the gospel, we’ll hear about the beginnings of the ministry of John the Baptiser, who promises that “all flesh will see the salvation of our God (Luke 3.1-6).
The stream will begin at about 9:45 with a welcome, and then there will be about fifteen minutes of prelude music. The service will begin at 10 am. You can also take part in the service at a later time.
We’ll hear the promise God makes through the prophet Jeremiah to bring a new future to God’s people. (Jeremiah 33.14-16), and respond to it with words from Psalm 25 that help us to trust in God’s promise (Psalm 25.1-10). Our new Church year begins with Jesus speaking of how we will know that God’s reign draws near and that the Son of Man is coming (Luke 21.25-36).
Sundays and Seasons offers the following reflection about this Sunday:
Advent is about the “coming days.” God’s people have always lived in great expectation, but that expectation finds specific, repeated enunciation in the texts appointed for these four weeks. The ancients anticipated a “righteous Branch to spring up for David.” The Thessalonians awaited “the coming of our Lord Jesus with all the saints.” Jesus’ contemporaries hoped for the time “to stand before the Son of Man.” With them we eagerly await the coming days: another Christmas celebration, a second coming, and the advent of Christ in word and supper.
We’re omitting the reading from Daniel this year (7.9-10, 13-14), but we will hear from the Revelation to Saint John (1.4b-8) about the nature of Jesus Christ as the ruler of all. We’ll also hear Jesus make clear to Pilate that Jesus’ reign looks very different from the kinds of rulers and ways of being we’re used to in the world (John 18.33-38a).
Here’s what Sundays and Seasons writes about this day in our Church calendar:
Even after Israel had experienced the vagaries of kings, the people still longed for a true king to set things right. He would have the king’s title of Anointed One (Messiah); he would be the “one like a human being” (Son of Man) given dominion in Daniel’s vision. Jesus is given these titles, even though he is nothing like an earthly king. His authority comes from the truth to which he bears witness, and those who recognize the truth voluntarily listen to him. We look forward to the day he is given dominion, knowing his victory will be the nonviolent victory of love.
A Special Note about British Columbia
The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) is accepting donations for British Columbia in the wake of the destructive floods after a devastating fire season. If you want to make a donation to PWRDF to support recovery efforts, you can find information at their website. You can also make gifts through the parish. We join with the bishops of the ecclesiastical province of BC and Yukon in prayer:
God of compassion, we pray for all who have suffered losses and trauma because of this storm. We pray for those stranded or evacuated, and for those who have lost homes and livelihood. Bless and strengthen those providing food, shelter, and care; and all first responders and crews still working to rescue people and animals. We give thanks for the courage and generosity of those responding to the crisis, for all the acts of neighborliness and kindness. God of Life, give courage and healing to all who have been affected. Give all leaders and responders endurance and resourcefulness. May we each find ways to bring your comfort, hope and calm in the midst of this anxious time. Strengthen our resolve to make the changes necessary to care for your Earth. In the name of Christ our healer. Amen.
Our 10 o’clock Eucharist will be live-streamed to YouTube. The stream will begin at 9:45, with a welcome and then about fifteen minutes of prelude music, The service will begin at 10 am. You can also take part in the service at a later time.
This Sunday we celebrate one of the seven great feasts of the Church–the Feast of All Saints. We’ll hear a portion of the Revelation to Saint John describing a vision of the new heaven and the new earth (Revelation 21.1-6), and the story of Mary and Martha mourning the death of their brother Lazarus (John 11.32-44).
It’s a poignant festival, marked by both our very real grief over the death of those we love and by our hope of resurrection to new life through Jesus. Those attending the service in person are invited to bring pictures of loved ones to place on the memorial table. Here’s how Sundays and Seasons makes sense of this week’s readings.
Of all three years of the lectionary cycle, this year’s All Saints readings have the most tears. Isaiah and Revelation look forward to the day when God will wipe away all tears; in John’s gospel, Jesus weeps along with Mary and all the gathered mourners before he demonstrates his power over death. On All Saints Day we celebrate the victory won for all the faithful dead, but we grieve for our beloved dead as well, knowing that God honours our tears. We bring our grief to the table and find there a foretaste of Isaiah’s feast to come.