February 2, 2021
Almighty and ever-living God, clothed in majesty,
whose beloved Son was this day presented in the Temple
in the substance of our flesh:
grant that we may be presented to you ...
by your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, ... Amen.
Common Worship, p.386
The Archbishops' Council.
London: Church House Publishing, 2000
That the Bible includes the story of "The Presentation of Our Lord," was one of the things I learned during my first year hanging out with Episcopalians in Eugene, Oregon. I was a first-year graduate student at the University who found a spiritual home at St. Mary's Church. The Presentation was explained to me as a continuation of the celebrations of the Incarnation that began forty-days earlier at Christmas. The University group organized a special reception following the Sunday evening service; my Aunt Frances, who lived in Eugene, helped me bake something; and someone brought champagne. I thought these Episcopalians really knew how to celebrate!
The impetus for this celebrating was more than just having a good time -- which it was. But that the Holy Family had also known joyful occasions, and in the Incarnation, God's own self had participated in them, as the prayer says, "in the substance of our flesh."
Our prayers are asked for all who are commended to the parish's prayers:
All who are ill, including
Allison & Ryan Burns, Kelly Taylor, Philip, Jerry and
Jack's daughter, Jim R, Jason, and Peter; and for
Jay, Matthew, Buster, Jimmy C, Dale,
and all who are contending with Covid-19 disease;
for the medical caregivers who minister of God's healing gifts;
and for all facing financial hardship because of the pandemic.
May they all know the healing power of
Christ's presence and love.
For the repose of all who have died;
including the over 447,000 of our fellow citizens
claimed by the coronavirus.
Rest eternal grant to them, O Lord;
may light perpetual shine upon them.
Patrick and family, Felipe, Diane L, Richard D, Andrew M, Alice M, Elizabeth Ann, Parker, Webb, Jill, Andrew E, Ed C, Pastor Bryan Meyers, Bob C, Carol U, Sue S, George H, Alex & John H, Jeremy H, Shelly, Philippe, Kate, Frank, Jack, Judy & Ed S, Michael M, Richard D, Dave K, Brian A, Annie, John, Joan G., Lois C., Winnie Z, Bernie and family, Susie & Paul, Pam McG, Julie H, Murray E., Brooke & family, Kate S., Tracy M., Carl,
Michael S, Joanne N-R, Madeline H, and Kelly G,
Also: Paul D, Susan S, Linda B, June C, Charlie K, Anne C, Mark S, Angela G, Maria, Bob, Olivia, and Jo B.
Please also remember: St. Luke’s School & Church in Martel (Haiti)
To add names and concerns for Wednesday's and Sunday's intercessions, and this "Let Us Pray" letter, please send them to YFNR at firstname.lastname@example.org with any details you care to share. Names will move to the longer term list upon request.
Wednesday's Order of Evening will commemorate The Presentation, one day following its official Feast Day. Another name for this Feast is "Candlemas," a day to celebrate the light of Christ coming to us, and a traditional day for blessing altar candles for the coming year. In the practice of some, this is the last day for lighting window candles until next Advent. The livestream of the service starts before 7p.m. at www.facebook.com/cecguilford.
Thursday Bible Study continues February 4 at 9:30a.m. with the Exodus story of the Passover -- one of the pivotal occasions in the Bible. Join the conversation via Zoom. There are no prerequisites or homework!
Our experiment continues -- keeping the side door, closest to the Guild Room, unlocked between 10a.m. and 3p.m. This provides an opportunity for a quiet moment of prayer in the church, likely alone, as well as to pick up from the chancel table your 2021 Offering Envelopes, and a candle stub to light during prayers at home.
On Sunday, our morning worship returns to our own livestream Holy Eucharist at 10a.m. While the forecast makes 1p.m..Prayers in the Garden unlikely, there will be a brief outside gathering, likely in the driveway, to convene, offer a brief prayer, note the lack of a quorum to proceed, and then recess our Annual Parish Meeting until June 6.
Yet another traditional name for The Presentation, is "The Purification of Mary." This practice, noted in Luke 2.22, ended a sort of quarantine for a mother and her newborn child, and served to re-incorporate her in her community in her new role as a mother. You may recall reading in Victorian literature about a period of "confinement" during pregnancy and following the birth of a child, when a woman was said to be, "In the family way;" this continued, among people with the means to observe it, the biblical quarantine. To re-incorporate new mothers into the community, old Prayer Books thus had a service for "The Churching of Women."BCP (1928), p. 305 These gave way to the current Prayer Book's "Thanksgiving for a Child" for births and adoptions.; BCP(1979), p.439
The "purification" element in the observance shows up in the Collects for the day, including the following from A New Zealand Prayer Book, p.645:
Everliving God, your Son Jesus Christ
was presented as a child in the temple
to be the hope of your people:
grant us pure hearts and minds
that we may be transformed into his likeness,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever. Amen.
May the Light of this season of Epiphanies
be with you and yours,
Your Friendly Neighborhood Rector
We feature various authors from around our parish, commenting on topics of interest to our community. Enjoy! Comment if you are so moved!