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Jesus Sermon Mafa

Sunday 29 January 2023

Jesus Sermon Mafa

Resources beyond this site:
Girardian Reflection on the Lectionary
Resourcing Preaching Down Under

In the Anglican Church of Or, this Sunday is the Fourth Sunday of Epiphany OR the transferred celebration of Candlemas – The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, OR having had this debated twice at General Synod/Hinota Whanui and every diocesan synod and hui amorangi (in order to make this a formulary) and landed on “Sundays OF Epiphany” (Bill 6 here), the Lectionary Booklet calls these Sundays “Sundays of THE Epiphany”.

My preference: I don’t know that we need to give EVERY Sunday a “title” – it’s perfectly fine to think of this coming Sunday as 29 January! But, if you absolutely MUST give a title, what is wrong with using the term that the majority of Christians use for this Sunday: Fourth Sunday in Ordinary (“Counting”) Time. Especially because next Sunday NZ Anglicans call the “Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time” without any Fourth, Third, etc “Sundays in Ordinary Time” preceding it!!!

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

It is a sad reality that Christians are so lacking in unity that we cannot even agree on when to pray for unity! Some Christians have the week of prayer for unity between Ascension and the Day of Pentecost. Others have it at this time of year – from 18-25 January. The 1962 Roman Missal (with the 1954 General Calendar) – continuing to be used in the “Extraordinary Form” of Roman Catholicism – had 18 January as the Feast of the Chair of St Peter. Some Anglicans celebrate the Confession of St Peter on 18 January (for example, Australian Anglicans; NZ Anglicans celebrate that feast with Roman Catholics on 22 February). 25 January is the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul. In 1960 Pope John XXIII removed from the General Roman Calendar the January 18 celebration, but the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity still commences on that day for some.

Candlemas – Presentation of Jesus in the Temple

February 2nd (40 days after Christmas); transferred by some to Sunday

Almighty and ever-living God,
clothed in majesty,
whose beloved Son was this day presented in the Temple,
in substance of our flesh:
grant that we may be presented to you
with pure and clean hearts,
by your Son Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

(Gregorian Sacramentary, Sarum Missal, 1549 BCP)

The Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple (February 2; Candlemas) falls on Sunday and its proper replaces the readings etc. for Sunday Ordinary 4.

Candlemas originates from fourth century Jerusalem. It was celebrated on February 12. It was moved to February 2 to be forty days after Christmas as that was set on December 25. Pope Sergius I (687-701) introduced the procession with lit candles from his native Syria to Rome. The story is sourced in Luke 2:22-40 where he conflates Leviticus 12 (purification for a new mother, forty days after the birth of a son, eighty days after a daughter’s birth) with redemption of the firstborn son from service to God (Exodus 13:1-2, 11-16; Numbers 18:15-16). Although the later required a five shekel payment to the priests, there was no requirement to go the temple. Prior to purification the mother is unclean. Purification involves the offering of a lamb as a thank offering for the gift of a child, and a dove or pigeon to cover any possible sin incurred in the flow of blood. Those unable to afford a lamb could offer a second dove.

The festival can be seen as a final farewell facing Christmas, and a turning to the walk towards the cross. This fits with the seasonal weather changes within nature.

The Eucharist can begin with the blessing of candles and a more elaborate procession. The faithful might gather in a place apart from the worship space, all with a lit candle, and, after the blessing of candles, process into the church building.

Preserve us, O Lord, while waking, and guard us while sleeping, that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace.

Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace : according to thy word.
For mine eyes have seen : thy salvation,
Which thou hast prepared : before the face of all people;
To be a light to lighten the Gentiles : and to be the glory of thy people Israel.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be : world without end. Amen.

Preserve us, O Lord, while waking, and guard us while sleeping, that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace.

Textweek resources
Girardian reflection on the readings

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