Thursday, January 16, 2014

Bishop's Note: The Collect for the Second Sunday after the Epiphany

Bishop Eric Menees

The liturgical season we are in is known as Epiphany (meaning to make manifest), but really it should be called the season of Epiphanies, because each week, through the scriptures, we see how Jesus was made manifest. Last week we celebrated the Baptism of Jesus, and through the scriptures we saw the dove alight upon Jesus and the voice of God come from the heavens, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17) Imagine if you were present at that baptism, hearing those words from gives me goose bumps just to think about it.

This week, Jesus is similarly called out, as it were, when John the Baptist, in the first chapter of the Gospel of John, cries out to the crowd and the world... "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29) People would have either thought him to be a serious nut case, or by the look on his face and the reverential tone in his voice, known that they'd come into the presence of the Holy One of Israel!

Who was it that first pointed you to Jesus as the Lamb of God? For me, it was my grandfather.  I remember the prayers that he prayed before the family sat down to Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter Dinner. He spoke with such an odd combination of reverence and familiarity, that even as a young boy I remember thinking, "I don't know who he's talking to, but he is obviously important in grandpa's life."
My grandfather didn't evangelize exactly, but he did, in a quiet and confident way, point me toward God and ask the questions that would be answered in a few years when my friend Bob La Mar invited me to church.

Who invited you to church? Who pointed you to Jesus as the Lamb of God? This week's Collect implores God to open our hearts and minds to His Son, the eternal light, through His Word (Holy Scripture) and the Sacraments. My prayer for you, and my prayer for me, is that we will be looking for God the Holy Spirit to open us up to new and fresh perspectives on our Lord, which then, indeed, will lead us to share with others the light of Christ and to invite others to worship the Risen Lord!

Let us pray... "Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that thy people, illumined by thy Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ's glory, that he may be known, worshiped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever." Amen.

Note: The "Notes to the church" articles are written by Bishop Menees for the Diocese of San Joaquin. I have posted them on Soundings with his permission for a wider audience. This is also the case for his "Why I am an Anglican" series. Dale+  

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