Today we celebrate the
circumcision of Jesus in accordance with Jewish tradition, eight days
(according to the Semitic and southern European calculation of intervals of
days) after his birth, the occasion on which the child was formally given his
name. The circumcision of Jesus
has traditionally been seen, as explained in the popular 14th century
work the Golden Legend, as the first time the blood of Christ was shed, and
thus the beginning of the process of the redemption of man, and a demonstration
that Christ was fully human and of his obedience to Biblical law. No longer
celebrated by many churches, including the Roman and TEC, it is still the
Eighth Day. That has not changed
and so we celebrate the event as it is referred to in scripture, thus should it
Each Sunday there are Propers:
special prayers and readings from the Bible. There is a Collect for the Day; that is a single thought
prayer, most written either before the re-founding of the Church of England in
the 1540s or written by Bishop Thomas Cranmer, the first Archbishop of
Canterbury after the re-founding.
The Collect for the Day is to be
read on Sunday and during Morning and Evening Prayer until the next Sunday. The
Epistle is normally a reading from one of the various Epistles, or letters, in
the New Testament. The Gospel is a
reading from one of the Holy Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The Collect is said by the minister as
a prayer, the Epistle can be read by either a designated reader (as we do in
our church) or by one of the ministers and the Holy Gospel, which during the
service in our church is read by an ordained minister.
The propers are the same each
year, except if a Red Letter Feast, that is one with propers in the prayerbook,
falls on a Sunday, then those propers are to be read instead, except in a White
Season, where it is put off. Red
Letter Feasts, so called because in the Altar Prayerbooks the titles are in
red, are special days. Most of the
Red Letter Feasts are dedicated to early saints instrumental in the development
of the church, others to special events.
Some days are particularly special and the Collect for that day is to be
used for an octave (eight days) or an entire season, like Advent or Lent.
Today is one of those Red Letter
Days, The Feast of the Circumcision of Christ.
"And when eight days were
accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS,
which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb." Luke 2:21 (AV)
The propers for today are found
on Pages 105-106, with the Collect first:
The Circumcision of Christ.
LMIGHTY God, who madest thy blessed Son to be circumcised, and obedient to the
law for man; Grant us the true circumcision of the Spirit; that, our hearts,
and all our members, being mortified from all worldly and carnal lusts, we may
in all things obey thy blessed will; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our
The First Sunday
after Christmas Day.
God, who hast given us thy only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and
as at this time to be born of a pure virgin; Grant that we being regener- ate,
and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy
Spirit; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with
thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.
The Epistle for today came from Paul’s letter to the people
of Philippia, starting at the Ninth Verse of the Second Chapter. The portion of
the letter used as today’s Epistle is relatively short.
God has sent His Son to earth and given
him a name above all others, Jesus
Paul exhorts his fellow followers to
continue to follow the Lord, not only while he is watching them, but at all
God will give them the will
and ability to do good, but only if they do their best to follow Him.
OD also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name
which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of
things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that
every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the
Father. Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence
only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear
and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his
The Gospel for today came from the Gospel according
to Saint Luke, the Second Chapter,
beginning at the Fifteenth Verse. Today’s Gospel recounts the angels visit to
the shepherds who came into Bethlehem to pay homage to Jesus in the
manger. It also documents the
circumcision of Jesus, bringing Him under the Law. He who: Is, Was and always Will be, put Himself under the
Law, that He might fulfill the Law and be our salvation.
Our salvation from the Law came from the perfect sacrifice
one time for the sins of all mankind for all time. The sacrifice had to be a perfect human, one who did not
exist until Jesus came. That
perfect human had to enter in to the Law, had to be subject to the Law. Thus, Jesus submitted Himself unto the
Law that he might in the end have dominion over the Law.
nd it came to pass, as the angels
were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us
now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the
Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and
Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made
known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they
that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the
shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they
had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. And when eight days were
accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS,
which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
Sermon – Reverend Jack Arnold - Time and
Church of the Faithful Centurion, Descanso, California
Today’s sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and
Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above.
Today we recall the circumcision of our Lord and
He is God, yet He is under
Not all those 613 laws
were those called Moral, that is to say the Ten Commandments, but there are
those which are moral and there are also laws of God or physics.
God, the Ultimate Being, is subject to
the laws He made.
While He can,
and does on the very special occasion, disregard them such as when the shadow
went backwards, for the most part He, too, is subject to The Laws
Because they were made for the general good of this
We see what happens when
people do not follow the Laws that God set out for us to live by. If we stop
living by The Laws, then we are no better than the animals of this world, who
live by no such Laws whatsoever. Then there is no incentive for us to follow
Christ if we do not live by the laws which he has set before us. If we do not
need to follow these laws, then why would we follow Him? We follow Him because
He is the embodiment of all that is good and pleasing, unlike the world, which
seems to be the embodiment of pure evil and sickness.
Evil and sin are diseases that
must be cured by being regenerated through the Holy Ghost. God does not break
His own Laws, in the very unique cases He does it is for an extremely good
reason. Without a system of order, there is chaos.
God is not chaos; God never brings confusion.
Chaos and Confusion are the Devil’s Modus
Operandi, not God’s. God never tests, but when we are tested by this world, He
monitors the results.
the new covenant or new agreement to us through His Son, our Savior, Jesus
Knowing we cannot ever be
perfect, He gave us a way to be accounted as perfect at the Judgment Day – One
Sacrifice, Made One time, by One Man who was God, for All Mankind for All
Jesus is our light and our
Through Him all things are
All salvation takes is the simple understanding of a
child or a shepherd. The simple
truth that is Christ. He is not
complex. His message is not
sophisticated. He is the way. The One Way!
This is the first day of the New Calendar Year. Remember also, it is the first day of
the remainder of your life here on earth, let it count for something. We live
in the present, the past will never come again and tomorrow never comes. Take
the right path starting right now.
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