Verse of the Day

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year - Circumcision of Christ

New Year

Another Year Is Dawning
Another year is dawning, dear Father, let it be

In working or in waiting, another year with Thee.

Another year of progress, another year of praise,

Another year of proving Thy presence all the days.

Another year of mercies, of faithfulness and grace,

Another year of gladness in the shining of Thy face;

Another year of leaning upon Thy loving breast;

Another year of trusting, of quiet, happy rest.

Another year of service, of witness for Thy love,

Another year of training for holier work above.

Another year is dawning, dear Father, let it be

On earth, or else in Heaven, another year for Thee.

The Anglican Orthodox Church

Circumcision of Christ

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 be recalled.

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 or our Deacon Striker.

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.

[January 1.]

The Collect.
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 Lord. Amen.

The First Sunday after Christmas Day.
The Collect.
LMIGHTY 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.

Dru Arnold read the Epistle for today, which 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[1].  Paul exhorts his fellow followers to continue to follow the Lord, not only while he is watching them, but at all times.  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 good pleasure.

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 Deacon Jack Arnold - Time and Action
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 Savior.  He is God, yet He is under The Law.  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[2].  Why?  Because they were made for the general good of this world.  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 Bcause 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 through being regenerated through the Holy Spirit. God does not break His own Laws, or at least if He did, He would have a good reason to do so. Without a system of order, there is chaos.  God is not chaos.  God never brings confusion.  Chaos and Confusion are the Devil’s Modus Opreandi, not God’s. God never tests, but when we are tested by this world, He monitors the results.  He brought the new covenant or new agreement to us through His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.  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 Time.  Jesus is our light and our life.  Through Him all things are possible. 

All salvation takes is the simple understanding of a child or a shepherd.  The simple truth that is Christ.  He was not complex.  His message was 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.

Be of God - Live of God - Act of God

[1] The name Jesus, savior, is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua, which was originally Hoshea (Num. 13:8, 16), but changed by Moses into Jehoshua (Num. 13:16; 1 Chr. 7:27), or Joshua. After the Exile it assumed the form Jeshua, whence the Greek form Jesus.  It was given to our Lord to denote the object of his mission, to save.
[2] Yet, do not misapprehend, we know but little of His Laws and the laws of the universe as He made them.  Our grasp of the space time continuum is little beyond that possessed  by those at Moses time.  He is, was and always will be.  We live in the present, remember the past and prepare for what will be, the best we can.

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