St. Francis Church

Sunday, February 5 was the Fifth Sunday after Epiphany. In the secular calendar February 2 is Groundhog Day, but in the Christian calendar it is the Presentation of Christ. In our Anglican/English tradition this day is known as Candlemas which my dictionary defines as “an ecclesiatical festival, Feb. 2, in honor of the presentation of the infant Jesus in the Temple and the purification of the Virgin Mary. Candles are blessed on this day.” Bishop Hartley devoted his sermon to a discussion of the Epiphany of Christ in its larger sense. Epiphany Day, January 6, honors the arrival of the Magi or Three Wise Men from the East and represents the epiphany or showing forth of Jesus to the world, but in the larger sense the Epiphany is a series of events that demonstrate Christ’s divinity. The first is the Annunciation to Mary by the Angel Gabriel that she will give birth to the Son of God, and her response in Luke 1:46, “My soul doth magnify the Lord…” which is known as the Magnificant and is sung every Wednesday evening in the evening prayer service. The actual birth of Jesus is next and the witness of the shepherds, then the arrival of the Magi. The visit of Jesus to the Temple shows Jesus to the Jewish leaders and to the world, His baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist, and then His first miracle at the wedding in Cana. In the gospel for Epiphany 5, St. Matthew 13:24, the Parable of the Wheat and Tares, Jesus teaches us that some people love God and some do not, and there will always be evil among us, but God will demonstrate His authority and sort out the good from the bad.

During prayer time, Bishop Hartley said the birthday prayer for Anderia McSwain, whose birthday is Feb. 8. He announced that our Pancake Day will be Feb. 28, and our next vestry on March 12 and our National Church Convention will be held at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI in May. Sunday the fifth was also Superbowl Sunday and while I am not a football fan, I always go to Springfield that day for a Superbowl party at the home of friends who have a big TV for the sports fans and lots of good food for the rest of us. They usually have a fire in their fireplace, but this year was too warm so I just enjoyed the food and company.

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