Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that your people, illumined by your 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 you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Images of light are prominent at the Epiphany and the season following, and Christ’s glory as the Son of God continues to be revealed – in images at baptism and more.
The season after the Epiphany varies in length each year, as it continues from the Epiphany, January 6, until the day before Ash Wednesday (this year on February 17). In the Episcopal Church, the liturgical colors are white for Epiphany and the Sunday following, which is designated as the Baptism of Our Lord, and green for the remainder, except for a few weekday feasts.
One of the feast days during this season is the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, on February 2, which is the 40th day of the combined Christmas-Epiphany observance. Many know this as “Candlemas” and there is a long tradition of blessing candles on this date, for use in churches and homes throughout the year. The feast of the Presentation has been observed since at least the 4th century, with customs surrounding it developing over time. Some recognize this as the date to remove all Christmas greens and decor, while others mark the occasion with festive meals and sweets, and candle processions, luminaries, or bonfires to light up the night.
Worship gathers us in prayer and praise to God and shapes us to live as Christians in our daily lives. Using scripture, the Book of Common Prayer, music, and other resources, we come together in this sacred time to learn, to grow, and to give thanks to God. Covid-19 has changed the way we gather, yet not our common prayer. Worship materials are provided for home use and to support worship via video, Zoom, and phone.
To assist our observance of holy days, the commemoration of saints, and lesser feasts and fasts, Forward Movement offers three liturgical calendars, as well as daily meditations and a variety of devotional resources.
SUNDAY WORSHIP AND RESOURCES
Our Diocesan Partnership online worship services are held at 10 a.m. Sundays, hosted by Bishop Sean, with preachers, readers, and music from around the Partnership. Following that, at 10:40 a.m., Mother Twila hosts a Zoom-based worship service. Links for both of these are in our weekly “e-news” and you may contact Mother Twila for details or to sign-up for emails. The Partnership sermons are posted on Facebook and YouTube each Sunday.
• The readings for the Fourth Sunday after The Epiphany (Sunday, January 31) are available here and a reflection on the readings here.
This year, most of us have been spending more time in our homes. One of the traditions at Epiphany is to “chalk the door” of homes and bless the rooms inside. This will give you a little background on The Epiphany and offers prayers for your home.
IN PERSON WORSHIP
In-person worship is suspended at this time, due to Covid-19.
THURSDAY MORNING PRAYER
At 7:45 a.m. Thursdays, Mother Twila offers a brief morning prayer service from the Genesis Center, just before the weekly food pantry begins, on Facebook Live. See the Genesis Center Facebook page.
Every week at St. Simon’s, we offer prayers for birthdays, for persons who are ill or in special need, and for those who have died, to ask God’s blessing at these special times. To add an intention to the prayer list, you may call the church office, 716-822-1900, ext. 20, or email.
WORSHIP IN THE WIDER CHURCH
Monday-Friday – Noonday Prayer with our Diocesan Partnership, 12 p.m. – Facebook Live (see p. 103, Book of Common Prayer, if desired, to follow along)
Sunday worship services are being live-streamed from the National Cathedral: link to services on YouTube. Watch the Facebook page for the Episcopal Church for additional updates on digital worship serviwces.
Throughout the year, we recognize God’s grace in the fullness of our lives with the sacrament of baptism, the uniting of couples in marriage, and the rites at death, into eternal life. For more information, contact The Rev. Twila Smith.