The First Sunday After The Epiphany

The theme of the First Sunday after the Epiphany is Grace and Power, that is, the grace to perceive and know what ought to be done and the power to do the same with good grace, as expressed by the collect for the day. Such an orientation renews the mind, that is, changes our thinking and our priorities, and in doing so turns us away from the priorities of “this world,” and of all that is outside of our control. What do we have power over? Nothing except that which the Stoics referred to as “prohairasis,” our reasoned choice, or volition; the way we choose to think about things and the priorities we choose to set. The prayer then is to be given the grace to choose what is good for us, which is, the right use of the one thing we can control: our thoughts and opinions. Then, to have the power to follow through.

The Collect

O Lord, we beseech thee mercifully to receive the prayers of thy people which call upon thee: and grant that they may both perceive and know what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfil the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Book of Common Prayer

Old Testament Reading

The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing.

Psalm 92: 12-14

New Testament Reading

Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Romans 12: 2

The First Sunday after the Epiphany also commemorates the episode in the childhood of Christ in which his parents discover that he is not among the caravan as they return home after celebrating the Feast of the Passover in Jerusalem. The episode encapsulates the difference in orientation of which we have been speaking. Three days after turning back to Jerusalem to search for him, they find him in the temple, discoursing with the doctors of their religion. In response to their reproach, he says,

How is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?

Luke 2: 49

Liturgical Affirmation

Ego sum radix et genus David, stella splendida et matutina. Virtus in infirmitate perficitur.

I am the root and offspring of David, the bright and morning star. Virtue is made strong in weakness

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