Happy New Year – and the Year Ahead
Posted on the 6th Jan 2016 in the category Announcements
Christmas is completely fixed in our minds and our diaries on 25 December. But in any one year, depending on the date of Easter, many of the most important feasts of the Church’s year move. This year ‘pascha’ (a word that comes from the Hebrew word ‘pesakh’, or Passover – Easter) is on 27 March.
In ancient times before calendars and diaries (or even smartphones) were common, many people did not know very long in advance the dates of even the most important holy days of the new year – the days and celebrations that they would want to be part of, that were central to their faith in Jesus and to their communion with other Christians.
Thus in the western Christian tradition it became customary at Epiphany to announce publicly—normally by singing! —the new year’s holy dates after the reading of the Gospel.
In the age of the internet, this seems, then, a better way than most of wishing any visitors to this website fresh experiences of God’s grace, mercy and peace in 2016:
6 January 2016
The Gospel reading for the Epiphany (6 January)
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.’ When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who is to shepherd my people Israel.’
Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, ‘Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.’ When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy.
On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure-chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.
Thanks be to God.
The Epiphany Proclamation:
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Dear Friends:
We rejoice at the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ; the Lord’s glory has shone upon us and shall always be visible among us, until the day of his return. So by leave of God's mercy we announce to you also the celebration of his Resurrection, who is our Saviour. From Easter are reckoned all the days we keep holy.
The beginning of the holy fast of Lent, Ash Wednesday, will be 10 February.
We shall commemorate the Paschal feast of our Lord Jesus Christ – his last supper, his crucifixion, his burial and his rising – between the evening of the 24 March and the evening of 26 March, celebrating Easter Day with paschal joy on the 27 March.
On 5 May will be the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ.
On 15 May, the feast of Pentecost.
On 26 May, the feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.
On 27 November, the First Sunday of the Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ.
As pilgrims in this world, we celebrate the death and resurrection of the Lord in the feasts of the Mother of God, the apostles, and the martyrs and saints of earlier times.
And with full hearts we bless him for the victory of his grace, his mercy and his peace in the hearts of the new martyrs of our own age across the world, and especially in the lands of his earthly life and of the most ancient churches.
To Jesus Christ, who was, who is, and who is to come, Lord of history and eternity, be endless praise, for ever and ever. Amen.