On Monday, most weeks these days, we’re looking at the liturgical schedule to highlight the propers, prayers and scripture readings, that we’re holding in common according to the 2019 Prayer Book.
Yesterday was the 1st Sunday of Epiphany, so the first traditional prayer book option for a weekday Eucharist is to repeat yesterday’s Collect and Lessons (dealing with the baptism of our Lord). Another good option would be to use the traditional Collect and Lessons for Epiphany 1, which deal with the finding of Jesus in the Temple. Because of the missional tone that the modern lectionary brings to the fore in this season, good second choice for a weekday Eucharist is For the Mission of the Church, noted on page 733, using the propers for World Mission Sunday.
And, of course, Saturday is a major feast day, so be sure to observe the Confession of St. Peter – the Collect for that Day beginning at Evening Prayer on Friday, and carrying through Saturday evening.
Apart from that, a commemoration definitely worth noting are St. Anthony on Friday the 17th. Consider also St. Kentigern on Tuesday the 14th.
Last week: Genesis 5-11, John 3:22-6:21, Jeremiah 4-10, Galatians 5-6, 1 Thess. 1-4:12
This week: Genesis 12-18, John 6-8, Jeremiah 11-17, 1 Thessalonians 4-5, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Corinthians 1-2
Special reading for the Confession of St. Peter on Saturday morning: Matthew 16:13-20. This is a clone of the Gospel lesson for the communion service that day, albeit with one extra verse, providing us the raison d’etre for this holy day.
The changeover from last week to this week with regards to the readings from Genesis is that before we were dealing with ancient history of almost legendary or pre-historic quality, and now we are stepping into the story of Abraham. The book of Genesis is organized into ten “origin stories”, subtly given a ten-fold prologue to the exposition of the Mosaic Law and Covenant in the book of Exodus, which itself centers around a famous group of ten. If you’re not familiar with the Genesis Ten, feel free to pull up an overview. The focus switches to Terah (and primarily his son Abraham) part-way through chapter 11 and remains with him into chapter 25, so we’ll have just over two weeks with the Abrahammic Sagas, as some like to call them.
The importance of Abraham in the Christian faith cannot be overstated. While there are indeed many references to the Law of Moses in the New Testament, those references are a mixed bag of positive and negative iterations of keeping the Old Covenant. Ultimately, while we have much to learn from what God revealed through Moses, our ancient-historical identity as Christians largely bypasses him and links us straight back to Abraham. Abraham, as we read last week in Galatians, is the father of all the faithful, both circumcised and uncircumcised. We are blessed through him and his offspring (Jesus), not through Moses and his law. So take a good look at the interactions between Abraham and the Lord. He indeed has a journey of growth in working knowledge and trusting faith, but in the end God lays a foundation with him upon which even we, today, are built.