More insights into the lessons

Every now and then I’ve provided some comments on the scripture readings from the Daily Office Lectionary.  That’s something I will continue to do on an ad hoc basis, but with less urgency, as I am happy to share with you all a couple new resources out there to help people along in the process of reading the Bible according the 2019 Prayer Book’s plan.

First there’s The Daily Office Vlog, by Fr. Brian Barry who serves at Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church in Danvers, Massachusetts. (For those not in the know, “vlog” is a modern term for video log.  “Web Log” –> “Blog” –> “Video Blog” –> “Vlog”)  Like my videos, it’s nothing fancy, just cutting straight to the subject at hand.  He comments on any or all of the four sets of readings in the Prayer Book, and is aiming to produce approximately one video per week, summarizing a week’s worth of readings in about ten minutes.

The other resource is a podcast from Adverseria, run by an Englishman named Alatair Roberts.  He has been producing daily podcasts focusing on the two readings from Morning Prayer (currently Genesis and John), and I believe his goal is to cover the Evening Prayer readings next year, and/or to get to a point where he can provide a podcast study for every reading in the lectionary!

So if you want Bible Study aids that run concurrently with the lectionary, I heartily recommend the ministries of these two gentlemen.

In the beginnings

As we’ve noted before, it’s nice starting to read John and Genesis at the same time.  Both deal with “the beginning” in wonderfully complementary ways, and better appreciation of that might save us some interpretative heartache.

And then, once I read from Jeremiah 4 and caught another reference to the language of Genesis 1:1-2, I knew it was time to write something about it.  It took me about a week longer than anticipated, but I finally got ’round to it.

* * *

One of the coolest things about the Bible’s text is that the first book literally starts “In the beginning…”  I mean, of all the things it could start with, it just makes perfect sense that it would start with the beginning.  And when you finish that sentence you find that the “beginning” is eternity past – before time itself was created.  In the beginning, God created.  You learn so much about God in that phrase – his distinction over against all created things, his omnipotence over the same, his very being belonging beyond not only physical existence but also beyond time.  I’m really into science fiction, especially Doctor Who, which deals constantly with the ins and outs and paradoxes of time travel.  So it’s kind of strange, in a marvellous way, to find a truly “timeless” deity proclaimed in the opening words of Sacred Scripture.

But then you get through the first couple chapters and the debates start flying thick and fast – how did God create the world?  Are there conflicts between the various pieces of the text?  Are these writings meant to be taken literally?  What, even, is the literal meaning?  All this and more quickly rises to the forefront of a Bible Study, sermon, or discussion on the opening chapters of the book of Genesis; it’s almost inescapable.  So let’s side-step that direction of argumentation and look at Genesis from a birds-eye view.

“In the beginning, God created…”

Read the rest here.

Learning the Daily Office – part 1 of 12

So you’ve heard about the Daily Office, specifically the Anglican tradition of daily prayer and scripture reading, and you want to enter into this beautiful and formative tradition?  Great, grab a prayer book and go!  Except, maybe someone already said that and you don’t know where to start… or worse, you did try it and it was just too much?  The length of the Office was overwhelming and the contents too complicated to navigate when you’ve got no experience with liturgy.  We understand, we’ve all been at that place before!  Some just don’t remember it as well as others.

Diving into the full Prayer Book life of worship doesn’t work for everyone; sometimes you have to work your way up toward that discipline, adding one piece at a time as you grow comfortable with each feature and learn how to “do” them all.  This post series is basically a twelve-step program to help you advance in the life of disciplined prayer from zero to super-Anglican.  The pace is up to you – the goal of this sort of spiritual discipline is consistency, not “how much” you do.

Step One: Pray a Psalm followed by the Lord’s Prayer.

Every morning and evening do two things: pray one Psalm (or perhaps part of one, if it’s really long), and follow it up with the Lord’s Prayer.  If you’ve been a Christian for a while, you’ve probably memorized the latter, but if you haven’t, use it in the 2019 Prayer Book on page 21.  The Lord’s Prayer was taught by Jesus (hence the name the Lord’s prayer), and is a pretty straight-forward thing to pray.  There is much about it that can be studied deeply, analyzing its words and structure, just like any other biblical text, but it’s also just readily understandable and easy to pray as your own prayer.

What may be more challenging is praying the psalms.  While this is a basic spiritual practice going back thousands of years, it is a tragically lost art for many (if not most) Protestant Christians today.  People “know” that the psalms are song-prayers, but actually praying them is a foreign concept.  If we are to be faithful to the Scriptures, though, we must pray the psalms, rather than simply read or study them. They were written to be prayed, individually and corporately, so failure to do so is failure to receive the authoritative scriptures in their fullness.

So how does one learn to pray the psalms?

  1. Read the Psalm(s) out loud.
  2. Once you’re used to the content of the Psalm(s) in question, imagine you and Jesus are reading them together.
  3. Imagine you and Jesus are reading them together to God the Father.
  4. Imagine you and Jesus and the entire Church are reading them together to God the Father.

The key realizations that will click over time (not necessarily in this order) are:

  1. that sometimes the content of the psalm will give voice to the cry of your own heart and sometimes it will not
  2. that there are many “voices” in the Psalms, and if it isn’t yours personally it may be those of Jesus, or of the Church, or of the martyrs, etc.
  3. that the psalms are incredibly influential in the writing of many other prayers, collects, suffrages, litanies, and so forth.

Perhaps even your own extemporaneous prayers will start to use psalm-like language; but remember the goal is not memorization. If some of that happens along the way, that’s awesome. But the goal is to be familiar with the psalms so they can work through your heart as you read them, not just process their information like in a bible study.

As for which psalms to pray, it may be best to start out with following the “60 Day Psalter” provided in our Daily Office Lectionary on pages 738-763.  For sake of getting used to this practice, I’d recommend you invest in using the Prayer Book’s psalter, but we’ll revisit that subject later.

Summary

So if you’re learning the Daily Office from scratch, start by praying a Psalm (out loud!) every morning and evening, followed by the Lord’s Prayer.  Then, if you have other requests or thanksgivings to offer to God, add them in your own words.

It may take a while to get used to praying the psalms, so make sure you’re comfortable with this before moving on to Step Two.

Planning Prayers & Readings Review 1/13

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.

Communion Propers

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.

Readings Review

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.

Filling in the Blanks: Tobit

The Daily Office Lectionary exists to get us through the majority of the Bible in a year, and the one in our 2019 Prayer Book is one of the best on that account.  But it still has some gaps.  That is why I created a Midday Prayer Lectionary, to “fill in the blanks” where the Daily Office has left something out.  We’ll have a few of these entries scattered throughout the year to highlight a few of these opportunities.

Now that we’ve finished the book Wisdom which had been left off at the end of December, let’s move on to one of the Ecclesiastical Books that is completely omitted in the 2019 Daily Lectionary: Tobit.  Tobit was one of the books read in full in the original daily lectionaries… possibly every Prayer Book lectionary until this one, I haven’t checked them all.  At the very least it’s a shame that we’ve lost the truly excellent prophecy of the gospel in Tobit 14.

Unlike the story in the book of Judith, Tobit does not have any noteworthy historical anachronisms to challenge its setting and context.  Where Judith has to be read purely as a morality tale, mixing together different stories of biblical heroes (heroines, specifically), Tobit is more readily understood as a story of some actual Israelite exiles.  Their fidelity to the Law, and God’s provision of an angel to assist them, makes for an encouraging story for God’s faithful people in any age of exile and/or disillusionment.

So if you want to make your way through this book, pull up this Customary’s Supplemental Midday Prayer Lectionary and read along!  We’ll get through all 14 chapters, with a one-day break on the 18th to celebrate the Confession of St. Peter.

Book Review: The American Psalter

A couple years ago I jumped on a rare offer: someone was selling a pile of old and out-of-print books of liturgical music and I managed to procure a nice stack.  The downside with them is that they are keyed to the traditional lectionary and calendar, so very little of it is stuff that I can use in my own church without careful adaptation and re-purposing.  But if I do end up in a 1928 Prayer Book parish some day, or start up a traditional service, this vintage materials could be super handy.

The book I’ve ended up using the most, in my own devotions, is The American Psalter, published by The H. W.  Gray Company in 1930, for the Protestant Episcopal Church.

The Preface provides a quick history of Anglican Chant, noting John Merbecke and dwelling particularly on Thomas Tallis, both from the first century of the English Reformation.  Some people accuse Anglican Chant of being an Anglo-Catholic invention of the 19th century; historical information like this helps bust that myth.  The method of “pointing”, that is, matching the text to the chant tune, is outlined, noting its diverse methods over the years since, and works its way toward explaining how the present volume works, and how to sing its contents.

The American Psalter contains chants for the “Choral Service” (that is, the main prayers and responses of the Daily Office), Anglican Chant tunes for the various Canticles of Morning and Evening Prayer, and all 150 Psalms.  A handful of other anthems are provided after, and every chant tune is indexed in the end.  Of course, the text of all these canticles and psalms match the 1928 Prayer Book, but now that we have the New Coverdale Psalter in the 2019 Prayer Book, with verbiage that closely resembles the original Prayer Book Psalter, it is pleasantly easy to line up this 90-year-old book with our brand-new Prayer Book.  I used it pretty frequently this past summer, as I began to settle into the 2019 BCP and got into a chanting mood for a while.

Now, this book is probably hard to find these days, so in a sense writing about it today, in 2020, seems a bit silly.  How are you, the reader, going to benefit from this?  I’ll share an example of an insight from this book that may spark creativity from my fellow modern-day chanters.  Several Psalms are quite long, and using the same chant for fifteen minutes could get monotonous.  What The American Psalter does is break up a long psalm into multiple chants.Psalm 107This isn’t the whole of Psalm 107, but you can get the idea.  It begins (on the previous page) with a cheerful Single Chant in D Major for three verses “O Give thanks unto the Lord…” followed by a somber Single Chant in D Minor for verses 4 & 5 “They went astray in the wilderness…”  Then, on the pages shown in the picture above, the Psalm switches between about three different-but-related chants reflecting the different voices and moods as the narrative of Psalm 107 unfolds.

This is probably the most complex example; other long psalms receive more simple treatment.  Psalm 109 spends verses 1-4 in a pleasant C Major Double Chant, changes to an A Minor Double Chant with a similar melodic contour for verses 5-19, and switches back to the original chant for verses 20-30.  Even simpler is Psalm 44, wherein verses 1-9 are sung with a Double Chant in G Major, and verses 10-26 sung in the exact same chant tune transposed to G Minor.

The underlying lesson here is that chanting does not have to be boring or unimaginative.  The wealth of chant tunes, and the ease with which one can edit them, opens up a world of musical possibilities.  Opting for Anglican Chant in your church does not have to mean that your skilled musicians are out of a job!  Yes, chanting is extremely simple, and you don’t need particularly talented musicians to make it happen (which is kind of the point of chant, really, being something simple for all voices to join in), but there is still room for talent, creativity, and skill to step in.

Anyway, don’t go out of your way to track down a copy of this book unless you’re particularly trying to build a church music resource library.  Instead, keep your eye on the ACNA committee for music’s Psalter Page.  They’re still pretty early in their work of compiling chant psalters for the 2019 Prayer Book, so if you’ve got ideas, encouragements, or questions, now’s your chance to make a difference!

A New Epiphany Hymn: “On this clear night”

One of the things I quite enjoy about the Book of Common Praise 2017, or as its latest edition is named, Magnify the Lord, is that it has a number of contemporary songs and hymns.  Yes, contemporary hymns too.  Hymn #87, in the Epiphany section, was written by Cynthia Erlandson in 1997.  Like the older classic Songs of thankfulness and praise, this new hymn outlines the Gospel themes of the traditional Epiphanytide, and does so brilliantly.

On this clear night, led by a star much brighter than the rest,
Wise Gentiles travel west to see God’s Wisdom manifest:
Emmanuel has come to earth in human vesture dressed.

Incense and gold they give to him, the King whom Herod fears,
To those who see the Light of lights, salvation now appears,
Ordained before all times until the fullness of the years.

The boy Messiah’s wisdom in the temple soon is heard,
The wond’ring scribes astonished by God’s flesh-encompassed Word,
More powerful, more piercing than a soul-dividing sword.

In Jordan, God’s beloved Son fulfills all righteousness,
Baptized by John, the prophet, crying in the wilderness,
“Prepare a highway for our God, the way of holiness.”

Thus marked, the Groom-to-be as guest performs a wondrous sign:
At wedding feast, the Word-made-flesh turns water into wine,
The best has been withheld till now: the fruit of Christ the Vine.

To one born blind, the world’s true Light reveals a radiant sight:
The vision of his kingdom, coming into earth’s dark night.
Unto his saints, once blind to Truth, the healer shows his might.

Unto the Father, Son, and Spirit, Holy Trinity,
The Three in One, the one and only glorious Deity,
All praise and honor be for Jesus’ great epiphany.  Amen.

This is set to the tune MORNING SONG, which is better known for the text Awake, awake, to love and work.

The poetry of Mrs. Erlandson’s lyrics are striking, often matching similar names and titles for Jesus in the first and second lines of a given verse.  Several of them are hyphenated, or at least multi-word titles, drawing from the rich treasures of biblical language to expound our Savior in the various epiphany gospel stories recounted here.  The best poems, lyrics, and songs are really just sermons in artistic format, and this one definitely fits the bill.

If you want to see what else she has written, I would point you to the book The Slumbering Host, which is just now being released from Little Gidding Press.  I had a small role in wrangling the typesetting and formatting of this book, and would be very happy to see the fame of its many poet-contributors spread abroad.  You’ll find that Mrs. Erlandson’s contribution to this book is of a similar style to this epiphany hymn: another poem that explores a foundational Christian doctrine sequentially in three-line stanzas.

Introduction to the Epiphany season

Part 3 of the church year is Epiphanytide.  This is part of my year-long video series on the church calendar, check it out:

For further reading:

Subject Index:
* 00:30 Introduction to Epiphanytide
* 01:02 Major Themes
* 02:44 Historical features
* 7:26 Walk-through with the 2019 BCP
* 18:36 Summarizing the season with the “Surge illuminare”

A Guide to choosing the Supplemental Canticles

One of the features of the 2019 Prayer Book that has raised eyebrows among the hard-core prayer book traditionalists, and perhaps evoked mixed reactions from those familiar with the 1979 Prayer Book also, is the section of the book called Supplemental Canticles for Worship.  Starting on page 79, after the Family Prayer and Additional Prayers, these are ten canticles that are offered for use in the Daily Office, each with a rubric recommendation of when it is “especially suitable” – Magna et mirabilia for Advent or Easter, Surge illuminare for Epiphany, and so forth.

The improvement here over against the 1979 Prayer Book is that the primary texts of the Daily Offices are not cluttered with a massive pile of Canticles to wade through.  This also gives place of preference for the historic canticles (Te Deum and Benedictus for the Morning, and Magnificat and Nunc dimittis in the Evening).  Those who want to “complicate” the Office, by drawing from a larger number of canticles, will not be overly bothered by the extra page-flip involved in doing so.

Let’s say you’re a regularly pray-er of the Office, or are getting into it now with this new prayer book.  How should you go about choosing these canticles?  When should you use them?  Which of the standard options should they replace?  To answer this question, let’s start with the “liturgical standard” of 1662.

The “original” Canticles

In Morning Prayer the first canticle was the Te Deum laudamus or Benedicite omnia opera (of which our Canticle 10 is a slightly-streamlined reduction).  The second canticle was the Benedictus, except for when it shows up as a reading at Morning Prayer or the Holy Communion; on those handful of days each year the Jubilate Deo (Psalm 100) is appointed instead.

In Evening Prayer the first canticle was the Magnificat or Cantate Domino (Psalm 98), the only stipulation being that the latter may not be used on the 19th day of the month, when that psalm is one of the regularly-appointed psalms of the day.  The second canticle was the Nunc dimittis or Deus misereatur (Psalm 67) with the same stipulation as before – no repeating the psalm on the 12th day of the month.

In our American context it is worth noting that by the time of the 1928 Prayer Book, further options had emerged.  Along with the Te Deum and the Benedicite was also offered the Benedictus es, which we find as an option alongside the Te Deum in the 2019 Prayer Book.  In Evening Prayer, alongside the Magnificat and Psalm 98 was added Psalm 92; and alongside the Nunc dimittis and Psalm 67 was added Psalm 103 (well, a portion of it).

Between this, and other similar features of the Office in the 1928 Prayer Book, and there can be seen a clear trajectory of diversification when it comes to canticle usage.

the Canticles before the Payer Book

Another factor that may guide how we go about utilizing the canticles at our disposal (in any prayer book, but especially the 2019) is how the canticles were handled in the liturgy of the hours, the Offices, before the first Prayer Book of 1549.  After all, Archbishop Cranmer didn’t just slap together a few random psalm and canticles, he was drawing from centuries of tradition and practice, simplifying what was needlessly complex and streamlining the wide sprawl of medieval monastic practice into something that all the laity could follow.

One major feature of canticle use was the trio of Gospel Canticles.  I’ve written about them before, but in a nutshell these were standard daily canticles that were (as far as I’m aware) never replaced with substitutions.  The Benedictus was said every morning, the Magnificat every evening, and Nunc dimittis every night (compline).  You can see a hint of that in the 1662 rubric concerning the Benedictus – that it should only be replaced with Psalm 100 when its text shows up in one of the readings that morning.

As for the Te Deum, I am generally aware (but not authoritatively certain) that it was appointed to be said in one of the morning Offices on Sundays and Holy Days.  This is also vaguely affirmed by the fact that, in prayer book history, it has the largest number of substitutions allowed.

the Saint Aelfric Customary – on the Canticles

Given all this, what’s our recommendation for using the canticles in the 2019 Prayer Book?  Table first, brief explanations after…

Morning Prayer

  • First Canticle
    • Te Deum laudamus (page 17) on Sundays, weekdays in Christmastide, and other Holy Days
    • Magna et mirabilia (Canticle 1) on weekdays during Advent (and perhaps the first Sunday)
    • Surge illuminare (Canticle 2) on weekdays during Epiphanytide (perhaps including Epiphany Day itself)
    • Benedictus es (page 18) on weekdays during Lent (and perhaps the first Sunday)
    • Cantemus Domino (Canticle 5) on weekdays during Eastertide
    • Dignus es (Canticle 6) on weekdays from Ascension Day through Pentecost week
    • Ecce Deus (Canticle 8) on weekdays during Trinitytide
    • Benedicite (Canticle 10) on Saturdays during Trinitytide
  • Second Canticle
    • Benedictus (page 19) except when it’s in a reading for that morning
    • Jubilate (Psalm 100, taken from the invitatory option on page 15)

Evening Prayer

  • First Canticle
    • Magnificat (page 45) except when it’s in a reading for that evening
    • Cantate Domino (Canticle 7) on those couple days a year
  • Second Canticle
    • Nunc dimittis (page 46) except for the following…
    • Quaerite Dominum (Canticle 4) on Monday through Friday during Advent
    • Kyrie Pantokrator (Canticle 3) on Monday through Friday during Lent
    • Deus misereatur (Canticle 9) on Monday through Friday during Epiphanytide and Trinitytide

Explanations

Two of the three Gospel Canticles are kept stable with almost no exceptions – the Benedictus and Magnificat only get replaced when their text will be read in a lesson at same time of day.  What the 1662 book extended to the Benedictus, we also extend here to the Magnificat.  The Nunc dimittis doesn’t receive this treatment however because it is a mainstay in Compline, which is now available in our prayer book.

Speaking of Compline, its seasonal replacements only apply “Monday through Friday.”  This is because Saturday evenings are the “Eve of” a Sunday, and thus the ‘feast day’ quality of a Sunday begins to apply, hence the retention of the Nunc dimittis on Saturday nights.  Indeed in many liturgical texts of a more Roman style, Saturday evening and night are called “Sunday I” and Sunday evening and night called “Sunday II.”  We need not complicate our liturgy with such terms, but the principles are still sound.

It falls, then, to the Te Deum to receive the largest number of substitutions, rendering that Canticle primarily a feast-day role.  Most of the seasonal substitutions note that they may be used “perhaps on the first Sunday” or something to that effect; this is for the benefit of those who hold regular Sunday Morning Prayer services and wish to utilize occasional seasonal changes while still retaining the Te Deum as the primary regular first canticle.

In order to divide the ten Supplemental Canticles across the various seasonal options, it became necessary to ignore or narrow two of their rubric recommendations: Canticle 1 we appoint in Advent only and not also Easter, and Canticle 4 we appoint in Advent instead of Lent.  But because the rubrics in question are only recommendations, there is no rule violation involved here.

Readings Review – The Epiphany Special

Our usual Monday fare is going to look a little different today.  Instead of looking at the lessons of the whole weeks (past and present) we’re just going to narrow in on the feast of the Epiphany.  But first, the quick run-down…

Last week: Wisdom 9-11 Genesis 1-4, Revelation 21-22, John 1-3:21, Song of Songs 6-8, Jeremiah 1-3, Luke 23-24, Galatians 1-4

This week: Genesis 5-11, John 3:22-6:21, Jeremiah 4-10, Galatians 5-6, 1 Thess. 1-4:12

Special reading for the Epiphany on Monday morning: Matthew 2:1-12
Special reading for the Epiphany on Monday evening: John 2:1-12

As I noted last week the Epistles of St. Paul in evening prayer are being read in their estimated chronological order, so after Galatians we’re moving to 1 Thessalonians.

The Epiphany Lessons

The major highlight this week is today – January 6th, the feast of the Epiphany.  It’s one of the seven Principle Feasts listed in the 2019 Prayer Book on page 688, putting it essentially on par with Christmas and Easter (and four other holy days).  As a result, both Morning and Evening Prayer get a special reading, out of the daily sequential sequence, to mark this day.

In the morning is the obvious choice: Matthew 2:1-12, in which we read of the magi and their journey and the gifts for the young Jesus.  This is the “primary” celebration for the Epiphany.  It’s also doubling with today’s gospel lesson at the Communion, which previous daily lectionaries never really did before, but ours does due to the sad reality that very few churches hold communion services on weekday feasts anymore.

The other special reading, in Evening Prayer, is John 2:1-12, which is perhaps less obvious: the Wedding at Cana.  If you go back to the original prayer book daily lectionary you will see three major gospels featured: The adoration of the magi (at the Communion), the baptism of Jesus (in Morning Prayer), and the Wedding at Cana (in Evening Prayer).  Those are three big “epiphanies” that start off the season.  Each of these gospel stories, in their various ways, proclaim the divinity of Jesus – his reception of gifts, the testimony from God the Father, and finally the power at Jesus’ own command.  The wedding at Cana would go on to be the gospel lesson for the Communion in one of the early Sundays of the Epiphany season, and in the 20th century the baptism of Jesus began to take over the first Sunday of Epiphanytide also.  But in the modern lectionary that we have in the 2019 Prayer Book, the wedding at Cana in John 2 is no longer a mainstay gospel.  It’s read on the second Sunday in Year C, but not not Years A & B.  Therefore our lectionary makes a point of retaining this story on Epiphany Day itself to make sure it’s still part of our annual observance of Epiphanytide.