The BCP

Second Sunday after Epiphany

Author: The Revd Dr Peter Toon

Collect

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who dost govern all things in heaven and earth; Mercifully hear the supplications of thy people, and grant us thy peace all the days of our life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Collect Commentary

In addressing, God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible, the Church recalls that not only is this Lord God the Creator of all that is, but he is also the sovereign ruler of all that is. He governs all things in his providence and does so in such a way as to allow for the exercise of the wills of human beings, even when they rebel against his law.

Since the Lord our God does actually rule and guide all things at all times in all places, then he can hear the petitions, prayers and supplications of his people wherever they be within his created order, and whatever language they speak. So it is most appropriate for the Church to ask him in his great mercy and compassion to hear the prayers of his people, whether they are private or public, uttered or unexpressed.

One supplication that Christians make daily (see the Second Collect for Morning & Evening Prayer) is for the peace of God, the peace that is experienced deep in the soul and that passes understanding, remaining there in trial and tribulation. Christians need God's peace not one day or one week, but all the days of their life on this earth, where they are pilgrims and sojourners, labourers and ambassadors, servants and soldiers for the kingdom of heaven. Further, they hope for peace on earth and good will towards men, as the angels sang.

And all prayer, private and public, arises to the Father Almighty by one route, through his Son our Lord Jesus Christ, the only Mediator between God and man, and by the energising presence and power of the Holy Ghost, who dwells in the souls of true believers.

The Epistle reminds the congregation of the spiritual gifts given unto it from the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit. They are to be used to manifest and make known Jesus, his Gospel and his way of life.

The Gospel continues the great theme of Epiphany, the Manifestation of Jesus as the Messiah, Saviour and Son of the Father. By the miracle of the turning of water into wine, Jesus performs a sign which points to his real and true identity. He shows himself to be - in the words of the dogma of the Church - One Person made known in two Natures, divine and human. Jesus is obviously a person to whom Mary speaks and whom Mary knows well, her Son. Yet the miracle reveals that he is a complex Person, more than Man while also being Man. He reveals the Father.

The Manifestation of the identity of Jesus at the first miracle in Cana of Galilee is linked in Christian celebration with his Manifestation when visited by the Magi and when he was baptized by John in the Jordan. On all three occasions his true identity was made known and manifested in Epiphany.

 

Epistle Romans 12:6-16

HAVING then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering; or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil, cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love, in honour preferring one another: not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you; bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate.

 

Gospel John 2:1-11

AND the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. And there were set there six water-pots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the water-pots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was, (but the servants which drew the water knew,) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, and saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine, and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory, and his disciples believed on him.