Today is the first day of “Ordinary Time” that will take us to Lent. The colour you will see on the altar and on any church hangings will be green. But remember, “ordinary” in churchland is not the same as what we call ordinary. “Ordinary Time” means “numbered” or “ordered”, coming from the Latin term ordinalis, which refers to numbers in a series. It stems from the Latin word ordo, from which we get the English word order. So, the Sundays in “Ordinary Time” are numbered after an important Sunday that has just passed – Sundays after the Epiphany for now and Sundays after Pentecost later in the year. It is the use of the word “after” that tells you they aren’t a part of the other seasons of the church (Christmas and Easter; and their times of preparation – Advent and Lent).
Ordinary time is when we hear the teachings of Jesus as he lived his mission among us and, with this as our guide, it is our time to renew our focus on the mission of the Church under his Lordship. In particular, during this time from The Baptism of the Lord until the last Sunday before Lent, we will be hearing the stories of those who encountered Jesus, caught his passion for God’s righteousness, and made the decision to follow him.
Important Upcoming Events: (in true Anglican style, they all involve food!)
Men’s Breakfast: This Saturday, January 14th beginning at 8:30am, at The Trinity Centre – the first one in the newly renovated Trinity Centre! Come and enjoy a hearty breakfast and good conversation.
Christ Church Fundraising Dinner: Friday, January 20th. $25 for a roast beef dinner. Contact Bonnie Lyons for more info: 705-779-2858 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Robbie Burns Supper: Just $20 for a hearty Scottish meal including dessert, coffee, tea, punch, and a live piper piping in the haggis! (non-disgusting haggis, I may add). Wednesday, January 25, St. George’s in Echo Bay. Doors open at 6pm; dinner at 6:30pm. Contact me for tickets.
I guess I already did a Liturgical Note for you at the beginning of the email but here is a short note on a couple of the colours we use during our worship services since we have changed to green. We can turn to the icons of the Orthodox church to discover what is considered to be pretty close to the “original” significance of these colours – meanings with which the Anglican Church is closely aligned. Icons have been around for very nearly as long as Christianity itself. Here is the information on the colours you will see this week:
Green: Green is the color of natural, living things. It is the color of grass and leaves, youth, flowering, hope, and eternal renovation. Ancient iconographers often painted the earth green to denote where life began – such as in scenes of the Annunciation and the Nativity. This is a very appropriate colour during this chunk of Ordinary Time as we hear the stories of those beginning a new life in Christ.
Red (on the day marking The Holy Innocents): This is the color of heat, passion, love, life and life-giving energy, and for this very reason red became the symbol of the resurrection – the victory of life over death. The Anglican Church also associates red with the Holy Spirit as “the Lord, the giver of life.” But at the same time it is the color of blood and torments, and the color of Christ’s sacrifice. Martyrs (like Stephen) are depicted in red clothing on icons.
White (on the memorial of Hilary): White is the symbol of the heavenly realm and God’s divine light. This is the color of cleanliness, holiness and simplicity. On icons and frescoes, saints and righteous people are usually depicted clothed in white as righteous ones – people who were good, honest, and lived by “the Truth.” In the same manner, white was used in the swaddling bands of babies, the shrouds of the dead and the robes of angels. Only righteous souls were depicted as wearing white. For these reasons, white is the colour used for baptismal robes. Among other significances, we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ at our baptism. White is also the colour used at funerals, connecting this to our baptism and the victory we gained in Christ through the baptismal mystery.
For Your Devotions:
Tuesday, January 10th is the commemoration of William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, who died in 1645. Laud, religious advisor to Charles I, was both brilliant and austere. He wasn’t well liked – even by those who agreed with him, but much of the way our church looks and functions is thanks to Laud’s innovations and adherence to the regulations of the church. For example, it was Laud who introduced altar rails. Why? you may ask. Because the local dogs were wandering into the church and, well, um, you know. Also, clerics were using the Holy Table as a desk when it wasn’t in use for Holy Eucharist. Love him or hate him, Laud truly loved God and the Church. He was eventually beheaded during the Civil War…his persecution of the Puritans came back to bite him. For more: https://www.britannica.com/biography/William-Laud
Wednesday, January 11th is the Holy Day of The Holy Innocents. You may have celebrated this already on December 28th since this is the alternate date. Regardless, here is the low-down once again…
This is the remembrance of the innocent children slaughtered in Bethlehem on the order of King Herod the Great in his attempt to kill Jesus. This feast most likely originally shared the day of The Epiphany but eventually was designated its own day of observance. It was a day of fasting and mourning. In fact, in medieval England, children were reminded of the solemnity of the day by being whipped in bed. What a way to start your day! For more info: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Feast-of-the-Holy-Innocents
Thursday, January 12th is the commemoration of Marguerite Bourgeoys, Educator in New France, who died in 1700. It is also the commemoration of John Horden, Bishop of Moosonee, a missionary who died in 1893. Marguerite is a nun who sailed to Canada and is best known for two things – she opened schools for girls (French, Canadian, and Indigenous) and she refused to cloister her “sisters” (the young ladies helping her). This caused quite a kerfluffel – the bishop at the time would not allow them to take vows – but Marguerite pointed out that the Virgin Mary had remained secular. To read more: http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/saints/ns_lit_doc_19821031_bourgeoys_en.html
John Horden and his fiancée volunteered for the Church Missionary Society in England. In 1851, John received a letter from the Society appointing him as school master at Moose Factory, Ontario, with the stipulation that he be married (It was quite convenient then that he already had a fiancée). John learned several Indigenous languages and, for 40 years, preached and taught in the area in and around Moose Factory, building five Anglican Churches to help in his efforts. In December of 1872, he became the first Anglican Bishop of Moosonee. To read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Horden
Friday, January 13th is the memorial of Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, who died in 367. Hilary started life as a pagan but, through reading the Scriptures, was converted to Christianity. He was married by this point but was elected as bishop anyway. Hilary defended the Church against the heresy of Arianism – which actually was winning out over orthodoxy for a while. Arianism is the belief that Jesus was begotten by God the Father at a point in time, a creature distinct from the Father and therefore subordinate to him, although also a God. It was a bumpy road defending the faith…To read more: https://catholicexchange.com/st-hilary-of-poitiers