Two faces of January — reflecting backward, looking forward, Aotearoa and Canada

Janus two face

Some see this as the beginning of an Epiphany season, a season of revelation, others as the beginning of Ordinary time, a settling in to the changed life of small awarenesses. And the month itself carries this strange name “January” with the focus of looking both forward and backward. 

You will have to decide for yourself in the two pieces that follow what is of Epiphany and what of Ordinary Time, which guides you into reflecting on that which has gone before and which gives you a perspective into the future.

Lynne Frith of Aotearoa / New Zealand shares this with us, “Here’s a poem I wrote a year or two back for Epiphany. I’d been traveling somewhere at the time, and had been reflecting on the various ways in which a clergyperson could be described in filling out ‘Occupation’ on travel/immigration forms.”

For the record

I am an astronomer,
not a wise man
or a king.

I am a student of the heavens,
not an exotic traveller,
or a magician.

I observe changes in the universe.
I notice what goes on around me.
I marvel at the sighting of a new star.

I am an astronomer,
not a politician,
or the envoy of a despot.

I am a scientist,
a seeker after knowledge
and truth.

I am a tourist,
a curious traveller
moved to tenderness at the sight of a newborn baby.

Richard Bott of western Canada is committed this year to writing weekly lectionary based liturgy two week ahead of the texts. This, then, is looking forward! What follows are resources for the second Sunday in the Epiphany season or second Sunday in Ordinary Time, January 20. The scripture readings are Isaiah 62: 1-5, 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 and John 2: 1-11. You can follow his liturgical gifts which he offers under the Creative Commons license going to

Call to Gather

O: I know God is Calling.
I hear it. I feel it.
But I’m not ready!
A: You’re not ready?
O: I’ve got so much living to do.
So many people to see.
So many places to go.
A: How do you know that isn’t your Call:
to live, to see, to go?

O: Maybe.
But I’m just not ready!
A: Neither was Jesus.
O: What?!
A: Jesus didn’t think he was ready, either.
His mom had to give him a nudge.

O: His mom?
A: His mom!
Sometimes we’re more ready
than we know.
So – listen to your mom.
Listen to us.
Live. See. Go.
Be with Christ!

O: Now?
A: Now!
For as much as we can,
we’ll be with you.
We’ll be together
as we worship God!

Prayer of Approach

A: For all your goodness, God,
we give you thanks.
For the signs and symbols,
for the moments,
asked and unasked,
for the relationships,
that remind us of your love
we give you thanks.
For all that we have,
for all that we are,
for all that we might become,
we give you thanks!
Even when we aren’t quite ready.
Even when we aren’t quite sure.
Even when we aren’t quite here.
We give you thanks,
loving God!
In Jesus’ name.
In the Spirit’s laughter.
In the Creator’s joy.
Let it be!

Words before scripture:

O: Let us go to the wedding, let us sit at the feast, let us celebrate the love – let us taste of the wine that fills our souls. Listen for God’s words in these words…

Words before reflection on scripture (based on 1 Cor. 12)

O: May the words of our mouths,
may the thoughts of our minds,
may the actions of our hearts,
be filled with the gifts of your Spirit.
That “utterance of wisdom,
utterance of knowledge,
faith, healing and prophecy”
would be spoken this day. Amen.

Words before the Offering:

O: Whether it be
“a superb vintage” or “vin ordinare,”
whether it be
“dollars and cents” or “time” or “talent,”
whether it be
“the most” or “the least” –
let it be our best
that we give to God!
A: Every moment.
Every day.
Every breath.
Let it be our best
that we give to God!

Commissioning and Benediction:

O: We’ve come to the table.
A: We’ve gathered at the feast.
O: We’ve been with the family.
A: We’ve celebrated the love.
O: So now it’s time to go…
A: With the smile of joy on our lips,
with the wine of hope in our mouths,
with the bread of life, filling our souls!

O: So now it’s time to go…
A: to share the joy,
the hope,
the life.
O: And the peace of Christ goes with us.
The love of the Creator fills us.
The dance of the Holy Spirit
carries us.
A: Where we are called.
O: And beyond!
A: Alleluia, amen!

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