Friday, February 01, 2013

Lætetur Cor: The Introit for the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany

Lætetur Cor ("Let their hearts rejoice") is used as the Introit for "the Fourth and Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time" - which is interesting.  I'll have to look into the reasoning for this.

The text comes from Psalm (104/)105, verses 3-4, then verse 1.
Laetétur cor quaeréntium Dóminum: quaérite Dóminum, et confirmámini: quaérite fáciem ejus semper. Vs. Confitémini Dómino, et invocáte nomen ejus: annuntiáte inter gentes ópera ejus.

Let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice; seek the Lord and be strengthened; seek his face for evermore. Vs. Give thanks to the Lord and call upon his name; declare his deeds among the gentiles.
Here again is the "universal" theme of Epiphanytide:  the imperative to "declare his deeds among the gentiles," presumably those who "seek his face" to be strengthened "for evermore."

Interestingly, this Psalm is cited as a song of thanks in 1 Chronicles 16, immediately after David had brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, "dancing and celebrating":
1And they brought in the ark of God and set it inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before God. And when David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord and distributed to all Israel, both men and women, to each a loaf of bread, a portion of meat,[a] and a cake of raisins.
Then he appointed some of the Levites as ministers before the ark of the Lord, to invoke, to thank, and to praise the Lord, the God of Israel. Asaph was the chief, and second to him were Zechariah, Jeiel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattithiah, Eliab, Benaiah, Obed-edom, and Jeiel, who were to play harps and lyres; Asaph was to sound the cymbals, and Benaiah and Jahaziel the priests were to blow trumpets regularly before the ark of the covenant of God. Then on that day David first appointed that thanksgiving be sung to the Lord by Asaph and his brothers.

David's Song of Thanks

Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
    make known his deeds among the peoples!
Sing to him, sing praises to him;
    tell of all his wondrous works!
10 Glory in his holy name;
    let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!
11 Seek the Lord and his strength;
    seek his presence continually!
12 Remember the wondrous works that he has done,
    his miracles and the judgments he uttered,
13 O offspring of Israel his servant,
    children of Jacob, his chosen ones!
14 He is the Lord our God;
    his judgments are in all the earth.
15 Remember his covenant forever,
    the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations,
16 the covenant that he made with Abraham,
    his sworn promise to Isaac,
17 which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute,
    to Israel as an everlasting covenant,
18 saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan,
    as your portion for an inheritance.”
19 When you were few in number,
    of little account, and sojourners in it,
20 wandering from nation to nation,
    from one kingdom to another people,
21 he allowed no one to oppress them;
    he rebuked kings on their account,
22 saying, “Touch not my anointed ones,
    do my prophets no harm!”
23 Sing to the Lord, all the earth!
    Tell of his salvation from day to day.
24 Declare his glory among the nations,
    his marvelous works among all the peoples!
25 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
    and he is to be feared above all gods.
26 For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
    but the Lord made the heavens.
27 Splendor and majesty are before him;
    strength and joy are in his place.
28 Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!
29 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
    bring an offering and come before him!
Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;[b]
30     tremble before him, all the earth;
    yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.
31 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice,
    and let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!”
32 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
    let the field exult, and everything in it!
33 Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy
    before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth.
34 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    for his steadfast love endures forever!
35 Say also:
“Save us, O God of our salvation,
    and gather and deliver us from among the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name
    and glory in your praise.
36 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
    from everlasting to everlasting!”
Then all the people said, “Amen!” and praised the Lord.

Worship Before the Ark

37 So David left Asaph and his brothers there before the ark of the covenant of the Lord to minister regularly before the ark as each day required, 38 and also Obed-edom and his[c] sixty-eight brothers, while Obed-edom, the son of Jeduthun, and Hosah were to be gatekeepers. 39 And he left Zadok the priest and his brothers the priests before the tabernacle of the Lord in the high place that was at Gibeon 40 to offer burnt offerings to the Lord on the altar of burnt offering regularly morning and evening, to do all that is written in the Law of the Lord that he commanded Israel. 41 With them were Heman and Jeduthun and the rest of those chosen and expressly named to give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever. 42 Heman and Jeduthun had trumpets and cymbals for the music and instruments for sacred song. The sons of Jeduthun were appointed to the gate.

Here's a PDF, via CCWatershed, of the Simple English propers for today - and here's a video of the Introit:

The Gospel for today picks up where last week's ended, at Luke 4:21-30:

In the synagogue at Nazareth, Jesus read from the book of the prophet Isaiah, and began to say, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, "Is not this Joseph's son?" He said to them, "Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, 'Doctor, cure yourself!' And you will say, 'Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.'" And he said, "Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet's hometown. But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian." When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.
I never noticed that last part until recently!  Not sure exactly what's happening there;  impressive Jesus, or invisible Jesus?

The Collect for today is this one:
Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of your people, and in our time grant us your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Hatchett's Commentary says, about this Collect:
This collect is found in the Gregorian sacramentary among the daily prayers (no. 922), and in the supplement (no. 1099), as well as in previous editions of the Prayer Book, as the collect for the second Sunday after the Epiphany. The Sarum missal appoints it for the second Sunday after the octave of the Epiphany. Cranmer translated the petition "grant us thy peace all the days of our life," but this revision restores the original wording.

Remembering Hatchett's note on the collect two weeks back, that "many of the post-Epiphany collects ... [relate] to the Gospel of the day," it's interesting to note that this one doesn't appear to.  (I'm actually not sure if Hatchett was referring in that comment to all versions of the Prayer Book, or to the 1979 US Book in particular. That would be an interesting thing to look at, in fact.)

But this collect is where Neville Chamberlain picked up on "peace in our time," I'm fairly sure.

Remembering, too, the old numbering system for this season, here are some great notes about what's happening right now in the Great Church Year, from the website of St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue:
The Gesima Sundays
The purpose of the three Gesima Sundays is to provide a transition from Christmastide to Lent.

On February 2, we celebrate Candlemas, the 40th and final day of Christmas, a season of the year which overlaps with Epiphanytide (still on-going through February 12, Shrove Tuesday). Over the course of the 40 days of Christmastide, we have the naming of Christ at his circumcision (The Feast of the Holy Name, always January 1), the visit of the Magi on the Feast of the Epiphany (always January 6) after the twelve days of Christmas, and then finally the presentation of Christ in the Temple (Candlemas, always February 2). Therefore, these forty days celebrate the early life of Jesus.

But there is another forty day period to come, called Lent. Beginning with Ash Wednesday, the church calendar switches over to its paschal cycle, which is determined not by fixed calendar dates (such as December 25, January 6 and February 2), but rather by the movable date of Easter, which the First Council of Nicaea in AD 325 established as the first Sunday after the full moon (the Paschal Full Moon) following the northern hemisphere's vernal equinox. The date of Easter can fall as early as March 22 or as late as April 25. That's quite a wide range.

So, there is a period of three Sundays in late Epiphanytide which transition us from Christmas to Lent in two ways:
  1. The three Gesima Sundays transition us from one calendar to the next. Quiquagesima Sunday is always the Sunday before Ash Wednesday and is always 50 days before Easter. (Quinquagesima means “fifty days”). Working backwards, Sexagesima is two Sundays before Ash Wednesday and Septuagesima is three Sundays before Ash Wednesday. It’s true that Sexagesima and Septuagesima are not exactly 60 and 70 days before Easter, but the Church nevertheless uses these terms to warn the faithful that Lent is coming soon. Since this year Easter falls on March 31, Ash Wednesday falls 40 days before (excluding Sundays, which don’t count) which is February 13. So that means Quinquagesima is Febraury 10, Sexagesima is February 3, and Septuagesima is January 27.
  2. The three Gesima Sundays also transition our attention away from Christ’s childhood (Christmas, Epiphany, etc) and towards an understanding of the fulfillment of his mission. Candelmas (February 2) occurred forty days after his birth and, as stated earlier, ends the Christmastide season. So, look at the assigned lessons for the morning services on Sunday, February 3, which is the day after Candlemas and the second of the three Gesima Sundays, and you’ll perceive the transition happening. The lessons are Jeremiah 1:4-10, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, and Luke 4:21-30. In Jeremiah, the prophet, though just a child, is given his mission as a man. In Corinthians, we are exorted to put away our childish ways and to love one another as adults. In Luke, we hear of Jesus in his childhood hometown of Nazareth, speaking the truth and yet being rejected. His own townsfolk wanted to hold on to their understanding of him as a child. But he did not come into this world for that purpose.

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