Fourth Sunday Before Lent

The time after Epiphany and before Lent is called Ordinary Time. This year, Ordinary Time runs from February 3 to February 28. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which falls on March 1, 2017.

During the Epiphany season, the Sundays are reckoned forward from Epiphany on January 6, so we talk about the 'first Sunday after Epiphany', the 'second Sunday after Epiphany', and so forth. After Candlemas on February 2 - the last day of the Epiphany season - the Sundays are reckoned backward from Lent. So today is called the 'fourth Sunday before Lent'. It may also be called the 'fifth Sunday after Epiphany'.

The theme of Ordinary Time is the rhythm of life anchored by the weekly Sunday gathering in the church.

Lectionary

  • Isaiah 58:1-12: 'If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.'
  • Psalm 112: 'Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.'
  • 1 Cor. 2:1-16: 'Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.'
  • Matt. 5:13-20: 'You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.'

Prayer

O God of light,
your searching Spirit reveals and illumines
your presence in creation.
Shine your radiant holiness into our lives,
that we may offer our hands and hearts to your work:
to heal and shelter,
to feed and clothe,
to break every yoke and silence evil tongues. Amen.

- Revised Common Lectionary

Reflection

"Sunday is the day of resurrection, the day of the new creation, the day of the beginning again. On the seventh day God rested from his work of creation. But on the first day God acted to re-create the world. Thus Sunday, the eighth day, brings creation and re-creation together in a very special event - Sunday worship. Thus the Sundays of ordinary time are not so ordinary - they celebrate the full story of God's action in history to save creatures and creation. This is the special nature of ordinary time. It is the day to celebrate the re-creation of the world."

- Robert E. Webber, Ancient-Future Time

Art

 'Light for Others' (ca. 1900) ( Vanderbilt Divinity Library )

'Light for Others' (ca. 1900) (Vanderbilt Divinity Library)