Health and Wholeness Sending

IMG_1044In The Hymnal 1982, our entrance hymn this Sunday morning (February 8) may, indeed, be slightly difficult to locate in the book. As it is Hymn No. 1, it is actually located almost in the service music section of the hymnal. This grand 10th-century Latin text is perfect for morning worship in a season such as Epiphany. Stanza 2 contains the most vivid images: “fit us for thy mansions; banish our weakness; health and wholeness sending; bring us to heaven.” This plea to God for “health and wholeness” speaks specifically to Sunday’s Gospel reading from Mark, in which Jesus heals numerous people with various afflictions.

The departing procession hymn may be considered the hymnal’s “all-purpose Epiphany” text. The word “manifest” is the repeating element, which is a central Epiphany season theme: Jesus manifesting himself as the Son of God in the world. The text goes on to line out the events of Jesus’ earthly life and ministry, which are the Gospel lectionary readings throughout Epiphany season: his baptism in the Jordan river, the wedding miracles in Cana, the healing of the lame, the temptation in the wilderness, and finally a foreshadowing of the transfiguration, which is the Gospel lesson on the Last Sunday after the Epiphany in each lectionary cycle.

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