Epiphany (January 2)

Lectionary Texts

Epiphany means “revealing.” The magi represent people of other nations and religions—in other words, the world. When they visit Jesus he is revealed to the world. The Epiphany season begins with the light of the star and ends with the Transfiguration: Jesus on the mountain shining with light.

In Isaiah 60.1-6 God promises that the chosen people will be rescued from exile, that they will be honored and given gifts, and that the light of God will shine in them so that they are a light to other people as well.

Psalm 72 is a prayer for a newly enthroned king, that he will rule with justice—that is, compassion for the poor and the oppressed.

In Ephesians 3.1-12 Paul says that the “mystery of Christ” has been revealed to him, to the church, and through us to the whole world.

Matthew 2. 1-12 tells of the visit of Magi to the young Jesus.

Call to Worship

1. from Isaiah 60.1-6
Leader: Arise, shine; for your light has come,
and the glory of God has risen upon you.
All: For darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but God will arise upon you,
and God’s glory will appear over you.
Nations shall come to our light,
and leaders to the brightness of our dawn.

Then you shall see and be radiant;
your heart shall thrill and rejoice,
Rulers shall bring gold and frankincense,
and shall proclaim the praise of God.


2.
Leader: God of grace, the light of your star shines upon us.
     All: You are the light that guides us.
Beloved Christ, the light of your presence shines among us.
     You are the love we seek.
Holy Spirit, light of your grace shines within us.
     You are the treasure we offer.
We thank you, and we worship you.
     We have to come to honor you and to offer you our gifts,
     that being enlightened by your Word,
     we shall go onward by a new way.

3.
Leader: Star of God, you bless us with your beauty.
All: Light of Christ, you draw us near to God.
Star of wisdom, guide us with your grace.
Light of God, lead us by your love.
We worship you with humble, open hearts.


4.
Leader: God of Mystery, your light has led us to you.
     All: All through our days your Word has shone; your star has lit the way.
You have accompanied us, guided us, and guarded us.
       We have come through miles and years to this place, this moment.
We have come to praise you, to honor you, to worship you.
     We thank you for your grace. We wonder at your presence.
And we are still learning to seek your presence and to follow your light.
     We are still asking, “Where is the child?”
     Help us to search, and help us to find.
God, we praise you for the One who shepherds your people.
     Alleluia! We worship you with thanksgiving and praise.

5.
Leader: God of Creation, your light shines in the stars.
     All: May your light lead us to life.
Your light shines in the heart of those who wander in search of you.
     May your light lead us to wonder.
Your light shines in the Christ child, revealed as the light of the world.
     May your light lead us to love.
Holy Spirit, light of God, shine in us, that we may be light for the world.
     Alleluia! Come, Spirit of Life, and transform us by your grace. Alleluia!

6.
Leader: Christmas star, shining in the darkness, you led magi to the Christ child.
Light of Christ, chase away all darkness, illumine our path,
and lead us to the heart of God.
Morning sun, rising on a new year, you grant us new life.
Light of God, forgive our sin and set us free from all that has bound us;
grant that we may begin anew in this new year with grace and blessing.
Spirit of life, gleaming in our eyes, you make us your beautiful children.
Holy Spirit, transform us by your grace,
that we may shine with the light of your love,
     for the sake of the blessing of all Creation. Amen.

Collect / Prayer of the Day

1.
God of light, your glory shines throughout the world; help us to see it, and in it to seek you. The star of your guidance leads us; help us to discern wisely and to follow. The gifts you give us gleam in our hands and our hearts; grant us courage and generosity to give them. God of light, shine for us and in us. Speak your Word, and we will listen, and follow. Amen.

2.
God of love, as the star led the magi to the Christ child, so lead us by your Word to the light of your love. Show us your way; lead us in the path of peace and mercy. Fill us with the light of your Word, that we may be light for those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death. Amen.

3.
Light of God, your loveliness beckons us and we journey toward you. The way is long and hard, but the beauty of your light draws us on. Bring us always closer to Christ. Shine upon us, reveal your truth to us, and lead us in the ways of goodness and peace. Amen.

4.
God of Mystery, God of Revealing: as the magi searched diligently for the Christ child, may we also continually seek your presence. As the light of the star led the magi, we pray that the light of love will lead us always. May the light of your Word shine upon us now and lead us nearer to you. Amen.

5.
O God, in the magi’s visit to the Christ child you revealed yourself to the nations. We come to honor you and to give our gifts. Speak to us and reveal yourself to us, that we may go from this place by a new way. Amen.

Prayer of Confession

Trusting in God’s tender mercy, we confess our sin to God with one another.
God, we wish to see ourselves clearly with the eyes of love.
We recall those times we have followed the light of your grace and moved closer to you, and we give thanks.
[Silent reflection…]
We recall those times when we have followed false stars of ego, fear, or attachments, and have wandered away from you; and we ask your forgiveness.
[Silent reflection…]
In Christ we trust your grace.
Forgive us, heal us, and renew your Spirit in us,
that we may faithfully follow the light of your love.
Dearly Beloved, know that all your sins are forgiven entirely;
and we are set free to live by the Spirit each moment
in the light and grace of God. Alleluia.



Response / Creed / Affirmation

1.
      We trust in God, Creator of all that is, whose light guides us and whose grace extends to all people of the world.
      We follow Jesus, the Christ of God, Light of the world, who is the ruler of our hearts, before whom we bow in adoration and reverence, to whom we offer the gifts of our hands and hearts. Jesus loved people and healed them, and taught the way of true wisdom. Though many would make him king, he was not a ruler of a nation but the Prince of Peace. Earthly kings were threatened by him, and crucified him, but he was raised from the dead, sovereign even over life itself.
     We live by the Holy Spirit, whose light is a star that guides us, whose grace gives us gifts to offer the world, whose companionship makes us one with peoples of all nations, tribes and traditions. In the power of that Spirit we devote ourselves to love and justice, for the sake of Christ, the sovereign of our hearts.

2.
God of love, we offer you our gold:
all that we value, all we posses or cling to:
may it be yours, and for your purposes only.
We offer you our frankincense:
our prayers now and in every moment of our lives,
that we may live in grateful trust,
in reverent joy, and in faithful love.
We offer you our myrrh:
knowing we are mortal, we give you these short lives
to spend as you would have us spend them.
We offer to you our dying,
that our living may be holy and beautiful.
These things we offer in the light of your grace
and the delight of your loving Christ. Amen.


Listening Prayer

(suitable as a Collect, preparation for hearing scriptures, or invitation to prayer)
On bended knee we come,
humbly offering the gift
of ourselves.
In the light of your grace
we see the treasure of the gifts within,
and we who give
are those who receive.

Eucharistic Prayer

(Musical invitations to communion for Epiphany are included in Advent Table Songs on the music page. See also Advent Eucharistic Responses for musical Sanctus, Memorial Acclamation and Amen appropriate for this day.)

The main body of the prayer may be read either responsively by pastor and congregation or just by the presider(s).

1.
Beloved, God is with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to God.
Let us give thanks to the Faithful One, our God.
It is good to give God thanks and praise.
Loving God, Creator of all, we give you thanks.
The light of your love is the star by which we find our way.
All people are the work of your hands and the love of your heart.
You call us your children, set us free from what imprisons us,
and make us one in your grace.

And so we offer you gifts, together with people of every race and nation,
kneeling in reverence, and singing your praise with one voice:
      [Sanctus]

Blessed are all who come in your name, and blessed in Jesus, your Christ,
who shone with your light, who taught and healed and blessed us.
Jesus, Prince of Peace, proclaimed an Empire of Grace
not subject to the powers or rulers of this world,
and included in its sovereignty all people of every tribe and tradition.

In this meal we are one with Christ, and one with all peoples.
      [Blessing and Covenant]*

Therefore, remembering Christ’s gifts for us
we kneel and open the treasure chests of our hearts,
offering ourselves as a living and holy sacrifice,
proclaiming the mystery at the heart of our faith:
      [Memorial Acclamation]

Pour out your Holy Spirit on these gifts of bread and cup,
that they may be for us the body and blood of Christ.
Pour out your Holy Spirit on us,
that we may be for the world the Body of Christ,
one in your love, and one in love for the world.

By your grace may our every step be a journey toward you;
may we in every moment kneel in reverence;
may we continually offer the gifts your Spirit bestows,
for the sake of love and justice, and for the sake of your delight.

     [Amen]

______

2.
Beloved, God is with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to God.
Let us give thanks to the Holy One, our God.
It is good to give God thanks and praise.

God of light, you blessed the darkness with Creation.
You fashioned us in the light of your love.
In the night of our bondage
you broke the power of oppression and set us free,
leading your children by a pillar of light.

You call us always to follow your light,
even the faintest star of love and justice and mercy.
Therefore with those who come from afar to honor you,
and with all Creation, we sing your praise.
     [Sanctus]
Blessed are all who come in your name,
and blessed is Jesus, your Christ, light of the world.
He loved and healed, and showed to many your light shining in them.
He showed us the light of love
and taught us to forsake all that glitters and follow that light alone.
        [The Blessing and Covenant…] *


     [Memorial Acclamation]
Pour out your Holy Spirit on these gifts of bread and cup,
that they may be for us the body and blood of Christ.
Pour out your Holy Spirit on us,
that we may be for the world the Body of Christ,
the light of love shining in the darkness,
your glory revealed to the nations.
     [
Amen.]

_____

3.
God is with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift our hearts to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is good to give our thanks and praise.

Blessed are you, O God, Creator of all things,
and ruler of all that is to come.
In the beginning was your Word, which is the light of life,
Through which you have made all things.
You set us free from what entangles us, and forgive us when we go astray.
Though we turn from your light, still you shine upon us and within us,
and lead us to seek your presence, guided by the light of wonder.
Star of love, you shine, even in the darkest night.
Therefore, in company with those who bring you gold,
we honor you with our obedience and our praise:

(Sanctus)

Blessed are all who come in your name,
and blessed is Jesus, your Christ.
Child of Mary, Light of the World and Prince of Peace,
whose love makes all peoples one.
He has brought us the light of hope and healing,
and embodied your Covenant to be with us in love and blessing.
      (… The Blessing and Covenant…)*

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it:
though he was crucified you raised Christ from death;
Therefore in company with those who bring you myrrh
we offer you our life unto death,
as we proclaim the mystery of our faith.
     (Memorial Acclamation)

Pour out your Holy Spirit on these gifts of bread and cup,
that they may be for us the body and blood of Christ.
Pour out your Holy Spirit on us,
that we may be for the world the Body of Christ.
IN company with those who bring you frankincense
we offer you our prayerful lives, that in everything
we may be the light of love shining in the darkness,
your glory revealed to the nations.
     [
Amen.]
______
* Blessing and Covenant (“Words of Institution”)
I usually do not print the words: I want folks to look at the bread, not the bulletin.)

On the night in which he gave himself for us
Jesus took bread, blessed it,. broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying,
“Take and eat; this is my body.”
In the same way, after the supper he took the cup,
blessed it with thanks and gave it to them, saying,
“Drink of this, all of you. This is my blood,
poured out for you and for many, in a new Covenant,
which is the forgiveness of sin.”
As long as we break this bread and share this cup
we remember his death and resurrection, until he comes again.

Prayer of Dedication / Sending / after Communion

God of love, you feed us for the journey.
The star of your grace shines on us, and guides our way.
We bear the gifts of your Spirit into this world,
knowing that whoever receives them is the Christ child.
Guide us, guard us, and lead us in the ways of peace,
to bring light to those who dwell in darkness,
in the name and the company of Jesus. Amen.

Suggested Songs

(Click on titles to view, and hear an audio clip, on the Music page)

Advent Blessing Song (includes four songs to familiar tunes)
Sample:
Tune : Away in a Manger

My friends, may the star over Bethlehem’s skies
now give you God’s peace, make you gentle and wise,
and lead you, as though by a light from above:
the light of dear Christ in you, shining with love.


Guiding Star (Tune: Of the Father’s Love Begotten)

Christ we search for you with longing, but we need not travel far.
In the darkness shines a mystery; in the night a radiant star.
For your love appears before us, gleaming right where we are,
evermore and evermore.

So we bring our gifts to honor you, and we come on bended knee,
offering our hearts and living, that to you the glory be.
May your light adorn and guide us, now and in eternity,
evermore and evermore.

Christ, you are the star that guides us; your love is the way we know.
Keep us faithful in our seeking; may we take the path you show.
May the light of your love shine in us, here and everywhere we go,
evermore and evermore. Amen.


Light for the World (original song: a dialogue between soloist and congregation.
Sing one or two verses per week through the Epiphany season;
verses reflect lectionary text especially in Year A [2023].)

Love, may we live by your light.
Let us be light for the world.

Magi who followed the light of your star offered their gifts to your glory.
May we shine brightly wherever we are. Our love will tell your story.

You are my servant in whom I delight, a light unto the nations.
Shine for the ones who dwell in the dark, with comfort and justice.

When you belong to God you are light, no longer held in the dark night.
Live what is loving and true, my friends, as children of light.

God said, “Let light shine out of the dark,” and shines with that glory in Jesus.
And when we turn our faces to Christ, God shines in our own heart.

When you belong to God you are light, no longer held in the dark night.
Live what is loving and true, my friends, as children of light.

You are the light, the light of the world. Let God’s light shine in you.
Let your light shine so that others may see, and glorify God.

Jesus, the light of your love shines warm in the dark of our suffering and struggles.
Fill us, we pray, with the light of your grace, that we may shine for others.

Those who do justice are light in the dark, light for the wandering, the poor.
Those who are generous shall not be moved, forever more.

“This is the fast that I choose,” says our God, “to loosen the bonds of injustice.
For then your light shall break forth like the dawn, rising in the darkness.”

Christ, you appeared on the mountain top, shining with radiant glory.
You are God’s Son, the light of the world, and we will tell your story.