A Service for the Third Sunday of the Epiphany

A Service for The Third Sunday of the Epiphany, 24th January, 2021



Before beginning to read this short service, you may wish to find a space for prayer in front of a cross or a candle.  



O Lord, open our lips

and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.


By the mercies of God,

let us confess our sins and present our bodies as a living sacrifice,

holy and acceptable to him,

which is our spiritual worship.


Lord Jesus, illuminate the darkness in our hearts:

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.


Lord Jesus, open our eyes to your saving love:

Christ, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.


Lord Jesus, unstop our ears to hear your living word:

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.


May God who loved the world so much

that he sent his Son to be our Saviour

forgive us our sins

and make us holy to serve him in the world,

through Jesus Christ our Lord.



The Collect


Silence is kept.


Almighty God,

whose Son revealed in signs and miracles

the wonder of your saving presence:

renew your people with your heavenly grace,

and in all our weakness

sustain us by your mighty power;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.



The First Hymn

Christ is the King: you can access Simon’s accompaniment here:



1. Christ is the King! O friends, rejoice;
brothers and sisters, with one voice
let the world know he is your choice.
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!

2. Oh magnify the Lord, and raise
anthems of joy and holy praise
for Christ's brave saints of ancient days.
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!

3. They with a faith forever new
followed the King, and round him drew
thousands of faithful servants true.
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!

4. O Christian women, Christian men,
all the world over, seek again
the way disciples followed then.
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!

5. Christ through all ages is the same:
place the same hope in his great name,
with the same faith his word proclaim.
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!

6. Let love's unconquerable might
your scattered companies unite
in service to the Lord of light.
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!

7. So shall God's will on earth be done,
new lamps be lit, new tasks begun,
and the whole church at last be one.
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!


The First Reading:

Genesis 14:17-20

After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). And King Melchizedek of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High. He blessed him and said,
‘Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
   maker of heaven and earth;
and blessed be God Most High,
   who has delivered your enemies into your hand!’
And Abram gave him one-tenth of everything.

This is the Word of the Lord

Thanks be to God


Psalm 128


Refrain:    How abundant is your goodness, O Lord.


1    Blessed are all those who fear the Lord,  

and walk in his ways.

2    You shall eat the fruit of the toil of your hands;  

it shall go well with you, and happy shall you be. [R]

3    Your wife within your house

shall be like a fruitful vine;  

your children round your table,

like fresh olive branches.

4    Thus shall the one be blest  

who fears the Lord. [R]

5    The Lord from out of Zion bless you,  

that you may see Jerusalem in prosperity

all the days of your life.

6    May you see your children’s children,  

and may there be peace upon Israel.


Refrain:    How abundant is your goodness, O Lord.


O Christ, our true vine,

may we your branches

be ever fruitful in your service

and share your love and peace with all your children,

in the power of the Spirit and to the glory of the Father.


The Second Reading:

Revelation 19:6-10

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunder-peals, crying out,
For the Lord our God
   the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult
   and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
   and his bride has made herself ready;
to her it has been granted to be clothed
   with fine linen, bright and pure’—
for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

And the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ And he said to me, ‘These are true words of God.’ Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, ‘You must not do that! I am a fellow-servant with you and your comrades who hold the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.’

This is the Word of the Lord

Thanks be to God


The Gospel:

John 2: 1-11


Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John.

Glory to you, O Lord.

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ Now standing there were six stone water-jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, ‘Fill the jars with water.’ And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, ‘Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.’ So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, ‘Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.’ Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, O Christ.



Two characteristic words of Saint John’s Gospel occur in the last verse of today’s Gospel, relating the miracle of turning water into wine, namely “signs” and “glory”.  In the Fourth Gospel, miracles are described as “signs” and the “glory” of God is a frequent point of reference throughout the book.

So it is that the consideration of our Lord’s early days of public ministry, taking us as they do both to the desert (through the Synoptic Gospels) and to a wedding feast (in the Fourth Gospel) challenge us to consider how discipleship may be initiated and sustained.  We are aware that Jesus was about 30 years of age at this time, indicating that preparation for Jesus involved living an “ordinary” life for a long time – proportionately, a very long time, when seen against the average life expectancy of the day.  That preparation must have included a substantial concentration on the Scriptures and on prayer.  This in itself is what we might expect, but also indicates, as a point of learning for us today, that the path of part-time, patient study and training in the spiritual disciplines, rooted in prayer, whilst involved in a busy trade or other career or job, or at a time of bringing up a young family, is not only possible, but perhaps even desirable.  The principle of, “If you want a job done, ask a busy person”, is not without it evidence.  Many is the individual managing a variety of tasks all at the same time, bringing a sharpness of focus to their attention upon Christ.

Jesus was always able to cope with the unexpected challenge, holding a number of things together; teaching and travelling, yet at the same time responding to those who needed him - that he and his disciples encountered on the way. The Churches through all our current multitude of challenges are thing about “Abiding” in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in 2021.  The week runs from 18th to 25th January every year.  It is, I suppose, more correct to call it an octave, but in any case, linked to dates, it starts and finishes on a different day of the week each year.  Today we are near the end of it, but we still have the opportunity to hear the sermon given by Major Katrina Greetham of the Salvation Army in Swanage, by accessing the swanagechurches.org website, or through receiving it in printed copy from the parish office.  

Christian Unity can be a hard won conclusion to much prayer and discussion that nearly always takes place in the course of the busy life of each individual church community. Such is the diversity of devotional, liturgical and theological practice  - and outworking of mission in the world - that the Churches have much to learn from each other.  In unity we rejoice in diversity and seek to understand each other better, and discover the reasons why we do the things in the way we do. 

When we gather ecumenically we acknowledge in sorrow that division has so often weakened the witness of the Church, and claims to present the truth set over and above others is very far from the humility of he who was and is The Truth: Jesus Christ.  So the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is a week for quiet contemplation, listening, learning, reaching out in love to those who are of a different tradition to ourselves.  

Ecumenism is seeking more than respect for other Christians, it is an encouragement to experience what it is that sustains and forms us differently in Christ; it is joyful in its complete disarming of any sense that any one church is ‘better’ than another.  From the least to the greatest we are one in the worship of God, through the Son and in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit; our love lies in the happiness we hold in affirming others in their tradition, whilst we feel affirmed in our own.

John Mann


Second Hymn 

Hail to the Lord’s Anointed: 



Hail to the Lord’s anointed; 
Great David’s greater Son! 
Hail, in the time appointed, 
His reign on earth begun! 
He comes to break oppression, 
To set the captive free, 
To take away transgressions, 
And rule in equity.

He shall come down like showers 
Upon the fruitful earth: 
And love, joy, hope, like flowers, 
Spring in His path to birth: 
Before Him, on the mountains, 
Shall peace the herald go; 
And righteousness in fountains, 
From hill to valley flow.

Kings shall fall down before Him, 
And gold and incense bring; 
All nations shall adore Him, 
His praise all people sing; 
To Him shall prayer unceasing 
and daily vows ascend; 
His kingdom still increasing, 
A kingdom without end.

O’er every foe victorious, 
He on His throne shall rest; 
From age to age more glorious, 
All blessing and all-blest. 
The tide of time shall never 
His covenant remove; 
His name shall stand for ever 
His changeless name of love



In faith let us pray to God our Father,

his Son Jesus Christ,

and the Holy Spirit.


For the Church of God throughout the world,

and especially throughout our churches in Swanage and Studland

let us invoke the Spirit.

Kyrie eleison.


For the leaders of the nations,

that they may establish and defend justice and peace,

and especially at this time we pray for the new President of the USA 

and his administration.

let us pray for the wisdom of God.

Kyrie eleison.


For those who suffer oppression or violence,

let us invoke the power of the Deliverer.

Kyrie eleison.


That the churches may discover again their visible unity

in the one baptism which incorporates them in Christ,

let us pray for the love of Christ.

Kyrie eleison.


That the churches may attain communion

in the Eucharist around one table,

and even at this time of social distancing and restriction

may our unity not be impeded.

let us pray for the strength of Christ.

Kyrie eleison.


That the churches may recognise each other’s ministries

in the service of their one Lord,

let us pray for the peace of Christ.

Kyrie eleison.




Into your hands, O Lord,

we remember all who are in any kind of need;

we commend all for whom we pray,

trusting in your mercy;

through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.


The Peace

Our Saviour Christ is the Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and of peace

there shall be no end.


The Lord’s Prayer


A few moments of silence before we pray:


Almighty Father,

whose Son our Saviour Jesus Christ is the light of the world:

may your people,

illumined by your word and sacraments,

shine with the radiance of his glory,

that he may be known, worshipped, and obeyed

to the ends of the earth;

for he is alive and reigns, now and for ever.





Christ the Son of God perfect in you the image of his glory

and gladden your hearts with the good news of his kingdom;

and the blessing of God almighty,

the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

be among you and remain with you always.



Voluntary: Prelude on “East Acklam”: https://youtu.be/nZUWDX2rbPQ


Common Worship: Times and Seasons, material from which is included here,

is copyright © The Archbishops' Council 2006 and published by Church House Publishing.


If you would like to make a donation to the church in Swanage, we will be most grateful. At present this is best done by BACS of which the details are:


Nationwide Building Society

Account name: Swanage PCC

Account Number: 70585005

Sort code: 07-00-55

Please give your name as reference.