Service for the Epiphany

The Adoration of the Magi

The Adoration of the Magi


A Service for The Epiphany, Celebrated on 3rd January, 2021

 

Preparation:

Before beginning to read this short service, you may wish to find a space for prayer in front of a cross, a candle, or a special place such as a crib today.  

 

O Lord, open our lips

and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

 

May Christ, the true, the only light

banish all darkness from our hearts and minds.

 

God be gracious to us and bless us,

and make your face shine upon us:

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

 

May your ways be known on the earth,

your saving power among the nations:

Christ, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

 

You, Lord, have made known your salvation,

and reveal your justice in the sight of the nations:

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.

Amen.

 

The Collect

 

Silence is kept.

 

O God,

who by the leading of a star

manifested your only Son to the peoples of the earth:

mercifully grant that we,

who know you now by faith,

may at last behold your glory face to face;

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.

Amen.

 

 

The First Hymn

O Worship the Lord in the Beauty of Holiness  please access Simon’s accompaniment here: 

 https://youtu.be/vZMzVfIahNA

 

1 O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness,
bow down before him, his glory proclaim;
with gold of obedience and incense of lowliness,
kneel and adore him: the Lord is his name.

2 Low at his feet lay thy burden of carefulness,
high on his heart he will bear it for thee,
comfort thy sorrows and answer thy prayerfulness,
guiding thy steps as may best for thee be.

3 Fear not to enter his courts in the slenderness
of the poor wealth thou wouldst reckon as thine;
truth in its beauty, and love in its tenderness,
these are the offerings to lay on his shrine.

4 These, though we bring them in trembling and fearfulness,
he will accept for the name that is dear;
mornings of joy give for evenings of tearfulness,
trust for our trembling and hope for our fear.

5 O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness,
bow down before him, his glory proclaim;
with gold of obedience and incense of lowliness,
kneel and adore him the Lord is his name.

 

 

The First Reading:

Isaiah 60: 1-6

 

Psalm 72: 10-15

 

10  The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall pay tribute;  

the kings of Sheba and Seba shall bring gifts.

11  All kings shall fall down before him;  

all nations shall do him service.

12  For he shall deliver the poor that cry out,  

the needy and those who have no helper.

13  He shall have pity on the weak and poor;  

he shall preserve the lives of the needy.

14  He shall redeem their lives from oppression and violence,  

and dear shall their blood be in his sight.

15  Long may he live;

    unto him may be given gold from Sheba;  

may prayer be made for him continually

    and may they bless him all the day long.

 

 

The Second Reading:

Ephesians 3: 1-12

 

Alleluia, alleluia.

Christ was revealed in flesh, proclaimed among the nations

and believed in throughout the world.

 

The Gospel:

Matthew 2: 1-12

 

Homily

In many of the traditional Christmas Carols, the Son of God is described as having “come down”, stooping low, descending – thus to come from highest bliss, down to such a world as this”.  The impression that we are expected to be left with is one of humility and lowliness, but that Christ arrived at that state from highest heaven.  This is, of course, using the imagery of the three-fold universe, with heaven above us and hell below us; though we no longer use this description of the universe physically and technically, it continues to hold a picture that is both easy to understand, and reflects the actual truth – albeit in an old-fashioned way.  The idea of God stooping low to bless us, of Christ coming down from a lofty throne to share our life and die for us are images that we find to be remarkably meaningful, even though they reflect an outdated picture of the universe.  Power we associate with height, weakness with the ground, kneeling, bowing, prostrating; we cannot defend ourselves adequately while lying on the ground, we are at the mercy of someone standing over us.

Today as the wise men approach the infant Jesus, it is noteworthy to remind ourselves, that these men knelt, and paid the Christ-Child homage.  They did not just come in and standing in the stable, talk to Mary and Joseph, and say, and by the way we have some presents for the baby, we know that he is to be a great king.  This is not an act of kindness, or generosity, or even the gift of a well-wisher, these are the gifts of someone paying homage – here we see grown men kneel.  Nor is it a little bow, this is prostration, adoration, homage.

They were honest open men too; honest with Herod, thus exposing the one they had come to see to danger.  The whole situation ends in turmoil, as the wise men find a different route home, Mary, Joseph and Jesus, flee to Egypt, and Herod attempts to destroy this threat to his kingdom.  But the story continues as a parable to its end; the teaching of the parable being that the light of Christ will not be hidden.  It is the message of the Epiphany too, that what is revealed to the wise men has changed for ever power and authority on earth, they saw it, were prostrate and worshiped, for Christ was more than a baby in a stable, but showed forth the love and humility of God for all time and for all peoples.  The Epiphany, is a reminder to us today that things are not always what they seem, and that in the eyes of faith and wonder and wisdom and love, even in deepest darkness a light is shining; for Christ is unchanging, and God is unchanging, and our eternal hope lies where it did for the wise men, in what is true and eternal and wonderful, even the person of Christ himself, who for our sakes became poor so that we, through his poverty, might become rich.    

John Mann

 

Second Hymn 

Earth has many a noble city: 

https://youtu.be/xfJebF28D2g

 

1 Earth has many a noble city;
Bethl'hem, thou dost all excel:
out of thee the Lord from heaven
came to rule his Israel.

2 Fairer than the sun at morning 
was the star that told his birth,
to the world its God announcing
seen in fleshly form on earth.

3 Eastern sages at his cradle
make oblations rich and rare;
see them give in deep devotion,
gold and frankincense and myrrh.

4 Sacred gifts of mystic meaning:
incense doth their God disclose,
gold the King of kings proclaimeth,
myrrh his sepulchre foreshows.

5 Jesu, whom the Gentiles worshipped
at thy glad Epiphany,
unto thee with God the Father
and the Spirit glory be. 

 

Prayers 

 

Let us worship the Saviour with joy

and make our prayer to our heavenly Father.

 

The magi came from the east to worship your Son:

Father, grant to Christians everywhere

the spirit of adoration as we seek your face and worship in reverence and awe.

Lord of glory,

hear our prayer.

 

The infant Christ received gifts of gold, incense and myrrh:

Father, accept the offering of our hearts and minds

at the beginning of this year 2021

Lord of glory,

hear our prayer.

 

The kingdoms of this world have become

the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ:

Father, grant an abundance of peace to your world and an end to the worldwide pandemic this year.

Lord of glory,

hear our prayer.

 

The Holy Family lived in exile and in the shadow of death:

Father, look in mercy on all who are poor and powerless,

and all who suffer wherever they may be.

Lord of glory,

hear our prayer.

 

Your Son shared the life of his home and family at Nazareth:

Father, protect in your love our neighbours,

our families wherever they live and work,

and this community of which we are a part here in Swanage and Studland

Lord of glory,

hear our prayer.

 

Father, we rejoice in our fellowship

with the shepherds, the angels, the magi,

the Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph

and all the faithful departed.

In your unfailing love for us and for all people,

hear and answer our prayers through your Son,

our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Amen.

 

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:

 

Lord God,

the bright splendour whom the nations seek:

may we who with the wise men have been drawn by your light

discern the glory of your presence in your Son,

the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen

 

Conclusion

 

Christ our Lord,

to whom kings bowed down in worship and offered gifts,

reveal to us his glory

and pour upon us the riches of his grace;

and the blessing of God Almighty,

the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,

be amongst us and remain with us

this Epiphanytide and for evermore

Amen.

 

Cantilena - James Biery: https://youtu.be/GH9lYbu_33M

 

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

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

 

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