Epiphany in Austria in 2021 | Office Holidays

OPENING SENTENCE OF SCRIPTURE –
Kings bow down before him; all the nations do him service.

HYMN

GREETING

Grace and peace to you from God our Father

and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

COLLECT FOR PURITY

Almighty God,

to whom all hearts are open,

all desires known,

and from whom no secrets are hidden:

cleanse the thoughts of our hearts

by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,

that we may perfectly love you,

and worthily magnify your holy name;

through Christ our Lord. Amen.

SUMMARY OF THE LAW

Our Lord Jesus Christ said: The first commandment is this:

Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.” The second is this: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these. Amen. Lord, have mercy.

Description: Description: Description: Confession under section 67 NDPS Act to be admitted or not, yet to ...

CONFESSION AND ABSOLUTION

God is love and we are God’s children. There is no room for fear in love. We love because God loved us first.

Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith.

SILENCE

God our Father,

we confess to you

and to our fellow members in the Body of Christ

that we have sinned in thought, word and deed,

and in what we have failed to do.

We are truly sorry.

Forgive us our sins,

and deliver us from the power of evil,

for the sake of your Son who died for us, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

ABSOLUTION

God, who is both power and love,

forgive you and free you from your sins,

heal and strengthen you by the Holy Spirit,

and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.

GLORIA
sung by Dougie Byers

COLLECT for the Epiphany

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 our Lord. Amen.

READING:
ISAIAH 60: 1-6 read by Kay Solaja

 1 “Arise, shine, for your light has come,
       and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.

 2 See, darkness covers the earth
       and thick darkness is over the peoples,
       but the LORD rises upon you
       and his glory appears over you.

 3 Nations will come to your light,
       and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

Epiphany Worship Resources

 4 “Lift up your eyes and look about you:
       All assemble and come to you;
       your sons come from afar,
       and your daughters are carried on the arm.

 5 Then you will look and be radiant,
       your heart will throb and swell with joy;
       the wealth on the seas will be brought to you,
       to you the riches of the nations will come.

 6 Herds of camels will cover your land,
       young camels of Midian and Ephah.
       And all from Sheba will come,
       bearing gold and incense
       and proclaiming the praise of the LORD.

READING
EPHESIANS 3: 1-12 read by Kay Solaja

Paul the Preacher to the Gentiles

For this reason, I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles— Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets.

Epiphany Sunday - Ephesians 3:1-12

This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

GRADUAL HYMN

GOSPEL READING
MATTHEW 2: 1-12 read by Reverend Chris Wren

Hear the Holy Gospel of Christ according to St Matthew chapter 2 beginning at verse 1

Glory to Christ our Saviour

Week 2 – Matthew 2:1-12 Wise Worship Time – REVBAW.COM
The Visit of the Magi

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: ” ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.”

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.

Gold Frankincense and Myrrh Allegory - Esoteric Meanings

When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

This is the Gospel of Christ

Praise to Christ our Lord.

SERMON

The Wise Men (Magi) and the Christmas Star of Bethlehem (Matthew 2:1-12) --  Christmas Incarnation

My sister phoned me before Christmas a few years ago and asked if I wouldn’t mind going on an adventure with her and her children for a few days! Not knowing what kind of adventure was looming before me I tentatively replied: maybe! Relief swept over me when I discovered that this adventure was none other than a trip to Euro –Disney– I could easily handle that so I agreed! It wasn’t till nearer the time I began to question my wisdom in agreeing to go, for let’s face it – I am no Disney enthusiast, I do not feast on Walt Disney films, nor did I find rollercoaster rides particularly exhilarating, and to crown it all the forecast for Paris was minus 4!

It turned out to be quite an adventure! In the Disneyland Park we went to Space Mountain- where I embarked on the space shuttle rollercoaster -I saw my life pass before me as the shuttle went at breath-taking speed up, down, roundabout and upside down in the pitch black. As if that was not adventurous enough, I then found myself against my better judgement in the thunder mountain ride – well named-it thundered down the slope and our screams could be heard in the Indiana Jones section. As for the Tower of Terror, no sound escaped my lips – I was too shocked! They take you up to the top of a building very gently in an open lift and let you briefly admire the view over the other high buildings and then they drop the lift at deadening speed- your stomach hits your neck! Yes, it was an adventure right enough-some fun moments intermingled with many scary moments!!

No doubt scary and fun moments were part of the wise men’s experience as they journeyed to Bethlehem. They embarked on a journey of a lifetime. They set out to seek the truth. We are told it begins as follows: ‘after Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked ‘where is the one who has been born King of the Jews.’ The wise men are called the “magi” from the east. That’s all we are told about them. The term “magi” is a Persian word that referred to a special class of priests in the Persian Empire. We know from other sources that the “magi” had existed for hundreds of years before the time of Christ. They had their own religion and they are usually thought to have been followers of Zoroastrianism. They have their own priesthood and their own writings. The book of Daniel makes it clear that they existed in his day and it even seems that Daniel was appointed head over the cast of the magi in the time of King Darius.

Sowing the Seeds: LOOKING FOR THE STAR OF BETHLEHEM

Who were the magi? They were professors and philosophers of their day. They were brilliant and highly educated scholars who were trained in medicine, history, religion, prophecy and astronomy. They were also trained in what we call astrology. In our day astrology has gotten a deservedly bad rap, but in the beginning, astrology was connected with man’s search for God. The ancients studied the skies to find answers to the great questions of life- who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? There is a difference between astronomy and astrology. Astronomy is the science of the study of the stars. Astrology is the belief that there is a connection between the position of the stars and human destiny. The magi were experts in both astronomy and astrology and claimed to be able to divine the future.

So, the magi were highly influential in Persia. They were in fact advisers to the king. They were also highly educated men who thought deeply about life and consequently it is perfectly legitimate to call them’ wise men’ But why had they set out on this adventure and travelled so far from home? It was 1,000 miles from Persia to Israel. Why had they made such a treacherous journey? They had come to see the baby born King of the Jews. This is fascinating. They knew a baby had been born but they didn’t know where. They knew he was a king but they did not know his name. So, they came to Jerusalem, the capital city seeking help. The wise men were probably Gentiles. They had received a revelation through astrology to visit this new King. Revelation is at the heart of Epiphany and it speaks powerfully of how Jesus came for the Gentiles- for all people. He came to break down all barriers between Jews and Gentiles so that Jews and Gentiles in Christ were on equal footing-they too could share in God’s salvation. The Jews were no longer God’s chosen people- all humankind is God’s chosen people. This revelation changed everything. Epiphany is an inclusive feast- it is for all! Epiphany is where God’s light shines for all, and the wise men by their presence and worship revealed that to us.

Summary and Analysis of the poem Journey of the Magi by T. S  Eliot||#literarytalks|| - YouTube

Our image of the magi travelling to the capital city is that of three guys riding on three camels across the desert. Nothing could be further from the reality. There is no way the magi travelled 1,000 miles by themselves. The whole notion is ludicrous! In those days the only way you could travel through the desert was in a large caravan. The scholars reckon that the journey may have taken two years. According to T. S Eliot’s poem entitled “Journey of the magi” it was not by any means an easy journey they had- “A hard time they had of it.” The magi would probably have swept into Jerusalem with pomp and circumstance covered with 1000 miles worth of dust. At a minimum they would have brought with them a full military escort along with their servants amounting to no less than 300 men. No wonder all of Jerusalem was buzzing.

Buzzing with the news that the magi, these pagan folk, these Gentiles have been drawn to Jesus! Consider how little the magi knew. They had seen a star and they knew a baby called ‘King of the Jews’ had been born. And yet with nothing more than that they risked everything- they left their homeland to find the baby, bring gifts and worship him. This is one of the greatest examples of true faith in the entire Bible. They did not know very much about Jesus but what they did know spurred them into action.

C. S. Lewis Quote: “We may think God wants actions of a certain kind, but God  wants

The wise men were men of great faith! C.S. Lewis once wrote, “We may think God wants actions of a certain kind, but God wants people of a certain kind.”  In the wise men Matthew portrays people of a certain kind:  they are hungry for truth, they are open to change, and they are humbly willing to sacrifice. 

Unlike Herod, the great nemesis of Christ consumed by his own supremacy and power, the magi leave their authority behind in order to follow God’s prodding. Carrying the prophetic treasures of gold, frankincense, and myrrh they travelled from the east, moving toward Bethlehem where their skin colour and clothing were as strange as their inquiries.  “Where is the child, born king of the Jews?” they asked moving, with open minds, into the mystery and majesty of God’s revelation in Christ.  “We’ve come to pay him homage,” they say, seeking, with open hearts, the grace of God’s salvation.  Yes, in the magi we see people of a certain kind:  those who are unafraid to follow God at every turn. We see in them seekers of the truth.

King Herod... was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him. - St. Andrews  Hespeler

Whereas the wise men seek the truth, Herod fears the truth. The reaction of Herod is fascinating. Matthew 2: 3 says that’ when Herod heard the news, he was disturbed and all Jerusalem with him. The word ‘disturb’ really means ‘to shake violently’. Herod was shaken up. It might help you to know that Herod the Great was a very old, very sick man. He had been in power for over 40 years and had proven to be a clever and cruel man. Like all despots, he feared the power of others and so he held tightly to the reins of power and brutally removed anyone who got in his way- including his wife, his brother-in law and his mother-in law! Herod stands as a symbol of the kind of world Jesus entered. He represents the world’s welcoming committee for the Son of God- he stands for the bloodthirsty, cruel, vindictive side of the world system. A world where human life is cheap- a world where killing is accepted and even expected! Herod died but his spirit lives on. To this day there are those who are offended by Jesus, even by the mere mention of his name and want to erase every trace of Christmas from public life. They fear and reject the truth like Herod!

Before Herod could get rid of the baby, he had to put on a pleasant face. He had to appear interested in helping these strange visitors find the Christ-child. So, he turned to the scribes and priests for advice. He had only one question, where was this king to be born?

The scribes don’t need to look it up – they know chapter and verse- in Bethlehem. Bethlehem is only 6 miles from Jerusalem- so close they could walk it in 2 hours. 6 miles and none of the scribes cared enough to go and check out the rumour that the long- awaited Messiah had been born. Six miles from Jesus -6 miles from salvation – 6 miles from forgiveness, 6 miles from eternal life. They were too busy studying the Bible to see for themselves! 6 miles – so close! All that knowledge did them no good. The magi knew so little and travelled so far, the scribes knew so much and they wouldn’t even venture 6 miles down the road. Let no-one miss this fact- it is possible to know a great deal and miss the truth!

Gifts of the Wisemen: Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh - The Idea Room

The truth was revealed to the wisemen, and they were rewarded with an audience with the new born king. The wisemen paid him homage and they presented their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. These astrologers were laying down the substances used in their divinations, surrendering them to Christ; it isn’t what they give, but what they mean by the giving that matters. They are surrendering their life’s work, their system of belief, and their sacred tools, to the Lordship of Christ. Their divination had brought them to him in darkness and uncertainty; it had been a glimmer in the direction of truth. Now they see face to face, and having no need of divination any longer they present their tools in the worship of Christ. They give all they are and have in surrender to Christ.

Interesting how people respond to the Christ- child. I suppose the ultimate question is not how someone else responds- but how do you and I respond? That’s really the only thing that matters. There are people who like Herod are hostile to Jesus. There are the scribes who are too busy to get involved, and then there are the humble, intelligent magi who embrace the Christ -child with all they have and with all that they are.

True adventure lies in coming to Jesus like the wisemen and worshipping him- and yes, the Christian life might at times feel like a rollercoaster ride with scary moments where grit, determination and courage are required but let us not forget it is unquestionably an adventure of deep joy, lasting hope, and profound peace. 2023 beckons us to embark on an adventure with God and see where it takes us. Amen.

Christ The Savior Lutheran Church

THE CREED

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty,

maker of heaven and earth,

of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only Son of God,

God from God,

Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made,

of one substance with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation

he came down from heaven;

by the power of the Holy Spirit

he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary,

and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,

and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,

the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father.

With the Father and the Son,

he is worshipped and glorified.

He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

PRAYERS

Prayer Requests – Baildon Methodist Church

Lord Jesus, you promised that those who seek will find,

and in the pilgrimage of the magi,

we find proof of that promise.

So now we bring you our prayers for all in our world,

known and unknown to us, who are searching

and pray that they might find rest and peace in you.

Light of the world

Shine in our darkness.

The Word Became Flesh | The Glory of His Grace

Lord Jesus, you were willing to come down to this earth

and dwell among us.

We pray that we might be willing

and ready to travel

in your way and in your direction.

Light of the world

Shine in our darkness.

Lord Jesus, we thank you that salvation is for all people,

and so we pray for a just and accepting world

where no-one is rejected, despised

or treated with contempt.

Light of the world

Shine in our darkness.

What You Need – I AM: The Way, the Truth, and the Life ‹ First Presbyterian  Winter Haven

Lord Jesus, you are the way the truth and the life,

we pray for all who are finding their way,

tedious, lonely or frightening at the moment

thinking especially those all who are displaced

through war and disaster.

Light of the world

Shine in our darkness.

Lord Jesus, as you journey with us,

we pray for those for whom the journey of life is hard,

beset by pain, sickness and sorrow,

or overwhelmed by disaster, poverty and injustice.

In the troubles they face and the burdens they struggle with,

may your love and compassion break through,

and the message of the gospel bring strength and hope,

help, healing and comfort.

Light of the world

Shine in our darkness.

Gold, Frankincense & Myrrh....The Original Christmas gift...!!! | eBay

Lord Jesus, as an infant you received gifts

of gold, frankincense and myrrh,

accept the gifts we offer of our hearts and minds.

Surprise us with glimpses of your glorious

and humble love at the heart of our lives.

Light of the world

Shine in our darkness.

Lord Jesus, we remember those

who have finished their life on earth

and are now with you with all the saints.

We pray for those who mourn

and for those who feel bereft and alone,

draw near with your comfort

and hold them in your everlasting arms of love.

Light of the world

Shine in our darkness.

Gospel Reflection: The Magi bringing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh  — Walking Humbly with God

Lord Jesus, the wisemen showed great courage, inspiration,

determination and grit, in their search for you, the new born king.

May your Holy Spirit fill us with these attributes

and may we too kneel and worship you, our Saviour and King. Amen

HYMN

Description: Description: Description: Description: Elevation Worship - The Blessing (Lyrics) ft. Kari Jobe & Cody ...

BLESSING

Christ the Son of God, gladden your hearts

with the good news of his kingdom

and the blessing of God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit

be upon you and remain with you for ever. Amen

HYMN

DISMISSAL

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord

In the name of Christ. Amen

Welcome

St John the Evangelist, Dumfries, is a parish of the Scottish Episcopal Church also serving Methodist parishioners locally.

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Notices

Contemporary Service

Contemporary Service

The Contemporary Service is at 6pm, on the second and fourth Sundays of the month, followed by refreshments in the hall.

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