Epiphany of the Lord

Summary

In the readings for this Sunday we hear the prophet speak: Arise, shine your light has come; the glory of the Lord appears (Isaiah 60:1–6). The psalmist declares: May the king reign forever and deliver the needy (Psalm 72:1–7, 10–14). The apostle Paul writes: An ancient mystery is revealed: Gentiles are fellow heirs in Christ (Ephesians 3:1–12). In Matthew, following a star, wise men visit Jesus and bring him gifts (Matthew 2:1–12).

Lectionary Readings

Isaiah 60:1–6

1 Arise, shine; for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
2 For darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
and his glory will appear over you.
3 Nations shall come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

4 Lift up your eyes and look around;
they all gather together, they come to you;
your sons shall come from far away,
and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses’ arms.
5 Then you shall see and be radiant;
your heart shall thrill and rejoice,
because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you,
the wealth of the nations shall come to you.
6 A multitude of camels shall cover you,
the young camels of Midian and Ephah;
all those from Sheba shall come.
They shall bring gold and frankincense,
and shall proclaim the praise of the Lord.

Psalm 72:1–7, 10–14

1 Give the king your justice, O God,
and your righteousness to a king’s son.
2 May he judge your people with righteousness,
and your poor with justice.
3 May the mountains yield prosperity for the people,
and the hills, in righteousness.
4 May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
give deliverance to the needy,
and crush the oppressor.

5 May he live while the sun endures,
and as long as the moon, throughout all generations.
6 May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass,
like showers that water the earth.
7 In his days may righteousness flourish
and peace abound, until the moon is no more.

Ephesians 3:1–12

1 This is the reason that I Paul am a prisoner for Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles— 2 for surely you have already heard of the commission of God’s grace that was given me for you, 3 and how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I wrote above in a few words, 4 a reading of which will enable you to perceive my understanding of the mystery of Christ. 5 In former generations this mystery was not made known to humankind, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: 6 that is, the Gentiles have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

7 Of this gospel I have become a servant according to the gift of God’s grace that was given me by the working of his power. 8 Although I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ, 9 and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; 10 so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was in accordance with the eternal purpose that he has carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in him.

Matthew 2:1–12

1 In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” 3 When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:

6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who is to shepherd my people Israel.’”

7 Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. 8 Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” 9 When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. 11 On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Isaiah 60:1-3

Arise, shine; for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;

but the Lord will arise upon you,
and his glory will appear over you.
Nations shall come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

Prayer of the Day

Based on Ephesians 3:1-12

Holy God, we praise you for your Word,
allowing us to understand the mystery of Christ:
that we have become fellow heirs,
members of one body, and sharers in the promise
in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
We are so grateful that we have been granted
the good news of the the boundless riches of Christ.
We thank you, O Lord, that this was in accordance
with the eternal purpose that you carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord,
in whom we have access to you in boldness
and confidence through faith in Christ.
To him be glory and honor, forever and ever. Amen.

Affirmation of Faith

Based on Matthew 2:1-11

We believe that in the time of King Herod,
after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea,
wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking,
“Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews?
For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.”

We believe that they set out for Bethlehem;
and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising,
until it stopped over the place where the child was.
We believe that when they saw that the star had stopped,
they were overwhelmed with joy.

We believe that on entering the house,
they saw the child with Mary his mother;
and they knelt down and paid him homage.

We believe they opened their treasure chests
and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

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