Weekly Online Service
03 January 2021 Epiphany

Please find below our service for this week. You can also click on the PDF button to open and download a copy of the printed generic Service booklet.

You will find an opening hymn - words are included. This is followed by the service. Finally there is a closing hymn. Please feel free to follow along in whichever way you feel most comfortable. Words in bold are for everyone to join in.

Hymn

We three kings

We three kings of Orient are;
bearing gifts we traverse afar,
field and fountain, moor and mountain,
following yonder star.

Refrain:
O star of wonder, star of light,
star with royal beauty bright,
westward leading, still proceeding,
guide us to thy perfect light.

Born a King on Bethlehem plain,
gold I bring to crown him again,
king forever, ceasing never,
over us all to reign.

[Refrain]

Frankincense to offer have I;
incense owns a Deity nigh;
prayer and praising, voices raising,
worship him God most high.

[Refrain]

Myrrh is mine; its bitter perfume
breathes a life of gathering gloom;
sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
sealed in the stone-cold tomb.

[Refrain]

Glorious now behold him arise;
king and God and sacrifice:
Heaven sings: ‘Alleluia’;
‘Alleluia,’ the earth replies.

[Refrain]

Service Audio

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit

All say Amen.

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you

and also with you.

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.

The Prayers of Penitence

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son Jesus Christ to save us from our sins, to be our advocate in heaven, and to bring us to eternal life.

Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith, firmly resolved to keep God’s commandments and to live in love and peace with all.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
we have sinned against you
and against our neighbour
in thought and word and deed,
through negligence, through weakness,
through our own deliberate fault.
We are truly sorry and repent of all our sins.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
who died for us, forgive us all that is past
and grant that we may serve you in newness of life
to the glory of your name.  Amen.

Almighty God,
who forgives all who truly repent,
have mercy upon you,
pardon and deliver you from all your sins,
confirm and strengthen you in all goodness,
and keep you in life eternal;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Gloria in Excelcis

Glory to God, Glory to God,
Glory to God in the highest.

Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King,
almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.

Glory to God, Glory to God,
Glory to God in the highest.

Lord Jesus Christ,
only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand
of the Father:
receive our prayer.

Glory to God, Glory to God,
Glory to God in the highest.

For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father.

Glory to God, Glory to God,
Glory to God in the highest.

The Collect of the Day is said or sung.

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 Old and New Testament Readings

Isaiah 60.1-6 - Read by Katie Smart

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.

This is the word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Ephesians 3.1-12 - Read by Ken Cope

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 to 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 to 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.

This is the word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

The Gospel

Matthew 2.1-12 - Read by Jean McDonald

All sing: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

The Gospel reader says

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew

All say: Glory to you, O Lord.

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.

This is the gospel of the Lord.

All say: Praise to you, O Christ.

All sing: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

Sermon

“In the time of King Herod”

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.’ When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; Matthew 2: 1-3

May the bright light of Christ illumine our hearts and minds to receive his word. Amen.

Epiphany, the manifestaion of Christ to the Gentiles, or according to the dictionary, a sudden consciousness, intuitive insight, reality or understanding.

Today the Wise Men, the star gazing Maji, get their annual outing to Bethlehem, and they present their three gifts to the Child Jesus of gold, frankincence and myrrh. We don’t know how many there were or where they came from, only that they traveled from the east, we don’t know if they travelled from the same place, or met on the way, and contrary to a popular carol, we don’t know their names. To be clear, we don’t know very much about them at all, except what little the Bible tells us.

What we do know is that they initially assumed that the new king they were looking for would be found in a palace. So it was to Herod they came. They must have been very astute because they saw through the wiley old fox, Herod, and went home by a different road.

Just before Christmas last year, I was talking with our son-in-law Steve. He is an avid astronomer and his business is all about telescopes and garden observatories, and he is also a Baptist minister. I made the mistake of asking him about his talk for Christams, The Star of Bethlehem. Half an hour later he was still going strong, however I was finding what he had to say interesting, even though it had to be taken with caution.

What he said went something like this: Jupiter, the king of planets was in conjunction with Regulus the king of stars, making a visibly bright light in the sky. This happened at the same time as the Jewish New Year. Because of the orbit of earth the bright light appeared to move across the stella sky, Jupiter then drew into conjunction with Venus, the Virgin, in sinc with lots of symbolism in Ancient Jewish tradition. The star gazing Maji were facinated and set off to follow the light.

Whatever it was that caused the Maji to go travelling we know it meant something to them, it was a sign. I think all of us at somepoint in our spiritual life end up looking for a sign, something that will confirm all we are told about Jesus, God and our faith. Not many of us have a Damascus Road experience, or see Bright shiney Stars that point to the truth we search for. But perhaps that is simply because we don’t notice them.

Herod, like all Jewish people was waiting for the promised Messiah, in retrospect he could have joined the Maji, he could have changed the outcome of God’s story, if only he had not panicked, if he hadn’t been afraid. He couldn’t see beyond being usurped and losing power to control. The difference isn’t that epiphany happened for the wise men but not Herod. The difference is that the wise men observed and followed the star, opened their treasure chest, and went home “by another road,” and Herod did not. But what if he had?

In both situations, the Wise Men and Herod are offering us something. And both are seeking a response from us. That’s what epiphanies do. They give us a glimpse of ourselves, our life, our world, and then they call for and ask a response. That response is what distinguishes the wise men from Herod.

I wonder how many times fear has clouded a sign for us, a sign that may have set us on a new path, a new way home. We have just lived through the most frightening time in decades, wondering what our world would look like after the corona virus. We were desperate for a sign that a vaccine would be found and when it came we began to long for it to get us back to normal life. The wise men followed their longing. Herod wallowed in his fear. Both, however, were about the child. Both were an epiphany.

I think we tend to hear the Epiphany story as being an epiphany to the wise men only. But what if it’s also an epiphany to Herod too? And in all that something is being revealed to us, and something is being asked of us. It might be love, forgiveness, healing, hope, gratitude, courage, beauty, compassion, gentleness for another or ourselves, mercy, acceptance of ourselves or another, nonviolence, repentance, new life, truth telling, wisdom.

Aren’t those the very qualities and values of the child whose life the wise men and Herod seek? They are at the heart of our deepest human longings and on the other side of our worst fears. And they reveal Emmanuel, God with us. That’s the epiphany and it’s always there before us, calling and waiting for a response.

What will we do with the epiphany before us today? How will we respond? My hope for you and me is that today we will all go home “by another road.” We will see one of the vaccines as surely as we see the signs of a recovery for each of us and for the world. My prayer is that each of us will choose not to be afraid but trust that God does send signs even now in 2021. May we all see clearly the little signs around us, a word of comfort, an act of kindness, a chance meeting, and then experience our very own epiphany. Amen.

The Rev'd Mo Lunn, St Mary Magdalene, Enfield, 03/01/2021

Service Audio

The Nicene 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,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate from the Holy Spirit
and 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 and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son
is worshipped and glorified,
who 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.

The Intercessions 

The Intercessions list has been circulated with petitions for the Church, The World, The Community, Our Keyworkers, The Sick and the Deceased. The Diocesan Cycle of Prayer is found at:

London Anglican Cycle of Prayer

This or another response may be used:

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

In the power of the Spirit and in union with Christ, let us pray to the Father.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, you promised through your Son Jesus Christ to hear us when we pray in faith.

Strengthen N our bishop(s) and all your Church in the service of Christ, that those who confess your name may be united in your truth,
live together in your love, and reveal your glory in the world.

Bless and guide Elizabeth our Queen; give wisdom to all in authority;
and direct this and every nation in the ways of justice and of peace;
that we may honour one another, and seek the common good.

Give grace to us, our families and friends, and to all our neighbours,
that we may serve Christ in one another, and love as he loves us.

Comfort and heal all those who suffer in body, mind, or spirit …;
give them courage and hope in their troubles; and bring them the joy of your salvation.

Hear us as we remember those who have died in the faith of Christ …; according to your promises, grant us with them a share in your eternal kingdom.

Rejoicing in the fellowship of all your saints, we commend ourselves and the whole creation to your unfailing love.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.  Amen.

The Peace

We are the body of Christ.
In the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.
Let us then pursue all that makes for peace and builds up our common life.

The peace of the Lord be always with you.

and also with you.

A sign of peace may be exchanged.

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray.

Service Audio

The Post Communion Collect

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.

The Blessing

The peace of God,
which passes all understanding,
keep your hearts and minds
in the knowledge and love of God,
and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always. Amen.

The Dismissal

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

In the name of Christ.  Amen.

Recessional Hymn

Brightest and best of the sons of the morning

Brightest and best of the sons of the morning,
dawn on our darkness, and lend us thine aid;
star of the east, the horizon adorning,
guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.

Cold on his cradle the dew-drops are shining;
low lies his head with the beasts of the stall;
angels adore him in slumber reclining,
Maker and Monarch and Saviour of all.

Say, shall we yield him, in costly devotion,
odours of Edom, and offerings divine,
gems of the mountain, and pearls of the ocean,
myrrh from the forest, or gold from the mine?

Vainly we offer each ample oblation,
vainly with gifts would his favour secure:
richer by far is the heart’s adoration,
dearer to God are the prayers of the poor.

Brightest and best of the sons of the morning,
dawn on our darkness, and lend us thine aid;
star of the east, the horizon adorning,
guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.

Material from Common Worship 2000 is included in this service and is copyright © The Central Board of Finance of the Church of England.