Church of England Diocese of Birmingham St. Matthew with St. Chad, Smethwick

Feast of the Epiphany

1 Jan 2021, midnight

Epiphany - 3rd January 2021

Readings: Isaiah 60.1-6; Psalm 72.1-15; Ephesians 3.1-12; Matthew 2.1-12

Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and thoughts and meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in thy sight O lord, our strength and our redeemer. Amen

A word from Lucy: Today we remember that the King of all the World was revealed to gentiles known as the Magi. This was prophesied by the prophet Isaiah, and must have been known by the people in the land where the wise men lived.

Arise, shine out, for your light has come; the glory of the Lord is rising upon you.

The nations will come to your light, and kings to your dawning brightness.

They shall bring gold and frankincense, and proclaim the praise of the Lord.

Your gates will lie open continually, shut neither by day nor by night.

No more will the sun give you daylight, nor moonlight shine upon you.

But the Lord will be your everlasting light, your God will be your splendour. cf Isaiah 60

The Magi were men of science who watched the heavens and understood the patterns of the stars in the heavens. These astronomers were on the lookout and they saw something in the heavens that was so remarkable that it prompted them to set out on a journey following the star that they believed would lead them to the Christ-child. The wise men travelled a long way and for probably about 3 years as they searched for the Holy Family. Sadly, they made a serious mistake, they went to the local palace to ask to see the child they had been foretold about, who would be the King of the Judeans, the Messiah, the Christ. Their mistake led to the death of little children in Bethlehem and its surrounds. However, even though they made such a dreadful mistake, they did eventually find the Messiah and brought with them gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Today in a time of Pandemic we cannot have our Nativity Pageant at which we dress up and offer gifts at the crib. Instead, we shall reflect on the gifts and their meaning and then end with a prayer.

The gift of Gold - Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe: to you be praise and glory for ever. As gold in the furnace is tried and purified seven times in the fire, so purify our hearts and minds that we may be a royal priesthood acceptable in the service of your kingdom.

The gift of Frankincense - Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe: to you be praise and glory for ever. As our prayer rises up before you as incense, so may we be presented before you with penitent hearts and uplifted hands to offer ourselves in your priestly service.

The gift of Myrrh - Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe: to you be praise and glory for ever. As you give medicine to heal our sickness and the leaves of the tree of life for the healing of the nations, so anoint us with your healing power that we may be the first-fruits of your new creation.

Let us pray. Eternal God, who by the shining of a star led the wise men to the worship of your Son: guide by his light the nations of the earth, that the whole world may behold your glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.