This service celebrates the Epiphany of our Lord, the twelfth and final day of Christmas, which is the completion and fulfillment of the Advent and Christmas seasons.
Some themes that run throughout the service:
Light: At Epiphany the wise men are led to the infant Jesus by the guiding of a star, in spite of the dark motives of those who would thwart God’s loving purpose. The light of this same star–in the person of Jesus Christ and in the form of his holy Word–remains undimmed as a source of guidance and illumination in our lives today.
Pilgrimage: Epiphany commemorates, among other things, the very first Christian pilgrimage. The arduous journey of the Magi would have required great faith to undertake and even greater determination to carry out. The extended procession at the beginning of the service recalls this extraordinary act of devotion.
Tension between the Cradle and the Cross: Precursors of the ultimate purpose of Christ’s incarnation are found throughout the Biblical narrative of his birth. The gift of gold symbolizes Christ’s kingship, but the gift of myrrh foretells his death; the story of the Magi is followed immediately by the slaughter of the Holy Innocents; Simeon is overjoyed to the sight of the infant Messiah but warns Mary that a sword will pierce her soul. As Pastor Iain put it in his sermon this past Sunday, we must follow Christ not only to Bethlehem but also to Calvary.
Music for the Service:
Victoria: O magnum mysterium
Marshall: He comes to us
Davies: O little town of Bethlehem
Ballet: Lute Book Lullaby
arr. Warrel: Jesus, Jesus, rest your head
94, While shephards watched their flocks by night
119, As with gladness men of old
128, We three kings of Orient
82, Of the Father’s love begotten
497, How brightly shines the Morning Star
Download a poster for this service here