THE EPIPHANY OF OUR LORD
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The subtitle in the Book of Common Prayer of this, one of the principal feasts of the Church, is ‘The Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles’. This emphasises that, from the moment of the Incarnation, the good news of Jesus Christ is for all: Jew and Gentile, the wise and the simple, male and female. Nothing in the Greek text of the gospels indicates that the Magi were all male and even the number three and making them Kings is a much later, non-scriptural tradition. The date chosen to celebrate this feast goes back to the placing of the feast of the Nativity of Christ in the winter solstice: the north European pre-Christian tradition of celebrating the birth of Sun on 25 December differed from the Mediterranean and eastern tradition of having 6 January as the Solstice. As often happens, the two dates merged into a beginning and an end of the same celebration. The western church adopted ‘the twelve days of Christmas’ climaxing on the eve of Epiphany, or ‘Twelfth Night’. The implication by the fifth century was that this was the night on which the Magi arrived. The complications of dating became even more confused with the changing in the West from the Julian to the Gregorian Calendar, the eastern church refusing to play any part in such a radical change. So this day remains the chief day of celebrating the Incarnation in Orthodox Churches.
Hagiography from Exciting Holiness
by Brother Tristam SSF
Evening Prayer (on the eve of the Epiphany. Text not shown)
Psalm 96; 97
Isaiah 49. 1-13
John 4. 7-26
Collect 17 (Text shown)
Post Communion Prayer 18 (Text shown)
Principal Service (Text shown)
Isaiah 60. 1-6
Psalm 72. [1-9,] 10-15
Ephesians 3. 1-12
Matthew 2. 1-12
Second Service (Text not shown)
Psalm 98; 100
Baruch 4.36-5.9 or Isaiah 60. 1-9
John 2. 1-11
Third Service (Text not shown)
Psalm 113, 132
Jeremiah 31. 7-14
John 1. 29-34
1984 (Text not shown)
1984 Prayer Book
God, who didst give thy only-begotten Son to be a light to all nations: mercifully grant that we, who know thee now by faith, may after this life enjoy the vision of thy glorious Godhead; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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.
Post Communion Prayer 18
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.
Isaiah 60. 1-6
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.
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. 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. 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. [1-9,] 10-15
Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to a king’s son. May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice. May the mountains yield prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness. May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor.
May he live while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations. May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth. In his days may righteousness flourish and peace abound, until the moon is no more.
May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. May his foes bow down before him, and his enemies lick the dust.
May the kings of Tarshish and of the isles render him tribute, may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts. May all kings fall down before him, all nations give him service.
For he delivers the needy when they call, the poor and those who have no helper. He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. From oppression and violence he redeems their life; and precious is their blood in his sight.
Long may he live! May gold of Sheba be given to him. May prayer be made for him continually, and blessings invoked for him all day long.
Give the king your / judgements, O / God :
and your righteousness / to the / son of a / king.
Then shall he judge your / people / righteously :
and your / poor / with / justice.
May the mountains / bring forth / peace :
and the little hills / righteousness / for the / people.
May he defend the poor a/mong the / people :
deliver the children of the / needy
and / crush • the op/pressor.
May he live as long as the sun and / moon en/dure :
from one gene/ration / to an/other.
May he come down like rain upon the / mown / grass :
like the / showers that / water the / earth.
In his time shall / righteousness / flourish :
and abundance of peace
till the / moon shall / be no / more.
May his dominion extend from / sea to / sea :
and from the River / to the / ends of the / earth.
May his foes / kneel be/fore him :
and his / enemies / lick the / dust.
The kings of Tarshish and of the isles / shall pay / tribute :
the kings of Sheba and / Seba / shall bring / gifts.
All kings shall fall / down be/fore him :
all / nations shall / do him / service.
For he shall deliver the / poor that cry / out :
the needy and / those who / have no / helper.
He shall have pity on the / weak and / poor :
he shall pre/serve the / lives of the / needy.
He shall redeem their lives from op/pression and / violence :
and dear shall their / blood be / in his / sight.
Long may he live;
unto him may be given / gold from / Sheba :
may prayer be made for him continually
and may they / bless him / all the day / long.
Ephesians 3. 1-12
This is the reason that I Paul am a prisoner for Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles – for surely you have already heard of the commission of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I wrote above in a few words, a reading of which will enable you to perceive my understanding of the mystery of Christ. 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: that is, the Gentiles have become fellow-heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
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. 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, and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; 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. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose that he has carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in him.
Matthew 2. 1-12
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; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: “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.” ’
Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. 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.’ 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. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. 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. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.