Week 6: Thursday, The Epiphany of the Lord

The Magi from the East tracked a star in the heavens which led them first to Jerusalem then later reappeared, leading them to the specific place in Bethlehem where Mary and Jesus were located. Having been led to the child Jesus, the Magi went in to where he was and worshiped him, giving him gifts of gold, incense, and myrrh. Their remarkable gifts were worthy of our Lord, for he was a king! This picture of Gentile leaders and wise men offering worthy gifts to the child Messiah is a snapshot of what one day will occur in the Kingdom when the leaders of the nations will offer their wealth and allegiance to the glorified King of glory, the Lord Jesus Christ (Isa. 60.5, 11; 61.6; 66.20; Zeph. 3.10; Hag. 2.7-8). Indeed, Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God, the Father (Phil. 2.5-11).

Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Almighty and everlasting God, the brightness of faithful souls, Who didst bring the Gentiles to Thy light, and made known unto them Him Who is the true Light, and the bright and morning Star, fill, we beseech Thee, the world with Thy glory, and show Thyself by the radiance of Thy Light unto all nations; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

~ Gregorian Sacramentary, A.D. 590, in Selina Fitzherbert Fox,
A Chain of Prayer Across the Ages: Forty Centuries of Prayer, 2000 B.C.-A.D. 1916.
New York: E. P. Dutton, 1943. p. 215.

Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, amen.

Te Deum Laudamus 
You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.

The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.

You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.

Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)

Gloria Patri
Glory be to the Father,
And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen, amen.

Chronological Reading for the Day
The Epiphany of the Lord: Exod. 25-28

Lectionary Readings for The Epiphany of the Lord
Psalm: Ps. 72.1-14
OT: Isa. 60.1-6
Gospel: Matt. 2.1-12
NT: Eph. 3.1-12

(Click here for all readings)
Reflection: Silence and/or Journaling

The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he arose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic* church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

*In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).

Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.

Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.

Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

~ Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)

Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Almighty and everlasting God, who has made known the incarnation of your Son by the bright shining of a star, which, when the wise men beheld, they presented costly gifts and adored your majesty; grant that the star of your righteousness may always shine into our hearts; and that, as our treasure, we may give ourselves and all we possess to your service; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

~ The Gelasian Sacramentary, in Selina Fitzherbert Fox,
A Chain of Prayer Across the Ages: Forty Centuries of Prayer from 20000 B.C.-A.D. 1916.
New York: E. P. Dutton, 1943. p. 221.

Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
As the Magi traveled far to see you, so let us seek you now that we may worship you alone, the Savior of the world.

Weekly Reflection on the Priesthood of all Believers
[In reference to 1 Peter 2.9] All four titles originally given to Israel (‘chosen race,’ ‘royal priesthood,’ ‘holy nation,’ ‘his own possession’) are now applied to the multiethnic church, bringing to mind the gracious initiative of Yahweh to call and rescue his people. It is important to note the purpose clause of 1 Peter 2:9: “that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” The royal priesthood of believers exists to declare God’s aretas (Greek: excellencies, virtues, mighty acts, praises) – a likely reference to Isaiah 43:20-21 (Septuagint), where those liberated from Babylonian exile would declare the aretas of God. As both worship and evangelism, the Lord’s saved ones proclaim and celebrate the aretas of God, particularly his promised and fulfilled redemptive acts.

~ Uche Anizor and Hank Voss. Representing Christ. Electronic Edition.
Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2016. p. 48.

Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
And He Manifested His Glory, John 2.1-11

Book Reading
Carter, Guard the Good Deposit