Epiphany, Year B

Musical Reflection
Your Long Journey by Alison Krauss and Robert Plant

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Invocation

Shepherd of Israel
and Light of all Nations,
made known in the gifts
of those who call to other names
and walk on different ways:
may unjust powers
and the hatred within us
be dismayed by your friendship
and dethroned by your love;
through Jesus Christ, the open arms of grace.
Amen.

First Reading
Journey of the Magi
by T.S. Eliot
‘A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.’
And the camels galled, sorefooted, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
and running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.
Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you might say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

Second Reading
El Hombre

by William Carlos Williams
It’s a strange courage
you give me ancient star:
Shine alone in the sunrise
toward which you lend no part!
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Gospel Reading
Matthew 2:1-12

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the territory of Judea during the rule of King Herod, magi came from the east to Jerusalem. They asked, “Where is the newborn ruler of the Jewish people? We’ve seen the star in the east, and we’ve come to honour the child.”

When King Herod heard this, he was troubled, and everyone in Jerusalem was troubled with him. He gathered all the chief priests and the legal experts and asked them where the Christ was to be born. They said, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for this is what the prophet wrote:

You, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
        by no means are you least among the rulers of Judah,
            because from you will come one who governs,
            who will shepherd my people Israel.

Then Herod secretly called for the magi and found out from them the time when the star had first appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search carefully for the child. When you’ve found them, report to me so that I too may go and honour them.” When they heard the king, they went; and look, the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stood over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy. They entered the house and saw the child with Mary his mother. Falling to their knees, they honored him. Then they opened their treasure chests and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Because they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they went back to their own country by another route.

Musical Reflection
Shooting Star (In Spite of it All) by Jeremy Fisher

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Prayer
New Saint Joseph Sunday Missal, adapted

God,
We pray that we may be guided by the light of faith.
You revealed your Child to the nations
by the guidance of a star.
Lead us to your glory
by the light of faith.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


The Lord’s Prayer

Beloved,
our Father and Mother,
in whom is heaven,
hallowed be your name,
followed be your royal way,
done be your will and rule,
throughout the whole creation.
With the bread we need for today,
feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and test,
strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure,
spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil,
free us.
For you reign in the glory of the power that is love,
Now and forever.
Amen.

Musical Reflection
Little Star by Stina Nordenstam

Blessing

May Christ, who draws the nations to himself,
teach us to love our enemies;
may Christ, who enters the water of baptism,
lead us to die to all but love;
may Christ, who gives new wine for the world,
turn our bitterness into joy;

and the blessing of God,
the Creator, the Redeemer, and the Sustainer,
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.

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Sources:

Artwork by Lorraine Loots

Invocation and Blessing from Prayers for an Inclusive Church by Steven Shakespeare

Musical Reflection Your Long Journey by Alison Krauss and Robert Plant

Poem The Journey of the Magi by T.S. Eliot

Poem El Hombre by William Carlos Williams

Musical Reflection Shooting Star (In Spite of it All) by Jeremy Fisher

Prayer from the New Saint Joseph Sunday Missal

Lord’s Prayer from Human Rites: Worship Resources for an Age of Change

Musical Reflection Little Star by Stina Nordenstam

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