Epiphany, Year C

Musical Reflection
Travelin’ On by Norah Jones

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Invocation

Shepherd of Israel
and Light of the 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
Epiphany, 1937

by George Seferis
translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard

 

The flowering sea and the mountains in the moon’s waning
the great stone close to the Barbary figs and the asphodels
the jar that refused to go dry at the end of day
and the closed bed by the cypress trees and your hair

golden; the stars of the Swan and that other star, Aldebaran.

I’ve kept a rein on my life, kept a rein on my life, travelling
among yellow trees in driving rain
on silent slopes loaded with beech leaves,
no fire on their peaks; it’s getting dark.
I’ve kept a rein on my life; on your left hand a line
a scar at your knee, perhaps they exist
on the sand of the past summer perhaps
they remain there where the north wind blew as I hear
an alien voice around the frozen lake.
The faces I see do not ask questions nor does the woman
bent as she walks giving her child the breast.
I climb the mountains; dark ravines; the snow-covered
plain, into the distance stretches the snow-covered plain, they ask nothing
neither time shut up in dumb chapels nor
hands outstretched to beg, nor the roads.
I’ve kept a rein on my life whispering in a boundless silence
I no longer know how to speak nor how to think; whispers
like the breathing of the cypress tree that night
like the human voice of the night sea on pebbles

like the memory of your voice saying ‘happiness’.

I close my eyes looking for the secret meeting-place of the waters
under the ice the sea’s smile, the closed wells
groping with my veins for those veins that escape me
there where the water-lilies end and that man
who walks blindly across the snows of silence.
I’ve kept a rein on my life, with him, looking for the water that touches you
heavy drops on green leaves, on your face
in the empty garden, drops in the motionless reservoir
striking a swan dead in its white wings

living trees and your eyes riveted.

This road has no end, has no relief, however hard you try
to recall your childhood years, those who left, those
lost in sleep, in the graves of the sea,
however much you ask bodies you’ve loved to stoop
under the harsh branches of the plane trees there
where a ray of the sun, naked, stood still
and a dog leapt and your heart shuddered,

the road has no relief; I’ve kept a rein on my life.

                                                                        The snow
and the water frozen in the hoofmarks of the horses.

 

Second Reading
The Star
by Ann Taylor

TWINKLE, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,

Like a diamond in the sky.

When the blazing sun is gone,
When he nothing shines upon,
Then you show your little light,

Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.

Then the trav’ller in the dark,
Thanks you for your tiny spark,
He could not see which way to go,

If you did not twinkle so.

In the dark blue sky you keep,
And often thro’ my curtains peep,
For you never shut your eye,

Till the sun is in the sky.

‘Tis your bright and tiny spark,
Lights the trav’ller in the dark :
Tho’ I know not what you are,

Twinkle, twinkle, little star.

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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
Star Witness by Neko Case

 

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Breton Fisher’s Prayer
adapted

Dear God,
Be good to us today.
The sea is so wide
and our boats are so small.
Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

O Silent Sound,
whose shimmering music pulsates
at the heart of each and all,
Clear a space in us where thy melody
may be perceived in its purity.
Let the rhythm of thy counsel reverberate through our lives,
so that we move to the beat of justice, love, and peace.
Then, our whole being at one with thy song,
grant that the earth may be filled
with the beauty of thy voice.
Endow us with the wisdom to produce and share
what each being needs to grow and flourish,
And give us courage to embrace our shadow with emptiness,
as we embrace others in their darkness.
But let us not be captive to uncertainty,
nor cling to fruitless pursuits.
For from thee springs forth
the rhythm, the melody, and the harmony,
which restores all to balance, again and again. Ameyn.

Musical Reflection
Stars and Sons by Broken Social Scene


Blessing

 

Blessing and laughter and loving be ours,
the love of a great God
who names us
and holds us
while the earth turns and flowers grow
this day
this night
this moment
and forever.

May the blessing of God – the Giver, the Gift, and the Giving,
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.

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Sources:

Artwork by Gemma Smith

Invocation from Prayers for an Inclusive Church by Steven Shakespeare

Musical Reflection Travelin’ On by Norah Jones

Poem Epiphany 1937 by George Seferis

Poem The Star by Ann Taylor

Musical Reflection Star Witness by Neko Case

Breton Fisher’s Prayer

Aramaic Lord’s Prayer by Mark Hathaway

Musical Reflection Stars and Sons by Broken Social Scene

Blessing from The Pattern of our Days

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