Epiphany

POETRY: Epiphany Poem by George Mackay Brown

January 16, 2019

The red king Came to a great water. He said, Here the journey ends. No keel or skipper on this shore. The yellow king Halted under a hill. He said, Turn the camels round. Beyond, ice summits only. The black king Knocked on a city gate. He said, All roads stop here. These are gravestones, no inn. The three kings Met under a dry star. There, at midnight, The star began its singing. The three kings Suffered salt, snow, skulls. They suffered the silence Before the first [...]

PRAYER: Prayer To The Three Kings by Evelyn Waugh

January 14, 2019

Like me, you were late in coming. The shepherds were here long before, even the cattle. They had joined the chorus of angels before you were started. For you the primordial discipline of the heavens had to be relaxed and a new defiant light set to blaze amid the disconcerted stars. How laboriously you came, taking sights and calculating, where the shepherds had run barefoot. How odd you looked on the road, attended by what outlandish liveries, and laden with such preposterous gifts. You came at length to the first stage of your pilgrimage and the great star stood still above you. What did you do? You stopped to call on King Herod. Deadly exchange of compliments in which there began that un-ended war of mobs and magistrates against the [...]

SERMON: The Beginning Of Miracles by George MacDonald

January 13, 2019

Already Jesus had his disciples, although as yet he had done no mighty works. They followed him for himself and for his mighty words. With his mother they accompanied him to a merry-making at a wedding. With no retiring regard, with no introverted look of self-consciousness or self-withdrawal, but more human than any of the company, he regarded their rejoicings with perfect sympathy, for, whatever suffering might follow, none knew so well as he that – “There is one who makes the joy the last in every song.” The assertion in the old legendary description of his person and habits, that he was never known to smile, I regard as an utter falsehood, for to me it is incredible – almost as a geometrical absurdity. In that glad [...]

POETRY: The Forest Primeval by Paul Willis

January 9, 2019

I am five years old. It is a lamentable week—or two weeks—after Christmas in Anaheim. All the way around the block there are Christmas trees at mute attention on the curb. They are stripped of lights and stars and angels, and lean against the garbage cans with only a trace or two of tinsel, tawdry in the morning light. These trees are lonely, I decide. They need to be brought together somewhere to commiserate, to regain a semblance of miracle. Somewhere like my backyard. One by one, on a rescue mission, I drag them down the sidewalk and around our house and plant them one against the other, a thick entangling of grateful boughs. All afternoon I crawl inside their fragrant shade, touching open pockets of pitch and feeling needles rain [...]

PRAYER: Be Our Daily Star

January 7, 2019

God of all Heaven and Earth, From the breath of your love came the creation of the world. We are amazed at the vast beauty of the night sky and at the intimate nature of the love you have for us your children. Be our daily star, Guiding our lives to search for kingdom love. May we always follow your light of truth in all that we do, Forever trusting, hoping, and believing in your word. Lift our eyes tonight to see your eternal life shining brightly, Leading us home. [...]

POETRY: Twelfth Night by Elinor Wylie

January 5, 2019

It has always been King Herod that I feared; King Herod and his kinsmen, ever since… I do not like the color of your beard; I think that you are wicked, and a prince. I keep no stable…how your horses stamp!… If you are wise men, you will leave me soon; I have been frightened by a thievish tramp Who counted bloody silver in the moon. You get no lodging underneath these roofs, No, though you pay in frankincense and myrrh; Your harness jangles with your horses’ hooves; Be quiet; you will wake him if you stir. This is no church for Zoroastrians, Nor resting-place for governors from Rome; Oh, I have knowledge of your secret plans; Your faces are familiar; go home. And you, young captain of the lion stare, Subdue your arrogance to [...]

POETRY: Matins by George Herbert

February 7, 2018

I cannot ope mine eyes, But thou art ready there to catch My morning-soul and sacrifice: Then we must needs for that day make a match. My God, what is a heart? Silver, or gold, or precious stone, Or star, or rainbow, or a part Of all these things, or all of them in one? My God, what is a heart, That thou shouldst it so eye, and woo, Pouring upon it all thy art, As if that thou hadst nothing else to do? Indeed man’s whole estate Amounts (and richly) to serve thee: He did not heav’n and earth create, Yet studies them, not him by whom they be. Teach me thy love to know; That this new light, which now I see, May both the work and workman show: Then by a sunbeam I will climb to [...]

PRAYER: An Epiphany Prayer

February 5, 2018

From The Voice  Father, we thank you for revealing yourself to us in Jesus the Christ, we who once were not your people but whom you chose to adopt as your people. As ancient Israel confessed long ago, we realize that it was not because of our own righteousness, or our own superior wisdom, or strength, or power, or numbers. It was simply because you loved us, and chose to show us that love in Jesus. As you have accepted us when we did not deserve your love, will you help us to accept those whom we find it hard to love? Forgive us, O Lord, for any attitude that we harbor that on any level sees ourselves as better or more righteous than others.  Will you help us to remove the barriers of prejudice and to tear down the walls of bigotry, [...]

PARABLES: The Tares by Richard Chenevix Trench

February 4, 2018

From Notes on the Parables of our Lord Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time [...]

POETRY: Psalm 55 by Mary Sidney Herbert, Countess Of Pembroke

January 31, 2018

Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication. Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise; Because of the voice of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked: for they cast iniquity upon me, and in wrath they hate me. My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me. And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest. Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues: for I have seen violence and strife in the [...]

PRAYER: Epiphany, Year B (Week 4): Litany For Unclean Spirits by Fran Pratt

January 29, 2018

From the website: Fran Pratt  This litany is inspired by the account of Christ casting out unclean spirits in the Gospel lectionary passage for the week: Mark 1:21-28. God we know that you have given us power And authority  To deal with unclean spirits decisively. Hallelujah. We know that you have given us freedom To be our truest selves, To face our shadow side, To live in victory. Help us to deal with unclean spirits, as we encounter them: Racism Prejudice Patriarchy Inequality Hatred Addiction Violence. Whether the unclean spirits reside in others Or in our own selves, We become aware, We exercise power in love. We commit ourselves to being people who walk in the footsteps of Christ Who tell the truth, Who create peace, Who rout out [...]

SERMON: The Testing Of The Apostles by Origen

January 28, 2018

The Lord going into the boat his disciples follow him. They were not weak men, but strong and steady in faith, kind, good, and unworldly: nor were they two-faced, but simple of heart. They followed him, not alone in his footsteps, but also walking with him in holiness of life, striving after justice. And behold a great tempest arose upon the sea. For since the Lord had wrought great and wondrous signs upon the land, he now crosses over the sea that here also he may show yet greater wonders, that he might make plain to all that he was master both of the sea and of the land. Entering therefore into the little boat he caused a storm to arise upon the sea, and caused the winds to blow and the waves to swell up. Why did he do this? That he [...]

POETRY: The Innkeeper: An Epiphany Poem by Carol Penner

January 24, 2018

They were grateful lodgers, considering the humble accommodations. We did the best we could, the place full up, our stable the last corner we had. Mary, who had a baby coming, wanting only peace and privacy, was happy with anything. It was a birth like any other, the mother spent, the baby crying, the father bewildered. I gave her swaddling clothes, the ones my Daniel used. Daniel was on my hip as I gave them, and he wanted down, and toddled over to the baby, leaning close, patting his face. We all laughed. They stayed a couple of weeks, we had no trouble with them. Some shepherds came to visit, the night that bright star had us all out and staring. Then there were those foreign fellows, I don’t know how they knew them… but they [...]

PRAYER: Prayer For The Third Week Of Epiphany

January 22, 2018

From The Church of England Almighty Father, whose Son our Saviour Jesus Christ is the light of the world: may your people, illumined by your word and sacraments, shine with the radiance of his glory, that he may be known, worshiped, and obeyed to the ends of the Earth; for he is alive and reigns, now and for ever. [...]

POETRY: Third Sunday After Epiphany by John Keble

January 21, 2018

When Jesus heard it he marveled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no not in Israel. (Matthew 8:10) I mark’d a rainbow in the north, What time the wild autumnal sun From his dark veil at noon look’d forth, As glorying in his course half done, Flinging soft radiance far and wide Over the dusky Heaven and bleak hillside. It was a gleam to memory dear, And as I walk and muse apart, When all seems faithless round and drear, I would revive it in my heart, And watch how light can find its way To regions farthest from the fount of day. Light flashes in the gloomiest sky, And Music in the dullest plain, For there the lark is soaring high Over her flat and leafless reign, And chanting in so [...]

POETRY: Revelation by Christos Victor

January 17, 2018

Father breathes with us; true maiden bears a son census in a tribal village hosts herald good tidings acquit sleeping shepherd’s quake to visit scant inn’s trough three sibylline kings seek infant thwart vassal Herod’s cunning route; swathe him in myrrh, frankincense, gold seraph warns Joseph flee to Egypt, in Bethlehem swords sing; first-blood spilled rewind path to Nazareth, carpenter’s son teaches priests; on blighted tree hung spurned lamb’s sacrifice frees dead to receive resurrection; children sing, dance, and open gifts “the happy give don’t take”; jews and “dogs” eat at the groom’s wedding [...]

PRAYER: Epiphany

January 15, 2018

From First Vespers of Christmas in the Greek Church What gift shall we bring to Thee, O Christ, since Thou as man on Earth hast shown Thyself for us, since every creature made by Thee brings to Thee its thanksgiving?  The angels bring their song, the Heavens bring their star, the Magi bring their gifts, the Shepherds bring their awe, Earth gives a cave, the wilderness a manger: and we the Virgin Mother bring.  God before all worlds, have mercy upon us! [...]

SERMON: The Beginning of Miracles by John Keble

January 14, 2018

Thou hast kept the good wine until now. (John 2:10) Epiphany means “manifestation,” the manifestation of God on Earth: the eternal Son showing himself in sundry ways when he had taken our nature upon him, and had been made true Man as we are, of the substance of the Virgin Mary, his Mother. To outward appearance, he generally seemed as any other man; but every now and then tokens of Godhead broke out through the veil of his flesh, as flashes of lightning from a dark cloud; and these were so many Epiphanies, so many manifestations of his true self. The day, which we call the Feast of the Epiphany, is remarkable for three of these manifestations, three of the most glorious and blessed and most exactly set down in scripture. On [...]

POETRY: The Magi by William Butler Yeats

January 10, 2018

Now as at all times I can see in the mind’s eye, In their stiff, painted clothes, the pale unsatisfied ones Appear and disappear in the blue depth of the sky With all their ancient faces like rain-beaten stones, And all their helms of silver hovering side by side, And all their eyes still fixed, hoping to find once more, Being by Calvary’s turbulence unsatisfied, The uncontrollable mystery on the bestial [...]

PRAYER: Prayer For Epiphany

January 8, 2018

From Celebrating Common Prayer O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son to the peoples of the Earth. Lead us, who know you now by faith, to your holy presence, where we may see your glory face to face; through Jesus Jesus Christ our Lord. [...]

POETRY: Epiphany by Robert Fitzgerald

January 6, 2018

Unearthly lightning of presage In any dark day’s iron age May come to lift the hair and bless Even our tired earthliness, And sundown bring an age of gold, Forgèd in faëry, far and old, An elsewhere and an elfin light, And kings rise eastward in the [...]

EPIPHANY PRAYER: Epiphany by Martin Shannon

January 6, 2018

From My Soul Waits Psalm 72 May all kings fall down before him, all nations serve him! (v. 11) Psalm 72 is the culmination of Book II in the Psalter, which began with Psalm 42, called the “prayers of David,” (v. 20) – not that David necessarily wrote all these psalms, but they at least represent the spirit of David’s hopes and desires before the Lord.  They are in keeping with a heart that followed after God’s own heart, (see 1 Samuel 13:14, 16:7).  Scholars tell us that Psalm 72 probably was written for the coronation of a king of Judea and Israel, perhaps even by David himself for his son Solomon.  In any case, the prayer came to be used at the coronation ceremonies of subsequent kings, and possibly at the yearly [...]

SERMON: The First Sunday After The Epiphany by David Curry

January 8, 2017

Be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2) The twelve days of Christmas end with the Feast of Epiphany, the last and great festival of Christmas. Epiphany is, as it were, the Christmas of the Gentiles, for in the journey of the Magi-Kings, the birth of Christ is made known to all the nations of the world. As a 17th century Anglican divine, Bishop John Cosin of Durham puts it: Christmas has been indeed a feast of joy to us all this while but our fullness of joy comes not until now, for the Angelic tidings of joy came first to the shepherds, to Israel, to those near at hand, but upon this feast it is omni populo (to all people), news which the star brought to all the world, and to us [...]

POETRY: The First Sunday After Epiphany by John Keble

January 10, 2016

They shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water-courses.   (Isaiah 44:4) Lessons sweet of spring returning, Welcome to the thoughtful heart! May I call ye sense or learning, Instinct pure, or heav’n-taught art? Be your title what it may, Sweet the lengthening April day, While with you the soul is free, Ranging wild o’er hill and lea. Soft as Memnon’s harp at morning, To the inward ear devout, Touch’d by light, with heavenly warning your transporting chords ring out. Every leaf in every nook, Every wave in every brook, Chanting with a solemn voice, Minds us of our better choice. Needs no show of mountain hoary, Winding shore or deepening glen, Where the landscape in its glory Teaches truth to wandering men— Give [...]

BLESSING: For Those Who Have Far To Travel by Jan Richardson

January 6, 2016

From Circle of Grace A Blessing for Epiphany If you could see the journey whole, you might never undertake it, might never dare the first step that propels you from the place you have known toward the place you know not. Call it one of the mercies of the road: that we see it only by stages as it opens before us, as it comes into our keeping, step by single step. There is nothing for it but to go, and by our going take the vows the pilgrim takes: to be faithful to the next step; to rely on more than the map; to heed the signposts of intuition and dream; to follow the star that only you will recognize; to keep an open eye for the wonders that attend the path; to press on beyond distractions, beyond fatigue, beyond what would tempt you from [...]

POETRY: A Sonnet For Epiphany by Malcolm Guite

January 6, 2016

It might have been just someone else’s story, Some chosen people get a special king. We leave them to their own peculiar glory, We don’t belong, it doesn’t mean a thing. But when these three arrive they bring us with them, Gentiles like us, their wisdom might be ours; A steady step that finds an inner rhythm, A  pilgrim’s eye that sees beyond the stars. They did not know his name but still they sought him, They came from otherwhere but still they found; In temples they found those who sold and bought him, But in the filthy stable, hallowed ground. Their courage gives our questing hearts a voice To seek, to find, to worship, to [...]

POETRY: Twelfth Night by Philip Booth

January 5, 2016

At Twelfth Night twilight now the greens burn bright: the dry-spined wreath and bittersweet returned to frozen earth, Canada fir become the fire that wreathes a ritual circle in the snow. The decorations are first to flame: old mistletoe and holly go up in a burst of charred berry, their holy roots tossed on, a burnt seed sown, long after the symbol and song are lost. Uprooted meanings flare like watchfires in this cold backyard. A single star outshines the ice. Unheard, the Magi raise their prayer; a blaze of balsam climbs the still and brittle air. At Twelfth Night twilight now the tree must be the final torch, a coronal to melt the dark; the branch that angels swung on, Christ hung on, quick tinder lit to ebb the tidal snow. From slow [...]

POETRY: Carol Of The Brown King by Langston Hughes

December 29, 2015

Of the three Wise Men Who came to the King, One was a brown man, So they sing. Of the three Wise Men Who followed the Star, One was a brown king From afar. They brought fine gifts Of spices and gold In jeweled boxes Of beauty untold. Unto His humble Manger they came And bowed their heads In Jesus’s name. Three Wise Men, One dark like me— Part of His [...]

SERMON: A Homily For The Feast Of Epiphany by John Chrysostom

April 19, 2015

When Jesus therefore was born in Bethlehem of Judea, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying: Where is that is born king of the Jews. For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to adore him. Isaias had foretold that this would come to pass, saying: The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Madian and Apha: all they from Saba shall come, bringing gold and frankincense: and showing forth praise to the Lord. (Isaiah 60:) This is He, Christ the Lord, whom the Magi, having seen the sign of the star, announce as the King of the Jews. Things unheard of, and exceeding the measure of human astonishment, all took place together at the birth of our Lord. An angel appears and speaks to Zachary, promising that [...]

CHRISTMAS MEDITATION: The Fullness of the Time by Joan Chittister

January 10, 2013

From The Liturgical Year There’s a popular folk tale about three blind men who walk around an elephant to determine what kind of beast this animal might be.  One takes hold of the elephant’s tail and says, “This creature is very like a rope.”  The second happens to take hold of its tusk and says, “This creature is very like a spear.”  And the third, patting the wide, hard side of the animal, says, “This creature is surely a wall.”  Obviously, if any one of them had all three insights at once, these men would have understood a great deal more about elephants than any one of them could possibly know alone. Liturgical spirituality is a bit like that as well.  Each season has a great consuming centerpiece on which we [...]