Why Celebrate Epiphany?
Epiphany seems particularly appropriate for a gentile church. It reminds us that God did something quite remarkable: he extended his grace to those who were originally outside the covenant. As Paul reminds the Eph-esians, we were aliens and strangers, but Christ made us part of the new Israel.
The celebration of Christmas reminds us of God's gift to us in Christ. Within the cycle of the church year, Epiphany the festival that follows, reminds us of the appropriate response: we give back to God. We recognize who Christ is and what he is worth; so we respond with worship that includes an offering of our entire being.
—James Wildeman, Reformed Worship 5, p. 3
CALLS TO WORSHIP
Arise, shine: for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
Nations shall come to your light
and rulers to the brightness of your rising.
We have come to praise God,
who has done wonderful things among us.
In Jesus, the Christ, God has shown
us love, giving light for our darkness,
and strength for all our days.
Sing praise to God's name, bow before
God in prayer, open your hearts to
God's saving word.
Arise, shine, for your light has come!
[Bread for the World]
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
And also with you.
The splendor of Christ shines upon us.
Praise the Lord!
[Handbook of the Christian Year]
PRAYERS OF CONFESSION
O God, our guide, who once used a star to lead people to your Christ, we confess our poor sense of direction. We let ourselves become confused, easily distracted, and lose our way. We fail to follow the signs you provide. Forgive our waywardness, O God. Lead us to the Christ, so that we may follow his way to you. Amen.
[Pray to the Lord]
God of grace,
you have given us Jesus,
the light of the world,
but we choose darkness
and cling to things that hide the bright-
ness of your love.
Immersed in ourselves, we have not
risen to new life.
Baptize us with your Spirit,
that, forgiven and renewed,
we may preach your word to the na-
and tell of your glory shining in the
face of Jesus Christ,
our Lord and our Light forever.
[The Worshipbook, alt.]
Almighty and merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you and one another in both our actions and our inactions. We recognize that in your Son our light has come, yet often we choose to walk in shadow and ignore the light. Gracious God, forgive our sins and remove from us the veil of darkness which shrouds our lives. TJluminated by your world and sacrament, may we rise to the radiance of Christ's glory.
Declaration of Pardon
Hear the good news:
In the name of the triune God
I declare that, as far as the east is from
so far does he remove our transgres-
sions from us.
Thanks be to God:
Our sins are forgiven.
Hymn of Praise
[Church of the Servant]