Year III: Epiphany

Epiphany Sunday: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

Feast: The Baptism of Christ:  We are currently in the Epiphany season; and today we celebrate the Baptism of Christ (sometimes known as Epiphany Sunday).  Epiphany is the time between Christmas and Lent and celebrates the long awaited manifestation of Christ; no longer as a baby in a manger but as the Saviour of the World.  The Epiphany season continues right through until the beginning of Lent.

Due to the ground being frozen solid in much of northern Europe, the Twelve Days immediately after Christmas formed an extended holiday in rural areas.  This was followed by a few days of preparation before Plough Monday, (the day after Epiphany Sunday) when ploughing would once again recommence.


CALL TO WORSHIP

Reader:
Lord, Open my lips.
All: 
And my mouth will give you praise.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  
All:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen


INVITATORY PSALM:  

Psalm 100 (Jubilate Deo)

All: 

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.

All:  
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


MORNING PSALM

Psalm 27

An Exuberant Declaration of Faith
A Psalm of David.

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked came against me
To eat up my flesh,
My enemies and foes,
They stumbled and fell.
Though an army may encamp against me,
My heart shall not fear;
Though war may rise against me,
In this I will be confident.

One thing I have desired of the Lord,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord,
And to inquire in His temple.
For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock.

And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me;
Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice!
Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”
Do not hide Your face from me;
Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not leave me nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation.
When my father and my mother forsake me,
Then the Lord will take care of me.

Teach me Your way, O Lord,
And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.
Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries;
For false witnesses have risen against me,
And such as breathe out violence.
I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.

Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!

All:  
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


WORSHIP

All:  
(A time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous.  Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)


PRAYER & INTERCESSION

Reader:
Let us pray for the day and its tasks, for the church and her life, and for the world and its needs.

(You may use these prayers as written or use them as ‘prayer pointers’ for your own spontaneous petitions.

Personal Requests

  • Almighty God, we thank you at this Epiphany season that you didn’t remain a baby but grew to be declared as the Lamb of God at your baptism and the Saviour of the World by your death. Reveal yourself fully in us.
              –  As we turn our face to the rising sun…
  • May that which we bring to your House today be pure and fervent and full of love to both God and man.
              –  As we turn our face to the rising sun…
  • May our humanity be transformed by your Divinity and our weakness by your almighty power.
    –  As we turn our face to the rising sun…

Family & Friends

  • Father of all, presence yourself with our families today. Make us effective witnesses to those we love and may the revelation of God bring transformation in our relationships. Let us always be bold to share your life.
              –  As we turn our face to the rising sun…
  • For those who once followed but have turned their back on you, may they be restored to their first love.
              –  As we turn our face to the rising sun…
  • May the peace of God rest upon our homes and your love nourish our lives.
              –  As we turn our face to the rising sun…

The Church

  • Reveal yourself today in all your power, O God! Bare your holy arm and show your glory in your church! Let all nations be drawn to your light.
              –  As we turn our face to the rising sun…
  • May you be pleased with our worship and may our gifts of time, resource and concentration be acceptable in your sight.
              –  As we turn our face to the rising sun…
  • May visitors know your presence and be aware of your power. May your Word penetrate deep into their hearts today.
              –  As we turn our face to the rising sun…

The World

  • Disclose yourself to the world this Epiphany season, O God! You came to the nobodies to make them somebodies! May all those who struggle to find hope in the desert of their lives hear clearly the life-giving message.
              –  As we turn our face to the rising sun…
  • Let missionary endeavour multiply and your Kingdom be revealed upon the earth.
              –  As we turn our face to the rising sun…
  • Let this gospel be preached from pole to pole and from shore to shore.
              –  As we turn our face to the rising sun…

THE LORD’S PRAYER

Reader: 
And so we pray…

All:   
Our Father in heaven,
Holy is Your Name.
Your Kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
Forever and ever.  Amen.


GOSPEL READING

Matthew 4:1-25

The Temptation of Jesus

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written,

“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
    but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,

“‘He will command his angels concerning you’,

and

“‘On their hands they will bear you up,
    lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,

“‘You shall worship the Lord your God
    and him only shall you serve.’”

Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

Jesus Begins His Ministry

Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

“The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
    the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—
the people dwelling in darkness
    have seen a great light,
and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death,
    on them a light has dawned.”

From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Jesus Calls the First Disciples

While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Jesus Ministers to Great Crowds

And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.

Reader:      
The Word of the Lord.
All:  
Thanks be to God.


Pause for Reflection…

READING: THE WAY OF CHRIST (Optional)

Principle of discipleship drawn from the book, “The Way of Christ”

Reader:
The Way of Community: The Principle of Celebration.

Recognising the power of corporate witness and worship, I prioritise the Sunday gatherings of my church, committing to being a contributor and not just a consumer. As a follower of the Way of Community, I will find a place to serve within the church and arrive on time, with an expectant heart and a cheerful spirit.

All:
This is The Way of Community: The Principle of Celebration.


Pause for Reflection…


THE APOSTLES CREED

Reader
And so we make our declaration of faith…

All:  
We 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 the grave;
The third day he rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
And sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
From there he shall come to judge the living and the dead.
We believe in the Holy Spirit;
The Holy Worldwide Church;
The Communion of Saints;
The Forgiveness of sins;
The Resurrection of the body,
And the Life everlasting.  Amen.


COLLECT

Reader:
(Either this or an alternative closing prayer may be said.)

Almighty God,
Whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ,
Is the light of the world:
Grant that your people, illumined by your Word,
May shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory,
That he may be known, worshiped,
And obeyed to the ends of the earth;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord,
Who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns,
One God, now and for ever. Amen.


BLESSING

Reader:
(When praying in community, this or a similar blessing may be used)

And may the light of the glorious gospel of Christ,
Shine in your hearts and fill your lives,
With His joy and peace. Amen


Psalms taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.  Other Scripture taken from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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