• Iain McLarty

Epiphany

Isaiah 60:1-6

Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14

Ephesians 3:1-12

Matthew 2:1-12


You can find a YouTube playlist here with many of the songs suggested below.



Gathering


There are lots of carols which would set the scene for Epiphany well with mentions of the wise men such as The first Nowell (CH 323 / MP 644) or We Three Kings of Orient Are (MP 740) while Come and praise the Lord our king, Alleluia (JP 34 / Jubilate), Joy has dawned (MP 1319 / Getty) and Christmas Offering (CCLI) would be alternative options to do this. Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness (CH 201 / MP 529) has a focus on what we offer to the Lord in worship while it’s also worth mentioning How brightly shines the morning star (Hymnary) which is the classic Epiphany hymn in some traditions.


You could also use gathering songs which focus on the theme of light such as Arise your light is come (Hymnary), Siyahamba / We are marching in the light of God (CH 516 / MP 954), Great are you Lord (CCLI) and Here I am to worship (MP 1086 / CCLI). Indescribable (MP 1170 / CCLI) is perhaps a more tenuous link but is a good general gathering song which mentions God placing the stars in the sky.



Word


The setting in CH4 is the wrong verse of the psalm for this week but there are a number of well known hymns inspired by Psalm 72 including Hail to the Lord’s anointed (CH 474 / MP 204) which has alternative versions by New Scottish Hymns (New Scottish) and Indelible Grace (link) and Jesus shall reign where’er the sun (CH 470 / MP 379). O God, with holy righteousness (WGRG) is an excellent setting of a Genevan Psalm tune while Christ shall have dominion (Grace) which is set to a tune by Arthur Sullivan which is associated with “Onward Christian soldiers” and the marching feel actually fits the tone of this psalm quite well. If you prefer to sing the psalm responsorial then In his days justice will flourish (PFAS 72C) is a good response to use.



Response


The classic response on Epiphany is a song which asks us to consider what gifts we can offer or what our response should be such as In the bleak midwinter (CH 305 / MP 337), What child is this (Hymnary), What kind of throne (MP 1235 / Resound), Christ came in faith to Bethlehem (Jubilate) and the beautiful Korean song Lovely star in the sky (STB 132 / Hymnary). There are also songs which help us focus on the revelation that this baby is God incarnate and what that means such as Come and see the Saviour (Resound), See the star (Resound), Jesus joy of highest heaven (CCLI / Getty) and In the heavens shone a star (STB 131 / Hymnary). Other songs to consider are O laughing Light O first-born of creation (CH 135) which picks up on many different ways God is described in relation to light and Carol of the Epiphany (WGRG) which gives an alternative take on the story in a way typical of its writers.


There are quite a few short chants which would work well as prayer responses this week, including Dans nos obscurités / Within Our Darkest Night (Taizé), Christe lux mundi / Christ, you are light (Taizé) and Your light has come (link) which has the option of turning it into a round at the end.



Sending


As we are sent out into the world you may want to reflect that this is the moment Christ is revealed to be Saviour of the whole world with a song such as In Christ there is no East or West (CH 624 / MP 329) or Every nation sees the glory (GIA / Hymnary). Praise the One who breaks the darkness (CH 348) ends on this theme of unity in Christ but also picks up themes from the psalm with light breaking the darkness, a combination also found in Christ be our light (CH 543 / MP 1201), You are the light (CCLI) and The silent stars shine down on us (STF 231). On the theme of light Joyous light (CCLI) is interesting as a worship song setting of the “Phos Hilaron”, a 3rd or 4th century text. Angel voices ever singing (CH 498) is a classic hymn which reflects on the gifts we offer in the third verse.


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