“Arise, shine; for your light has come.”

Watching for the morning of January 5

The Sunday of the Epiphany

Sunlight after a storm over the salt flats (Photo credit: dkbonde)

Sunlight after a storm over the salt flats (Photo credit: dkbonde)

We call this the season of peace, though bombs explode, tyrants rage, and the poor hunger.  The days of Christmas do not bring peace; they point us to the one who is our peace.  And with the visit of the magi we are all invited to kneel before the one to whom prophets and stars bear witness.  The one of whom the psalmist sings, who brings true justice and faithfulness, in whom the earth is renewed and its bounty shared.  The one of whom the apostle bears witness, in whom the hidden purpose of God is revealed, in whom all people are united in a common community.  The one of whom the prophet speaks, who is our light and whose radiance fills the earth, drawing our scattered world home.

The Prayer for Epiphany Sunday

Gracious God,
by a sign in the heavens
you proclaimed to all the earth
the advent of your son, Jesus,
who would receive the throne of David
and reign in justice and righteousness over a world made new.
May he reign in us and bring all creation to your perfect peace;
through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.

The Texts for Epiphany Sunday

First Reading: Isaiah 60:1-6
“Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.”
– though the return from exile has failed to meet the nation’s expectations for glory, the prophet declares as present reality the fulfillment of God’s promise that all nations shall be drawn to the light of God present in Jerusalem.

Psalmody: Psalm 72 (appointed 1-7, 10-14)
“Endow the king with your justice, O God, the royal son with your righteousness.” – an enthronement psalm whose idealized description of the king becomes a portrait and promise of the Messiah whose reign brings blessing to the world.

Second Reading: Ephesians 3:1-12
“This grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ.” –
God’s hidden plan now revealed to gather all people into one body in Christ.

Gospel: Matthew 2:1-23 (appointed 1-12)
“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Judeans?”
– the visit of the magi, representing the nations coming to bow before the dawning reign of God in Christ, and his rejection by Herod and the Jerusalem elite who plot to murder the infant king.

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