Feast of the Epiphany – 3rd January 2021


You can click to expand or minimise the order of service below.

All are requested to join in wherever text is GREEN

As with gladness men of old
Did the guiding star behold,
As with joy they hailed its light,
Leading onward, beaming bright;
So, most gracious God, may we
Evermore be led to thee.

As they offered gifts most rare
At that manger, rude and bare,
So may we with holy joy,
Pure and free from sin’s alloy,
All our costliest treasures bring,
Christ, to thee our heavenly King.

In the heavenly country bright
Need they no created light;
Thou its light, its joy, its crown,
Thou its sun which goes not down;
There for ever may we sing
Alleluias to our King.

Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:

And blessed be his kingdom, now and forever. Amen


From Easter to Pentecost:

Allelulia. Christ is risen!

The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia


In Lent and other penitential occasions:

Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins;

His mercy endures for ever.

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.


Let us pray:

Almighty God, to whom all hearts be open, all desires known and from whom no secrets are hidden: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name, through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

This prayer is omitted during Lent and Advent:

Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people on earth.  Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory.  Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father.  Amen.

 Holy God, holy and mighty, holy and immortal, have mercy on us.

The Collect of the day:

The priest now says the Collect for the day:

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 presence, where we may see your glory face to face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Isaiah 60:1-6

Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.

For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you.

Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. Lift up your eyes and look around; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from far away, and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses’ arms.

Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and rejoice, because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you.

A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come.

They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall proclaim the praise of the Lord.

This is the Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

The Response is now said by the congregation

Psalm 72:1-7,10-14

Give the King your justice, O God, and your righteousness to the King’s Son;

That he may rule your people righteously and the poor with justice;

That the mountains may bring prosperity to the people, and the little hills bring righteousness.

He shall defend the needy among the people; he shall rescue the poor and crush the oppressor.

He shall live as long as the sun and moon endure, from one generation to another.

He shall come down like rain upon the mown field, like showers that water the earth.

In his time shall the righteous flourish; there shall be abundance of peace till the moon shall be no more.

The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall pay tribute, and the kings of Arabia and Saba offer gifts.

All kings shall bow down before him, and all the nations do him service.

For he shall deliver the poor who cries out in distress, and the oppressed who has no helper.

He shall have pity on the lowly and poor; he shall preserve the lives of the needy.

He shall redeem their lives from oppression and violence, and dear shall their blood be in his sight.

Ephesians 3:1-12

This is the reason that I Paul am a prisoner for Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles– for surely you have already heard of the commission of God’s grace that was given me for you, and how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I wrote above in a few words, a reading of which will enable you to perceive my understanding of the mystery of Christ. In former generations this mystery was not made known to humankind, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: that is, the Gentiles have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Of this gospel I have become a servant according to the gift of God’s grace that was given me by the working of his power. Although I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ, and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose that he has carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in him.

This is the Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God

All stand for the Acclamation and Gospel reading.

Alleluia, Alleluia!

We observed the star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.


The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew 2:1-12

In the time of King Herod, 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 Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:

`And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who is to shepherd my people Israel.'”

Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

After the Gospel reading

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ

For those of us who may be keeping track, this feast of the Epiphany, or the Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles (as the Book of Common Prayer so delightfully subtitles it) should really fall on the 13th day after Christmas (i.e. January 6th).
This however, for better or worse, three days early, is Epiphany Sunday, and the star of the gospel is – literally – the star. It is the original and best GPS device, guiding the Magi from the East toward the infant Jesus. In all probability though, their journey took significantly longer than 13 days, so it must follow that the star actually appeared quite some considerable time before the birth – you will recall that Herod, acting on information obtained from the Magi, had all boys under two years of age put to the sword, which might distinctly smack of ‘over-kill’ if you’ll pardon the expression. Not recorded in the Bible though, the historians tell us that in fact Herod himself died the most hideous death at the age of 69 from chronic kidney disease, complicated by maggot-infested gangrene of the genitals, so if you’re minded to think that way, he most certainly got his comeuppance for the infanticide!
On a more pleasant note, one of the favourite Christmas symbols of the residents of New York is that massive “snowflake” star that hangs over 57th Street, sponsored every year by UNICEF. I would suggest, nothing symbolizes the hope and serenity of this season more beautifully, or possibly more effectively than a star!
Of course, it may be significant that if you follow that star today, it doesn’t lead to a stable and a baby. It takes you to Trump Tower and Tiffany’s – rather more symbolic, alas, of the false Gods of our own generation!
But nonetheless, that image beaming out over New York City during this time of year captures the imagination in a very meaningful way. It reminds us of the reason for the season. The very word ‘Epiphany’ means “manifestation”, or “showing!” Webster’s dictionary defines this as: “an intuitive grasp of reality through something simple and striking.” Something as simple as a child; something as striking as a star.
History is silent about just who or what the Magi in the gospels really were. In some translations, they are Astrologers, in others they are Kings or “Wise Men.” And, in fact, we don’t know exactly how many of them there were. But because they brought three gifts – gold, frankincense and myrrh – tradition has held that there were three of them. We would be right in thinking, I suspect, that there were no ‘cheapskates’ in their midst! No need though for us to dwell on the gifts and their meaning – the hymn writers have done this so very effectively that we can rightly turn our attention in a slightly different direction.
Three has always been a meaningful number to Christians. Three is the number of the Persons of the Holy Trinity. It is also the number of days Christ spent in the tomb.
But it also signifies something even more meaningful and – for us this afternoon, much more important.
They are not solitary. They are a group. They are a community.
Again and again, when Christ revealed himself to the world, he rarely showed himself to just one person at a time.
Think of Christmas night, when the news was announced to shepherds – another group, another kind of community.
And then, with the three Magi, the incarnation was announced to this distinct and wholly separate “community” of non-Jews –‘the Gentiles’.
This will happen repeatedly. It’s the beginning of a pattern. At Jesus’s baptism, there will be a crowd of witnesses. When he preaches, he will speak to multitudes. When he performs his first miracle, it will be at a public gathering, a wedding. When he reappears after his Resurrection, it will be to a roomful of believers. Even on the road to Emmaus, he presents himself not to one person, but to two.
That is part of the great message of Christianity. We are meant to receive the good news together…to live it together…to celebrate it and share it with one another, just as we are doing here this afternoon.
The simple fact remains: Christianity is not a solitary experience.
Thomas Merton put it beautifully: “Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone. We find it with another.”
The other important thing to remember about the Magi, of course, is that they didn’t come empty-handed.
The gospel tells us “They opened their treasures.”
Like the Magi, each of us has a treasure to offer Christ—and to offer the world.
The prayerful question we should ask ourselves this Sunday is: what isit? What do we have to give?
Sometimes the best present…is the gift of being present. Almost certainly you won’t have heard the story of eight-year-old Delaney Brown, of Reading, Pennsylvania. Delaney was diagnosed with leukemia in May 2013 and was given only a few months to live. She underwent five painful rounds of radiation and chemotherapy, sadly all to no avail – nothing worked. As the end of her life approached, she told her parents that one wish she had was to hear, once again, Christmas carols. Word spread on the internet and social media. A few days before Christmas, people started to gather outside the family home – first a few, then more, and dozens became hundreds, and hundreds became thousands. Eventually an estimated 10,000 friends, neighbours and strangers, were there, standing in the cold, to sing Christmas carols outside the house of a little girl most of them had never even seen, let alone met. People who were there later said it was one of the most inspiring outpourings they’d ever experienced. Delaney was drifting in and out of consciousness. But her parents said she did actually hear the carols. They even posted a picture on ‘Facebook’ of the little girl, eyes closed, giving a thumbs-up sign!
Just a few days later, on Christmas morning itself, Delaney died.
Looking back on it, it is difficult to know who was given the greater gift that night – Delaney, or the people gathered on the street. In the commercial crush of the season, the story of Delaney Brown reminded the world: treasure isn’t just gold or frankincense or myrrh. Compassion is a treasure. So is time. So is solidarity with those who are suffering.
And so is prayer. At times, this is the most precious treasure of all.
No matter who we are, or where we come from, or what we do: each of us has a treasure to offer. The magi were just the first. They aren’t by any means the last.
As we celebrate today Christ manifesting himself to the world, let us think of what that manifestation has meant to each of us — to this particular community of believers. And let’s ask ourselves what we can give in return – to God, and to one another. What are our treasures? What do we have to give?
Epiphany signals to us that the Christmas season is drawing towards its close, although officially now the ’12 days’ are extended to Candlemas, which falls properly on February 2nd, and which we shall be celebrating, hopefully, in due course.
But that doesn’t mean the season of giving is coming to an end – far from it. What can we bring?
In conclusion, I make no apology in quoting once again Christina Rossetti’s beautiful poem, to which I drew your attention on Christmas Day, so exquisitely set to music, first by Gustav Holst and then a little later by Harold Darke, “In the bleak mid-winter” – which concludes:
“What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd I would bring a lamb;
If I were a wise man I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give him
Give my heart.”
There, then, we have it in a nutshell – it’s not the size of the gift, but the sincerity with which it is given that counts.
Does that remind you of the widow’s mite? None of us then should think that we have nothing to give to God – our challenge now is to go away and think about this afresh – pray God that we will, each and every one of us, be given the grace to find it!

Please stand for the Nicene Creed.

Let us together affirm the faith of the Church.

We believe in one God,

the Father, the Almighty,

maker of heaven and earth,

of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only Son of God,

eternally begotten of the Father,

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made,

of one Being with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation

he came down from heaven:

was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary,

and became truly human.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again

in accordance with the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,

who has spoken through the prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead,

and the life of the world to come.  Amen.

Let us pray for the world and for the Church:

Prayers of intercession are now said and at the end of each prayer the priest says:

Lord in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.


Lord hear us,

Lord graciously hear us

At the conclusion of the prayers the priest says:

Almighty God, who has promised to hear our prayers.

Grant that what we have asked in faith we may by your grace receive, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

 Jesus said: Come to me all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.


God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.


God is steadfast in love and infinite in mercy, welcoming sinners and inviting them to the Lord’s table.

Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith, confident in God’s forgiveness.

Merciful God, our maker and our judge, we have sinned against you in thought, word and deed, and in what we have failed to do: we have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbours as ourselves; we repent and are sorry for all our sins, Father forgive us, strengthen us to love and obey you in newness of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

Almighty God, who has promised forgiveness to all who turn to him in faith, pardon you and set you free from all your sins, strengthen you in all goodness and keep you in eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.


The congregation stands.

We are the Body of Christ.

His Spirit is with us.


The peace of the Lord be always with you.

And also with you.

Please greet each other with a sign of peace.

We three Kings of Orient are:
Bearing gifts we traverse afar,
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star.
O Star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.

Born a King on Bethlehem plain,
Gold I bring to crown Him again,
King forever, ceasing never,
Over us all to reign.
O Star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.

Frankincense to offer have I,
Incense owns a Deity nigh,
Prayer and praising, all men raising,
Worship him, God most high.
O Star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.

Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes a life of gathering gloom;
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb.
O Star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.

Glorious now behold him arise,
King and God and sacrifice.
Heaven sings ‘Alleluia’.
‘Alleluia’ the earth replies.
O Star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.


Blessed are you, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have these gifts to share. Accept and use our offerings for your glory and the service of your kingdom.

Blessed be God forever.

 Let us pray

We do not presume to come to your table, merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in your manifold and great mercies.  We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under your table, but you are the same Lord whose nature is always to have mercy. Grant us, therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of your dear son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that we may evermore dwell in him and he in us.  Amen.


The Lord be with you.

and also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give thanks and praise.

Father, we give you thanks and praise through your beloved Son Jesus Christ, your living Word, through whom you have created all things; who was sent by you in your great goodness to be our Saviour.

By the power of the Holy Spirit he took flesh; as your Son, born of the blessed Virgin, he lived on earth and went about among us; he opened wide his arms for us on the cross; he put an end to death by dying for us; and revealed the resurrection by rising to new life; so he fulfilled your will and won for you a holy people.

Proper Preface

Therefore with angels and archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we proclaim your great and glorious name, for ever praising you and saying:

Holy, holy, holy Lord God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest.  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.  Hosanna in the highest.

Lord, you are holy indeed, the source of all holiness; grant that by the power of your Holy Spirit, and according to your holy will, these gifts of bread and wine may be to us the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ; who, in the same night that he was betrayed, took bread and gave you thanks; he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.

In the same way, after supper he took the cup and gave you thanks; he gave it to them, saying: Drink this, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant,

which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it,

in remembrance of me.

Great is the mystery of faith:

Christ has died:

Christ is risen:

Christ will come again.


And so, Father, calling to mind his death on the cross, his perfect sacrifice, made once for the sins of the whole world; rejoicing in his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension, and looking for his coming in glory, we celebrate this memorial of our redemption.

As we offer you this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, we bring before you this bread and this cup and we thank you for counting us worthy to stand in your presence and serve you. Send the Holy Spirit on your people and gather into one in your kingdom all who share this one bread and one cup, so that we, in the company of [N and] all the saints, may praise and glorify you for ever, through Jesus Christ our Lord; by whom, and with whom, and in whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory be yours, almighty Father, for ever and ever.


Let us pray with confidence to the Father, as our Saviour has taught us:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy 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 thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

O Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

O Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

O Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace.

We break this bread to share in the body of Christ.

Though we are many, we are one body, because we all share in one bread.

This is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world;

Happy are those who are called to his supper.

Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.


After Communion the celebrant and the congregation say


Let us pray.

Father of all we give you thanks and praise that when we were still far off you met us in your Son and brought us home. Dying and living, he declared your love, gave us grace, and opened the gate of glory. May we who share Christ’s body live his risen life; we who drink his cup bring life to others; we whom the Spirit lights give light to the world. 

Keep us in this hope that we have grasped; so we and all your children shall be free, and the whole earth live to praise your name.

Father, we offer ourselves to you as a living sacrifice through Jesus Christ our Lord. Send us out in the power of your Spirit to live and work to your praise and glory.

The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord: and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be amongst you and remain with you always.


Go in peace to love and serve the Lord:

In the name of Christ.  Amen.

Hail, thou source of every blessing,
Sovereign Father of mankind!
Gentiles now, thy grace possessing,
In thy courts admission find.

Now revealed to eastern sages,
See the Star of mercy shine
Mystery hid in former ages,
Mystery great of love divine.

Hail, thou universal Saviour!
Gentiles now their offerings bring,
In thy temple seek thy favour,
Jesus Christ, our Lord and King.

NOTE: The introductory music is Chorale Prelude for New Year’s Day – Bach.


Here is the music for this week’s hymns, if you would like to practice beforehand.

Performed by Fr. David Price