Tag Archives: Epiphany

The Summons

Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?
Will you go where you don’t know and never be the same?
      Will you let my love be shown,
      will you let my name be known,
Will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?

Will you leave yourself behind if I but call your name?
Will you care for cruel and kind and never be the same?
      Will you risk the hostile stare
      should your life attract or scare?
Will you let me answer prayer in you and you in me?

Will you let the blinded see if I but call your name?
Will you set the prisoners free and never be the same?
      Will you kiss the leper clean
      and do such as this unseen,
And admit to what I mean in you and you in me?

Will you love the “you” you hide if I but call your name?
Will you quell the fear inside and never be the same?
      Will you use the faith you’ve found
      to reshape the world around
Through my sight and touch and sound in you and you in me?

Lord, your summons echoes true when I but call your name!
Let me turn and follow you and never be the same.
      In your company I’ll go
      where your love and footsteps show.
Thus I’ll move and live and grow in you and you in me.

–Words & Music: John L. Bell (b. 1949) of the Iona Community

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When Jesus went to Jordan’s stream

When Jesus went to Jordan’s stream
his Father’s will obeying,
and was baptized by John, there came
a voice from heaven saying,
“This is my dear beloved Son
upon whom rests my favor.”
And till God’s will is fully done
he will not bend or waver,
for he is Christ the Savior.

The Holy Spirit then was shown,
a dove on him descending;
the Triune God is thus made known
in Christ as love unending.
He taught, he healed, he raised the dead,
yet, in his great endeavor
to save us, his own blood was shed;
but death could hold him never.
He rose, and lives for ever.

He came by water and by blood
to heal our lost condition;
he cleanses, reconciles to God,
and gives the Great Commission.
Then let us not heed worldly lies
nor rest upon our merit,
but trust in Christ who will baptize
with water and the Spirit
that we may life inherit.

–Words: Martin Luther (1483-1546); para. F. Bland Tucker (1895-1984), rev.
–Tune: CHRIST UNSER HERR ZUM JORDAN KAM, melody Geystliche gesangh Buchleyn, 1524

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Behold a Star from Jacob Shining

Behold a star from Jacob shining, and a scepter from Israel rising, to reign in glory over the nations. Like some bright morning star is he, the promise of the coming day, beyond the night of sorrow. Break forth, O light! We, our joyful hearts uplifting with thanksgiving, hail the brightness of thy rising.

–Music: Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1809-1847)
–Words: arr. by Henry Wilder Foote, after Numbers 24:17

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When Christ’s appearing was made known

When Christ’s appearing was made known,
King Herod trembled for his throne;
but he who offers heavenly birth
sought not the kingdoms of this earth.

The eastern sages saw from far
and followed on his guiding star;
by light their way to Light they trod,
and by their gifts confessed their God.

Within the Jordan’s sacred flood
the heavenly Lamb in meekness stood,
that he, to whom no sin was known,
might cleanse his people from their own.

Oh, what a miracle divine,
when water reddened into wine!
He spoke the word, and forth it flowed
in streams that nature ne’er bestowed.

All glory, Jesus, be to thee
for this thy glad epiphany:
whom with the Father we adore
and Holy Ghost for evermore.

Words: Caelius Sedulius (5th century)

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What star is this with beams so bright?

What star is this, with beams so bright,
more beauteous than the noonday light?
It shines to herald forth the King,
and Gentiles to his crib to bring.

True spake the prophet from afar
who told the rise of Jacob’s star;
and eastern sages with amaze
upon the wondrous token gaze.

The guiding star above is bright;
within them shines a clearer light,
and leads them on with power benign
to seek the Giver of the sign.

To God the Father, heavenly Light,
to Christ, revealed in earthly night,
to God the Holy Ghost we raise
our equal and unceasing praise.

–Words: Charles Coffin, 1736; trans. John Chandler, 1837, alt.
–Tune: PUER NOBIS (15th century)

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What star is this, with beams so bright

What star is this, with beams so bright,
more beauteous than the noonday light?
It shines to herald forth the King,
and Gentiles to his crib to bring.

True spake the prophet from afar
who told the rise of Jacob’s star;
and eastern sages with amaze
upon the wondrous token gaze.

The guiding star above is bright;
within them shines a clearer light,
and leads them on with power benign
to seek the Giver of the sign.

O Jesus, while the star of grace
impels us on to seek thy face,
let not our slothful hearts refuse
the guidance of thy light to use.

To God the Father, heavenly Light,
to Christ, revealed in earthly night,
to God the Holy Ghost we raise
our equal and unceasing praise.

–Words: Charles Coffin (1676-1749)
–Music: Puer Nobis, melody from Trier MS, 15th century

TheStarofBethlehem-1

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As with gladness men of old

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 Lord, may we
evermore be led to thee.

As with joyful steps they sped
to that lowly manger-bed;
there to bend the knee before
him whom heaven and earth adore;
so may we with willing feet
ever seek the mercy seat.

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.

Holy Jesus! every day
keep us in the narrow way;
and, when earthly things are past,
bring our ransomed souls at last
where they need no star to guide,
where no clouds thy glory hide.

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.

Words: William Chatterton Dix (1837-1898), 1860
Tune: Dix (Conrad Kocher, 1786-1872, arranged William Henry Monk, 1823-1889)

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The Journey of the Magi

‘A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.’
And the camels galled, sorefooted, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
and running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kiking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arriving at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you might say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

–By T.S. Eliot

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As with gladness men of old

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 Lord, may we
evermore be led to thee.

As with joyful steps they sped
to that lowly manger-bed;
there to bend the knee before
him whom heaven and earth adore;
so may we with willing feet
ever seek thy mercy seat.

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.

Holy Jesus! every day
keep us in the narrow way;
and, when earthly things are past,
bring our ransomed souls at last
where they need no star to guide,
where no clouds thy glory hide.

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.

Words: William Chatterton Dix (1837-1898), 1860
Tune: Dix (Conrad Kocher, 1786-1872, arranged William Henry Monk, 1823-1889)

–From the album Noël: Christmas at Kings, performed by the Choir of Kings College, Cambridge

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The Transfiguration of Christ

“Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!’ Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.”

From The Gospel of Mark, 9:2-9, New Revised Standard Version.

Christ upon the mountain peak
stands alone in glory blazing;
let us, if we dare to speak,
with the saints and angels praise him.
Alleluia!

Trembling at his feet we saw
Moses and Elijah speaking.
All the prophets and the Law
shout through them their joyful greeting.
Alleluia!

Swift the cloud of glory came.
God proclaiming in its thunder
Jesus as his Son by name!
Nations cry aloud in wonder!
Alleluia!

This is God’s beloved Son!
Law and prophets fade before him;
first and last and only One,
let creation now adore him!
Alleluia!

“Christ, Upon the Mountain Peak” from the album Evensong for Epiphany, sung by the Grace Cathedral Choir.

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