thinking out loud

…things that are on my mind, heart, and soul

1.9.11 Worship Confessional

This morning felt the first Sunday of the new year. Our community of faith has been scattered over the past three weeks and it was good to have everyone back together after the Christmas and New Years’ holidays.

We took time in worship to focus on the feast of Epiphany. The more I think about this feast, the more surprised I am at the lack of attention it receives in most churches. Ruth Haley Barton of the Transforming Center writes this about Epiphany:

“Today is the feast of the Epiphany—the day when the Church commemorates the journey of the wise men to seek the Christ child.  On this day we celebrate their arrival at the manger with longing in their hearts and gifts appropriate for the One who would be our king, our priest, and our Savior. Epiphany is the culminating event of the Christmas season in which we celebrate the “showing forth” of God’s presence to unlikely people in unlikely places.  In yet another strange twist to the Christmas story, it was pagan astrologers who were among the first and most venerated visitors to the manger. Although theirs was an occupation that was expressly forbidden in Jewish law (it was the modern-day equivalent of those who read and interpret horoscopes), they were welcomed and their gifts were received!”

Epiphany recognizes that the light of Christ has come to Jew and Gentile alike. And the last I looked, most of us in the Church today are Gentiles. Epiphany is our day!

To press deeper into this truth, we created an Epiphany Litany that consisted of the congregation singing “Star of Wonder” (the chorus of “We Three Kings”) intermingled with readings from Matthew 2 and Isaiah 60 and concluding with this prayer:

Lord Jesus Christ, who came as our light and the redeemer of our world, reveal yourself to all those who still live in darkness.  May they see your power at work in their lives and be filled with the hope of your presence.  May they come to follow you, our God, who is with us and will remain with us this day and forever.

We had planned to sing Matt Redman’s “Light of the World” as a follow-up to this litany, but we had a time issue and unfortunately it had to be cut at the last moment. It is a tremendous Epiphany song!

The rest of our worship set included:

  • Song of Hope (Robbie Seay Band)
  • Your Grace Is Enough (Matt Maher)
  • Joyful (Brenton Brown)
  • Amazing Grace/My Chains Are Gone (Chris Tomlin)

Learn what other communities of faith experienced this weekend in worship at The Worship Community.

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about me

my name is terry and i've been married to a great woman, patty for 29 years and we have four children, (ranging from 17-25) and an awesome grandson. i serve as lead pastor of christ community church of the south hills in pittsburgh, pa (lets go pens!). i am currently working on a book on worship with a working title of "a movable feast: a liturgy for our everyday, ordinary lives."

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