A contemplative epiphany service
Behold, the glistening sign of hope.
A distant but shining star is
cupped by the darkness
that gently holds
Do we dare to feel its warming glow
in these days so cold with fear?
Do we dare to wonder where it leads us,
or choose the path we know?
The Holy has painted possibility
across the night sky.
It flickers with potential,
trembles with vulnerability,
shimmers with beauty, still.
The journey is before us.
A new day is born.
Holy Guide, the entire cosmos is a messenger of your love. You write it in the stars. You plant it in the soil. You nurture it in the life of all creatures. May we be open to perceiving that we might know and feel your presence with us. Amen.
Lighting the Christ candle for epiphany
Throughout the season of Advent, we waited in the rich darkness of winter. In the heart of all that is unknown, all that troubles, all that is still unsettled, Christ was born. With joy, we welcomed Emmanuel, God with us.
God has come as a baby, dependent and vulnerable, in need of nurturing, support and solidarity, and faithful companions through the days and years ahead.
As we light this candle, we remember that incarnation is an ever-unfolding promise. God’s presence is still being born among us today.
And so, as we remember that Christ still takes on flesh among the vulnerable:
We pray for political refugees and all those who are targeted by the state.
As we remember that Christ still takes on flesh among the children of the world:
We pray for those in our community,
those especially vulnerable to COVID,
those without loving homes, or with other essential needs unmet.
As we remember that Christ still takes on flesh among the economically, religiously, ethnically, and gender oppressed:
We pray for the transformation of systems that exploit.
We pray for the redistribution of goods for the care of all.
We pray for the courage to divest from violent institutions.
Christ is still taking on flesh today, still calling us to their side, calling us to say yes to journeys toward greater hope, and calling us to trust, even through grief and peril, in the faithfulness of love.
May it be so among us.
Scripture reading – Matthew 2:1-12
There were rumors circulating of a profound event.
A fulfillment of sorts,
the birth of a new era –
one of freedom from colonizing forces
of thrones crumbling
of hungers satisfied.
A dangerous hope unfolding.
In such times,
the wise ones were always looking to the sky.
The deep longings within
turned their gaze to the infinite.
Paying attention to patterns,
keeping watch for signs of change,
noticing the way everything shapes everything.
Something caught their eye.
Something stirred their spirits.
Something called them to set off
in the direction of an unfamiliar land.
those who are lured
by hints and gestures of what could be.
Prayer/invitation to offering
God of Wonder, at times we are taken aback by the calling of love. It can feel so radical – to profess and believe that we each have an offering to bring. That we are all essential. That there is enough grace and communion along the way. But like the wise ones, we desire to rise courageously to your beckoning. Bringing our gifts, bearing together the challenges of love’s way.
May we encourage one another on this shared journey.
May we be confident in what we bring.
May our offerings be blessed. Be received with delight. Be enough.
As we bring our offerings together in care for this community and our neighbors, may we reflect also on all God calls us to be and to bring to the service of love and liberation.
The story of God is a sacred telling
of the ordinary wonders of life –
of miracles birthed in the dark of night,
of guiding wisdom lifted to us like the soft light of a star.
This story of hope,
ancient and still unfolding,
holy and bewildering,
holds us in the infinite mysteries of cosmic love
from which each of us are born and
to which each of us will return.
So, take heart
and look to the earth’s heavens with awe.
Look to the face of your neighbor with care.
Look to the flesh of your own precious life.
All made of stardust.
All woven into the story.
All calling us home.
Love is already here.
God of Flourishing, God of Justice,
May we be so bold to believe
that you have made your dwelling place among us.
May we honor every encounter with the sacred
within and around
that we may take comfort in your presence
and take courage in your power
as we continue this journey with faith.
May it be so.
Searching for a glimpse of change,
seeking liberation from colonizing forces,
the magi journeyed,
crossing foreign lands and borders
with only a star as their guide.
The same glimmer of hope
that guided their way
calls to us today.
Through night skies and morning dew.
Through community and in silent meditation.
Through songs, ancient and new.
Through art and bodies and creation.
Through collectives of people who dare to break rules
in the direction of a better world.
It calls us
to come and share our resources equitably,
to come and delight in love enfleshed,
to come and join in the spirit of deliverance
birthed far from the centers of power.
At the birth-site of God,
the way is revealed.
– Rev. M Jade Kaiser, enfleshed