Epiphany -- In the Light of God, En la luz de Dios

Celebrating the Festival of Epiphany, Día de Reyes
Last Sunday after Christmas or Epiphany

In the darkness of night, the Magi were directed by a bright light to Bethlehem. Coming from the heavens, the light led them to the child Jesus, the Messiah. God helped the Magi to fulfill their mission. Even though they were strangers in a strange land, even though they were tired and fatigued, they didn't give up their mission.

In life, we too take different roads to fulfill our dreams and hopes. When we trust in God, the Spirit guides us. We are called to hear the voice of God, follow the light, and journey everyday in faith.

In the Christian Hispanic community, the day of Epiphany or Día de Reyes is a time of great celebration, gift giving, and devout prayers. Although written primarily in English, this service draws from and recognizes that rich tradition. Prepare for the service by creating a large cut-out star with streamers of paper and attach to the end of a pole. (This star will lead the Magi to the front of the sanctuary during the reading of Matthew 2:1–12.) Invite three youth or adults to dress as the Magi, the wise ones from the ancient East. Also invite children to the service and to bring gifts for the "Magi," who in turn, may give them to others in need.

Prelude

(During the prelude, adults and youth may bring gifts and put them near a Christmas tree or a crèche/nativity scene. Children will bring their gifts later in the service.)

Call to Worship

One: The Magi followed a star seeking the Messiah. With joy, God calls us to tell the Good News today!

People: Play the drums and flutes! The Messiah is born! Praise God!

One: God's star in the east leads our caravan. From distant lands, different cities and countries, different cultures and languages, we come here today with gratitude.

People: Play the drums and flutes! The Messiah is born! Praise God!

One: Eh! Melchior, one among the Magi, we all want to go to Bethlehem to worship the Messiah. Take us with you to see Jesus!

People: Play the güiros, the maracas, the flutes, the drums and the tambourines! The Messiah is born!! Alleluia!

WoMen: The Messiah is born!

Men: The Messiah is born!

A child or youth: The Messiah is born!

Opening Prayer

One: O, Spirit of the Living God who lives in all of us, accept our prayers. Like the Magi, we come here today to offer you our lives. We do not bring incense, myrrh, and gold like the Magi did. We bring our spirits, souls, and bodies. In one voice, we sing our prayer to you.

Hymn "Los magos que llegaron a Belén (The Magi who to Bethlehem)" TNCH 155

Call to Confession

One: O, Spirit of the Living God, hear us as we pray.

People: O, Spirit of the Living God, we confess our sins. Speak to us and we will listen to your voice. You want us free of sins. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Words of Assurance

One: Living God, fill us with your Spirit, the Spirit of the Messiah, and the Spirit of Justice. Living God, fill us with your Spirit of compassion and forgiveness that brings peace, happiness, and joy to our lives. In name of Jesus, Amen.

Passing of the Peace

As a sign of reconciliation with God and each other, all may greet those around them with an embrace or a handshake, accompanied by such words as: "The peace of God be with you," and the response: "And also with you."

Prayer of Illumination

One: O, Spirit of the Living God who lives in all of us, inspire us by your word so we can be a source of life for ourselves and for others. Illumine us with your holy Word. In Christ we pray, Amen.

Scripture Readings

Ephesians 3:1–12
Matthew 2:1–12

(During the reading of Matthew 2:1–12, a child or other person moves from the back of the sanctuary to the front of the church carrying the star. The three Magi follow. A special song may also be sung by a soloist or the choir. An interpretative dance incorporating the star might also be performed at this time. The dancers might place shiney stars on the communion table or at the crèche. Conclude with singing the following response.)

Response to the Reading of the Scripture: "Halleluja" TNCH 236

Sermon

General Offering

(Special music may be played at this time or, if not performed earlier, an interpretive dance might occur.)

The Three Magi Offering

(During the offering, all children may come to the front of the sanctuary, offer their gifts to the Magi, and speak about their gifts. Special music may also be played.)

Hymn "Hark! the Herald Angels Sing (Jesus the Light of the World)" TNCH 160

Commissioning

One: Go and speak to others. Share the peace and justice. May the light of the Messiah brighten your life. And now, the peace of God, the power of Jesus, the presence of the Holy Spirit, and my love go with all of you today. Amen.

TNCH refers to hymns or resources from The New Century Hymnal (Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 1995). Similar resources may be found in other hymnals.

This service was prepared by Edward Rivera-Santiago, Minister of Evangelism for Local Church Development and Renewal, Evangelism Ministry Team, Local Church Ministries, United Church of Christ in Cleveland, Ohio. You may reach him at 216.736.3819 or by e-mail at riverase@ucc.org.

Copyright 2003 Evangelism Ministry Team, Local Church Ministries, United Church of Christ, Cleveland. Permission is granted to reproduce or adapt this material for use in services of worship or church education. All publishing rights reserved. Designed and printed by United Church Resources, Local Church Ministries.

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CONTACT INFO

Rev. Susan A. Blain
Minister for Worship, Liturgy and Spiritual Formation
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland,Ohio 44115
216-736-3869
blains@ucc.org

Rev. Scott A. Ressman
Minister for Worship, Music and Liturgical Arts
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland,Ohio 44115
216-736-3870
ressmans@ucc.org