6 January – Epiphany, Years A, B & C

Here are the resources you need for Epiphany. Please feel free to choose what is suitable for your congregation’s needs. You will notice that the orders of service are available in different formats: choose the “pdf” format if you want something that is ready to print and photocopy, the “doc” or “rtf” format if you wish to change the formatting yourself or the “ppt” format if you use PowerPoint.

Epiphany may fall on any day of the week. When it falls on a weekday, many congregations celebrate it on the Sunday before or after. However, it should not regularly replace the Baptism of our Lord (the First Sunday after Epiphany), and neither should it overshadow the celebration of Christmas. The LCA’s Department of Liturgics suggests the following guideline: ‘That Epiphany be celebrated either on 6 January or on the Sunday between 2 January and 8 January, and that the Baptism of our Lord be omitted when Epiphany is celebrated on a Sunday after 6 January’.

  • Altar colour: White
  • Bible readings:
    FIRST READING Isaiah 60:1-6 The nations will come to the light
    PSALM Psalm 72:1-7,10-14
    SECOND READING Ephesians 3:1-12 God reveals his age-long purpose in Christ
    GOSPEL Matthew 2:1-12 Wise men worship Christ the king
  • Notes on the readings
    ISAIAH 60:1-6: This part of the book of Isaiah talks repeatedly about the return of God’s people to Jerusalem from their captivity in Babylon. This particular prophecy reaches out far further, however. It predicts a world-wide flow of converts into the church. The peoples are in the darkness of sin. Those who come into God’s presence in the new order will reflect God’s brightness in their lives. The closer one draws near to Christ, the more his light shines through one’s life. Gold and frankincense remind the Christian of the wise men of Matthew chapter 2. They were harbingers of the later migration of nations into God’s kingdom through Christ.EPHESIANS 3.1-12: Prophecies such as in the previous reading pointed to all nations receiving God’s grace. Paul here shows how God has brought this secret purpose into visible reality by taking the gospel to non-Jews. Paul’s special apostleship was for this very purpose. He gladly suffered Roman imprisonment because this served God’s design from the beginning, namely that the Gentiles should have equal blessings in the kingdom without having to become Jews.

    MATTHEWS 2:1-12: The infant Jesus is recognised by the famous of the world in this reading. Wise men, versed in the law, religion and astrology of the East, made the long journey to Jerusalem. Perhaps they knew prophecies through the heritage of Daniel from his days in Babylon. Led on by the star, they offered their worship upon finding the infant ‘King’. They were not put off by the let-down of their reception at Jerusalem, nor by the humble circumstances of the parents at Bethlehem. They offered gifts that were lavishly fit for a king.

  • Sermons:
    Lay-readers please note: the linked sermons have not been edited for general use. As part of your preparations, keep in mind that they have been written for specific people in a specific context, and for this reason the issues they address or the examples they use may not be entirely suitable for people in your congregation. If you feel this is the case, you may need to make minor adjustments or find another sermon.

    Based on gospel: Pr Lloyd Boughen ; Pr David Christian ; Pr Heath Pukallus ; edited for lay reading sermon – matt 2 1-12 – year c – epiphany
    Based on first reading: Pr Vince Gerhardy
    Based on second reading:  NEW edited for lay reading sermon – ephesians 3 6-12 – year b – epiphany
  • Orders of service:
    Epiphany Jan 6 Sunday Word and Prayer ( pdf / doc / rtf/ ppt )
    Service of the Word (pdf / rtf/ ppt)
    Morning Praise (pdf/ rtf/ ppt)
    Service without communion (pdf / doc /ppt )
    Service orders with holy communion
    Service with communion (page 6) (pdf / doc / ppt)
    Alternative form A (page 58) (pdf / doc/ ppt)
    Sing the Feast (Chataway) (pdf / doc/ ppt)
    Simplified Spoken (pdf / doc/ ppt)
    Service with Five Songs of Faith (pdf / rtf/ ppt)
  • Prayer of the Day (Collect): Choose one of the following
    O God,
    as you revealed your only Son
    to the nations
    by the leading of a star:
    Grant that we who know you now by faith
    may be led to see you in your glory;
    through your Son,
    Jesus Christ our Lord,
    who lives and reigns
    with you and the Holy Spirit,
    one God, now and forever.
    Amen.OR, modernised traditional
    Lord God,
    you revealed your only Son to the nations by the leading of a star.
    Lead us, who know you now by faith,to see you in your glory.
    We ask this through your Son,Jesus Christ our Lord,
    who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
    one God, now and forever.
    Amen.OR, new (revised alternative)
    (Let us pray that people of all nations come to faith in Christ. [silence])
    Eternal God,
    you led the wise men by the shining of a star
    to adore your Son.
    Guide the nations by his light,
    so that the whole world sees your glory.
    We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord,
    who lives and reigns
    with you and the Holy Spirit,
    one God, now and forever.
  • Prayer after the gospel:
    This is the gospel of the Lord.
    Praise to you, O Christ (, Light of the world).
    Lord Jesus, thank you for revealing yourself to the Gentiles,
    so that they could worship you.
    Lead us also to worship you.

  • Children’s address Epiphany B
  • Offering Prayer:
    Thank you, Lord, for shining on us
    with the brightness of your presence.
    Lead us always to worship Christ our king,
    and to reflect your light to others
    by lives of loving service.
  • Prayer of the Church/ General Prayer: Epiphany A or Prayer of the Church – Epiphany C
  • Resources for services with Holy Communion
    It is indeed right and good,
    Lord God, holy Father,
    that we should at all times and in all places
    give thanks to you,
    through Jesus Christ our Lord.
    You have sent your only Son
    to appear among us as a human being,
    and through him
    you have fully revealed
    the light of your presence to us.
    And so, with angels and archangels,
    and with all the company of heaven,
    we adore and praise your glorious name:COMMUNION INVITATION
    Jesus says: ‘I am the living bread
    that came down from heaven.
    The bread that I will give you is my flesh,
    which I give so that the world may live.’
    (Thanks be to God.)
    Come, everything is ready.PRAYER AFTER COMMUNIONHeavenly Father,
    in the beginning you created light
    and at the right time
    you sent your Son
    to be the true light of the world.
    Through the gift of his body and blood,
    shine in our hearts and lives,
    so that we may share
    in the inheritance of all the saints in the light.
    For he lives and reigns
    with you and the Holy Spirit,
    one God, now and forever.

    Or the third prayer of the day (as listed above) may be used at this point. It may be modified as follows.

    Eternal God,
    you led the wise men by the shining of a star
    to adore your Son.
    Guide the nations by his light,
    so that the whole world sees your glory,
    and gathers at his table
    in the feast of heaven.
    For he lives and reigns
    with you and the Holy Spirit,
    one God, now and forever.
    This seasonal blessing is used together with (ie before) the usual blessing in the order of service.

    God the Father
    show you the light of his glory
    in the face of his Son,
    so that you may be a light to the world; . . .

    Go in peace. Live your life in joyful homage to Christ the king.
    Thanks be to God. OR In the name of Christ. Amen.

  • Song/Hymn suggestions: * =  Modernised version available (please click here to go to the Modernised hymns page) ;G3, G4 . . . =  Guitar chords available in the Music Package 3, 4 . . .; GS =  Guitar chords in the Supplement to LH
    First reading: Isaiah 60:1-6

    16    Hail to the Lord’s Anointed G6 (mod – TIS 275)
    43    Gentiles, rise to greet the morning G7
    45    Hail, Thou source of every blessing* G4
    222    Thou whose almighty word G6 (mod – TIS 447)
    126    The light of Christ
    217    Shine, Jesus, shine / Lord the light of your love
    221    They were waiting
    315    Drawn to the light
    389    Light of the nations
    275    Hail to the Lord’s anointed
    447    Lord, your almighty word
    566    Lord Jesus, if the same you are
    675    Lord, the light of your love is shining / Shine, Jesus, shineSecond reading: Ephesians 3:1-12

    38    In peace and joy I now depart* G4
    41    O Jesus, King of glory* G4
    44    Thou light of gentile nations* G4
    45    Hail, Thou source of every blessing* G4
    47    Songs of thankfulness and praise* G4
    799    In Christ there is no east or west G7 (also TIS 459)
    898    Now Lord, you let your servant go GS
    900    O Lord, now let your servant G6
    104    Now, Lord, you let your servant go
    164    The great love of God
    324    Lord, bid your servant go in peace
    459    In Christ there is no east or west
    636    God has spoken to his people
    733    Lord God, you now have set your servant freeGospel: Matthew 2:1-12

    16    Hail to the Lord’s Anointed G6 (mod – TIS 275)
    29    Come, your hearts and voices raising G4 (mod – TIS 297)
    40    As with gladness men of old G7 (mod – TIS 314)
    42    Earth has many a noble city* G4 (mod – TIS 291)
    46    Angels from the realms of glory G7 (also TIS 309)
    147    O Morning Star, so bright and fair* G3 (mod – TIS 199)
    744    The first Nowell G7 (5 verses) (also TIS 301)
    746    What child is this
    749    When Christ’s appearing was made known G6
    751    Wise men, they came to look for wisdom G6
    199    I know where I’m going
    221    They were waiting
    315    Drawn by the light
    371    We are all the wise men
    199    Lord Jesus, our bright Morning Star
    275    Hail to the Lord’s anointed
    291    Earth has many a noble city
    297    Come, your hearts and voices raising
    301    The first Nowell (6 verses)
    304    O come, all ye faithful (esp v 4)
    307    The Virgin Mary had a baby boy
    309    Angels from the realms of glory
    310    Brightest and best of the stars of the morning
    314    As with gladness men of old
    454    Worship the Lord in the beauty of holinessNEW HYMNS
    Star over Bethlehem By Alfred Hans Zoller, 1963. Translated by L Grope, sung to any of the following tunes: Old 124th LH 282, TIS 79; Ellers LH 514; Trisagion LHS 865)Star over Bethlehem, point us the way,
    show us where Jesus lies in manger hay.
    By your bright guiding light us to him bring;
    Star over Bethlehem, show us our King.

    Star over Bethlehem, now you stand still
    and God’s great miracle to us reveal;
    beyond all human thought, a wondrous sight,
    Star over Bethlehem, this silent night!

    Star over Bethlehem, you we extol,
    for in this humble stall we’ve reached our goal.
    Our thanks to you we say, God’s gracious guide,
    Star over Bethlehem, here we’ll abide.

    Star over Bethlehem, when we return,
    let your bright heavenly light yet for us burn.
    The joy that fills our hearts we’ll gladly share;
    Star over Bethlehem, shine everywhere.

    Phos hilaron An ancient evening hymn, especially suitable for Epiphany. Two versions are given here, both recast by David Schütz. Two other versions may be found in Together in Song: AHB II, nos 191, 255.

    Version I: Sung to any suitable 8 8 8 8 metre hymn or song tune.

    O joyful, holy, glorious light,
    our blessed Saviour Jesus Christ,
    now from the eternal Father come
    and shine upon us in the night.

    Now that the sun begins to set
    and all grows dark as evening falls,
    we gather once again for prayer
    to praise you Father, Spirit, Son.

    In every place and every time,
    with all that shares your gift of life,
    we rightly join in holy song
    to praise your light, O Son of God.

    Version II: Tr. John Brownlie, alt. by David Schütz; tune: Herr ich habe misgehandelt, LHS 78).

    Light serene of holy glory
    from th’ Immortal Father poured,
    you are holy, blessed Jesus,
    holy, blessed Christ the Lord.
    Now we see the sun descending,
    now we light the light of ev’ning.

    Now, in hymns we praise the Father,
    Son and Spirit, God of might.
    Worthy, Lord, of endless praises!
    You are Christ, the Lord of Life!
    All the world gives thanks together
    for your gift of life forever.

    Hostis Herodes impie By C Sedulius, c. 450. The following translation is based on that done by Percy Dearmer. The suggested tune is Die ganze Welt (LH 532) or Erhalt uns, Herr (LH 197, TIS 436).

    Why, tyrant Herod, should you fear
    because the Christ has come so near?
    He who can heavenly kingdoms grant,
    your earthly realm could never want.

    The wise men from the east are gone
    to where the star has newly shone:
    led on by light to Light they press,
    and by their gifts their God confess.

    The Lamb of God is manifest
    again in Jordan’s water blest,
    and he who sin had never known
    by washing has our sins undone.

    Yet he who rules o’er ev’rything
    can change the nature of the spring,
    and gives at Cana this first sign:
    the water reddens into wine.

    Then glory, Lord, to you we pay
    for your epiphany today;
    all glory through eternity
    to Father, Son and Spirit be.

    The following hymn by Stephen Pietsch may be sung to the tune Kingsfold, LHS 306, TIS 585, AT 137.

    O Jesus of the manger low,
    I long to worship you,
    as kings and shepherds bowed in awe,
    so I would worship too.
    Yes, heaven’s royal Son has come
    to share our common birth.
    The Lord of all the universe
    is hushed to sleep on earth.

    O Jesus of the dusty road,
    I long to walk with you.
    Yes, Lord, wherever you may lead
    obediently I go.
    The King of heaven travels through
    both field and city street,
    no path too rough or stony for
    the Saviour’s holy feet.

    O Jesus of the stormy lake,
    I long to hear you say
    those words ‘Be still, fear not’ that make
    the winds and waves obey.
    The one who set the sea its bounds,
    who spread the oceans out,
    now sternly rules creation from
    a humble fishing boat.

    O Jesus Christ of Calvary,
    I long to watch with you.
    The cross of wood you bear for me
    now let me carry too.
    The holy one is lifted high,
    for all the world to jeer.
    The giver of all life must die
    a death of shame and fear.

    O Jesus risen from the tomb!
    I long to see your face;
    to join with that great crowd of saints,
    from every tribe and race.
    Together then, before the throne,
    your holy name we’ll raise:
    the Lamb of God is worthy to
    receive all power and praise.

    More song/hymn suggestions for Epiphany:
    All of the hymns in the Epiphany sections of the Lutheran Hymnal with Supplement (37-47, 747-751) will be suitable for this day, but be aware that they will also be applicable for the following Sundays, so don’t use them all at once! Here are a few suggestions for their use:
    37    O wondrous type*     Use this one for Transfiguration.
    38    In peace and joy I now depart*     Especially relevant to the festival of the Presentation (2 Feb). It may also be used as a post-communion canticle.
    39    O Christ, thou Lord eternal*    A beautiful, general Epiphany hymn, notable in that it is one of the few very early Reformation hymns written by a woman.
    40    As with gladness men of old     The classic Epiphany carol. Use this one as an offertory or pre-communion hymn.
    41    O Jesus, king of glory*     The heading in the Hymnal suggests that this is based on Matt 2:1-12, but really it is much more general, and can be used throughout the season.
    42    Earth has many a noble city*   Use this one on Epiphany itself.
    43    Gentiles, rise to greet the morning    An opening hymn for use in a morning service.
    44    Thou light of gentile nations*     A hymn for the festival of the Presentation (2 Feb). Especially appropriate in the evening or as a closing hymn, it may also be used for the post-communion canticle.
    45    Hail, thou source of every blessing*     Use this for an opening hymn, or for a pre-communion hymn.
    46    Angels from the realms of glory   A Christmas carol that doubles for an Epiphany hymn on the basis of verse 3. Note the traditional French tune Iris, not in LH, with the refrain ‘Gloria in excelsis Deo!’ which is probably better known. See the Oxford Book of Carols, or other popular Christmas carol book, or TIS.
    47    Songs of thankfulness and praise*    Use as a hymn of the day or even of the season. Covers all the Epiphany seasonal themes from the old 1-year lectionary.
    747    How good, Lord, to be here    Save this one for Transfiguration
    748    When Christ our Lord to Jordan came    Save this one for First Sunday after Epiphany (Baptism of our Lord), unless observing Epiphany on this day.
    749    When Christ’s appearing was made known   Covers the traditional Epiphany and post-Epiphany themes according to the old 1-year lectionary: Wise men, baptism of Jesus, changing water into wine.
    750    When Jesus lived among us    Applicable for the whole season from Christmas to Transfiguration. Note especially the transition into the Lenten theme in the last verse. The last verse also makes it a good pre-communion hymn.
    751    Wise men, they came    This one is probably best used on Epiphany itself. It could be a good offertory hymn.
    *Modernised version available

    17    Emmanuel: God is with us
    104    Now, Lord, you let your servant go
    126    The light of Christ    Any songs to do with the light of Christ are appropriate.
    128    I am the light of the world   Probably the most appropriate of all the light-theme songs, this one is a good sending-out song.
    132    Anna’s song
    137    I heard the voice of Jesus
    141    Mary’s child
    162    King of kings and Lord of lords
    165    He is the King of kings   These choruses are appropriate for Epiphany. If a procession is held at Epiphany, these are easy to remember and could be sung for as long as the procession takes.
    199    I know where I’m going   Not a well-known song, but suitable for a soloist to sing at Epiphany.
    214    The Lord is my light
    217    Shine, Jesus, shine
    221    They were waiting  This may seem like an Advent hymn, but the second half of each verse proclaims the Advent as an accomplished event. Verse three touches on the wise men.
    239    Listen to him
    244    We have seen the Word of life (v 4)
    262    Shine on me, Lord
    307    Walking in the light of God (It is a great thing)
    313    Christ, be our light
    315    Drawn to the light
    344    The New Road (esp vv 1-4, 8 )
    358    Gift to the world   Theme of gift-giving, a good offertory.
    371    Singing glory   OK for Christmas, excellent for Epiphany. Perhaps could be used for the hymn of adoration (instead of Gloria).
    389    Light of the nations   Especially good for the festival of the Presentation (2 Feb). Could be used as a response to prayers.
    400    Deep peace
    402    God has chosen me
    409    We are marching in the light of God
    425    God moving
    441    Jesus was sent
    604   No-one does the things my Lord…
    623   Shine on us
    673   Community in Christ

    PSALM 72
    A paraphrased version of Psalm 72 from the Iona Community may be found in John L Bell, Psalms of patience, protest and praise on page 37.

    Another metrical version of Psalm 72:1-7,10-14, by David Schütz, is given here to be sung to the tune Dix (LH 40, TIS 314). If reproducing this version, please put ‘Words (c) David Schütz’ at the beginning or the end of the psalm.

    Give the King your justice, God,
    give his son your righteousness.
    With your righteous justice, Lord,
    he will act for those oppressed.
    So the fruit of justice spills
    from the mountains and the hills.

    He will crush those who oppress,
    use his power to save the poor.
    He’ll endure like sun and moon
    through the ages evermore.
    Like the rain upon the field,
    justice brings a prosperous yield.

    May the rulers of the isles
    and the kings of Sheba bring
    tribute to our sovereign Lord,
    gifts of homage to our King.
    May all kings and nations fall
    down before the King of all!

    He will hear the needy cry,
    help the helpless in distress.
    He’ll take pity on the weak,
    save his people close to death.
    He will save them in the fight.
    They are precious in his sight.

    Music Resources Vol. 3- Psalm settings : Psalm 72 p120

    While the LCA does not necessarily endorse the content of these websites, you may find them helpful in your worship planning.
    Small Church Music:
    You can download mp3 and midi files of popular hymn tunes from this site.
    Together to Celebrate
    : lectionary based song and hymn suggestions from a variety of sources.
    Singing from the Lectionary: has song and hymn suggestions based on the RCL from other hymnals.
    Song Select: you can search for more contemporary songs by theme. If your congregation has a paid subscription you can also download sheet music.
    Hymns Without Words: mp3 downloads of hymn tunes.
    Song and Hymn Index. Contains all the indexes of the LHS and AT books in one Excel file. Download the file (zip file) here.
    Metrical Psalms
    by Dale Schoening : Psalms set to well known hymn tunes.
    Keyboard Accompaniments for Together in Song – CDs are available for purchase through ACR. CD 1 & 2 ; CD 3 & 4.







1 comment to 6 January – Epiphany, Years A, B & C

  • Trevor Becker

    Hi There,

    I have found your service preparation material most helpful. I have had the priveledge of being Lay Reader at St John’s Wilsonton since my father retired from the position in the ’70s. (He had been instructed for the task by Pastor Rogge who was interned during WW2).
    The preparation was then of course much different, as I have seen quite a change in resources during that time. Thank you for your help and many thanks to all the Pastors who contribute their work for us to use; it is appreciated.

    Kindest Regards,
    Trevor Becker.
    (Elder, Former Parish Chairman).