Epiphany of the Lord
Note: Use "Second Sunday" scriptures when Ephiphany (January 6) is celebrated on a weekday following the Second Sunday after Christmas Day.
|Isaiah 60:1-6||Rise and shine!||511: Am I a Soldier of the Cross
513: Soldiers of Christ, Arise
514: Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus
|Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14||A prayer for just leaders||675: As the Sun Doth Daily Rise
731: Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken
|Matthew 2:1-12||The visit of the Magi||219: What Child Is This
254: We Three Kings
626: Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence
|Ephesians 3:1-12||Israel and gentiles--all one body||550: Christ, from Whom All Blessings
575: Onward, Christian Soldiers
Today will be the first day since the 1900s that many Christians around the world will share in the sacrament of Holy Communion. 1999 years have come and gone since Jesus Christ's birth, and we are embarking on the journey through Anno Domini 2000--another Year of Our Lord. The Word was made flesh all of those years ago. The Word dwelt among us in the flesh for over thirty years. Before His trial, Christ broke the bread and shared it with His disciples saying, "Do this in remembrance of me." Those who have gone before us have been faithful in this instruction. May we, too, be found faithful, such that Our Lord will continue to be shared through this deep and mysterious sacrament for yet another 2000 years.
Little is recorded about this week's featured hymn. Written by Charles Wesley, O Thou Who This Mysterious Bread is a marvelous hymn of communion. This sacrament is often associated with "The Last Supper," but Wesley starts the hymn by changing our perspective. Although Christ shared the last supper with His disciples in the upper room, Wesley does not focus on that event. Instead, he begins the hymn after the resurrection, when Christ shared what I call the first supper with his followers in Emmaus. Verse by verse and line by line, Wesley takes us through Christ's return, the opening of our eyes, and the burning flames of love within our hearts as we partake of the bread and hear the words of our Lord.
With the end of the 1900s and the arrival of Anno Domini 2000, it is a good time to remember the lesson that Wesley recognized in the story of Emmaus. Communion is just as important to beginnings as it is to the past. Consider what is beginning--and what can begin--in your life and your world as you read the words of this hymn:
|1. O Thou who this mysterious bread
didst in Emmaus break,
return, herewith our souls to feed
and to thy followers speak.
|2. Unseal the volume of thy grace,
apply the gospel word;
open our eyes to see thy face,
our hearts to know the Lord.
|3. Of thee communing still, we mourn
till thou the veil remove;
talk with us, and our hearts shall burn
with flames of fervent love.
|4. Enkindle now the heavenly zeal,
and make thy mercy known,
and give our pardoned souls to feel
that God and love are one.
The breaking of the bread reminded the believers in Emmaus of Christ's command to remember Him, and their hearts burned because of Christ's life and love within them. As we share in the sacrament of Holy Communion, may we begin this year filled with the same life and love in our hearts, the heavenly zeal kindled in us, confident in the mercy of God's salvation.
God bless you--
Lection at HymnSite.com
|Passages suggested are from The Revised Common Lectionary: Consultation on Common Texts (Abingdon Press, 1992) copyright © by the Consultation on Common Texts (CCT), P.O. Box 340003, Room 381, Nashville TN 37203-0003. Reprinted with permission of CCT.|