Opening prayer for an Epiphany Service by Paul Bagshaw

Infant God, Christ-child, Light of all creation,

be with us now.

Cradle us in your small fingers;

grant us a smile and we shall be blessed;

accept, we ask, the gifts we bring

and do not count our frailties against us,

infant King.

Infant Jesus, Ancient of Days new-born,

our beginning and our end,

God with us,

be with us now.


A responsorial form of Psalm 98 for Epiphany (NRSV, Anglicized) by Paul Bagshaw

This was created with a church in mind which had two banks of pews, one to the left and one to the right of a central aisle.

Leader:

O sing to the Lord a new song,

   for he has done marvellous things.

His right hand and his holy arm

   have gained him victory.

Left:

We will sing new songs,
songs of wonder and of praise

Right:

The old will be made new
and we will delight in new songs.

Leader:

The Lord has made known his victory;

   he has revealed his vindication

   in the sight of the nations.

He has remembered his steadfast love

   and faithfulness to the house of Israel.

Left:

The Lord has come to us as an infant.
He will keep faith with us for everlasting.

Right

He has come to us as an infant
and all creation will be renewed.

Leader:

The ends of the earth have seen

   the victory of our God.

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;

   break forth into joyous song and sing praises.

Left:

The Lord has come to us as an infant
He will keep faith with us.

Right:

He has come to us as an infant
and all creation will be made new.

Leader:

Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,

   with the lyre and the sound of melody.

With trumpets and the sound of the horn

   make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord.

Left:

Praise the Lord on the drums,
Praise the Lord on the organ.

Right:

Praise the Lord with recorders,
Praise him with violins.

Leader:

Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;

   the world and those who live in it.

Let the floods clap their hands;

   let the hills sing together for joy

at the presence of the Lord, for he is coming

   to judge the earth.

All:

He will judge the world with righteousness,
and the peoples with equity.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning
is now and shall be for ever. Amen.

A reflection for three voices for Epiphany by Paul Bagshaw

I am embarrassed to say I think I wrote this, but it was some years ago and was not otherwise attributed when I found it again on my computer. If you recognise it  from anywhere else I will immediately retract any claim. Paul Bagshaw

(As though talking to the world in general)

Melchior:

Gold, I bring: why would one bring gold to a King? I cannot crown he who is already Monarch of the known and unknown world, King over kings, Lord over all small human ordering. Gold I bring only in token acknowledgement that his realm so far exceeds our meagre imagination that we may only bow down and adore him: a golden bauble to charm your sleep, infant King.

Caspar:

Frankincense, my gift, O my God; and its sweet incense ascending. All nations will worship you, O holy child, high above the peak of your holy mountain, beyond the horizon of language, and at the dissolution of all questions, every knee will bow to you, every voice lift up, and all will cry with the seraphim, 'Holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty.'

Balthazar:

Myrrh, for those born in exultant hope who must die in desolate pain. Weep, Mary, weep as you must but do not grow cold: out of your loss we are found. From his death - too soon, too soon - will grow the red blooms of salvation, the choruses of angels, the soaring peace Of God's reconciliation. Myrrh, I offer, infant saviour To one who lives and dies for ever.

(As at the crib itself)

Melchior:

Quiet now, take off your shoes, for this is a holy place, and besides the child is sleeping.

Caspar:

Be still, lest we stumble in the face Of this mystery and miss the jewel Lying in this soiled stable.

Balthazar:

Wait, listen, hold your breath, let nothing disturb the beginning - or the end, though the journey is through pain.

Silence ...

(Addressing the congregation)

Melchior:

When we had returned to our home there was no general rejoicing, no great acclamation, just an ordinary welcome.

Caspar:

'A child' they said, 'born in a stable? we could show you a thousand.' and they would not see what bright wonders we had seen.

Balthazar:

And sometimes, when we meet together, to share a little bread and some wine, we live again our journey and its discovery and wonder about the boy and the world altered for ever.