O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
Blessed are you, Sovereign God of all,
to you be praise and glory for ever.
In your tender compassion
the dawn from on high is breaking upon us
to dispel the lingering shadows of night.
As we look for your coming among us this day,
open our eyes to behold your presence
and strengthen our hands to do your will,
that the world may rejoice and give you praise.
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God for ever.
At that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’
Then turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them privately, ‘Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.’
Jesus said: … many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it.
In not that many days’ time Christians will recall and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ: the moment when, in the simplest of circumstances, God came down from heaven and entered into the totality of the human condition. Twelve days later we will focus on the visit of the wise men from far away.
In Matthew’s account of the Epiphany we will witness those travellers making a fundamental error, one that almost aligned them with the prophets and kings of whom Jesus speaks. Rather than following the star directly to the true place of Incarnation, a humble stable, they followed their human wisdom and went first to Herod’s palace, exactly the sort of place where a king should be born!
Throughout the last two thousand years there have been many who have responded to God’s call. But … many of those faith journeys have faltered because human wisdom and intelligence led the faithful down the wrong path. Those who considered themselves to know ‘best’ found themselves journeying through an impenetrable fog of self-delusion and sin. In contrast, those who have found the humility to abandon self, and to trust in God alone, have come to know the inexpressible joy of entering into the intimacy of a profound relationship with their heavenly Father and his divine Son.
Jesus is always with us, holding out his hand, directing us towards his Heavenly Father. Let us pray that we might set our ‘certainty’ to one side, take Our Lord’s hand and follow where we are led. Let us pray for all who are tempted to believe their own wisdom and intelligence are superior to those of God, those who are truly foolish, blind and deaf … and doomed to never see the wonders prepared for them.
Watchful at all times, let us pray for strength to stand with confidence before our Maker and Redeemer.
That God may bring in his kingdom with justice and mercy, let us pray to the Lord.
That God may establish among the nations his sceptre of righteousness, let us pray to the Lord.
That we may seek Christ in the scriptures and recognize him in the breaking of the bread, let us pray to the Lord.
That God may bind up the broken hearted, restore the sick and raise up all who have fallen, let us pray to the Lord.
That the light of God’s coming may dawn on all who live in darkness and the shadow of death, let us pray to the Lord.
That, with all the saints in light, we may shine forth as lights for the world, let us pray to the Lord.
Let us commend the world, which Christ will judge, to the mercy and protection of God.
as your kingdom dawns,
turn us from the darkness of sin to the
light of holiness,
that we may be ready to meet you
in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Uniting our prayers with the whole company of heaven,
let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Christ the Sun of Righteousness shine upon us,
scatter the darkness from before our path,
and make us ready to meet him when he comes in glory;
and may the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among us and remain with us always.