Sunday 3rd January

      St. Michael and All Angels                    Amersham on the Hill


A warm welcome to this service

Despite it being the darkest time of the year, for forty days we will journey in light. In contrast to Christmas, when the focus is on Christ as human, as a tiny baby, the season of Epiphany reveals Christ as divine, God made manifest. 
At the Feast of the Epiphany, we celebrate the Magi – wise ones from the east – bringing gifts to the Christ child and revealing him as King of all nations, Jewish and Gentile alike.
The following Sunday, we mark Christ’s baptism, when God reveals the gift of the Holy Spirit on Jesus, empowering and enabling his ministry of healing, teaching and preaching.
Some third Sundays of Epiphany give us the story of the Wedding at Cana, when Jesus first reveals his ministry to all, when he promises, for those who share his life, a richness of incredible abundance, symbolised through water turned into wine. 

The Gathering

We three kings of orient are; Bearing gifts we traverse afar Field and fountain, moor and mountain, Following yonder star:
Refrain: O star of wonder, star of night, Star with royal beauty bright Westward leading, still proceeding, Guide us to thy perfect light.

Born a king on Bethlehem plain, Gold I bring to crown him again – King for ever, ceasing never Over us all to reign. 

Frankincense to offer have I; Incense owns a deity nigh: Prayer and praising, all men raising Worship him, God most high.

Myrrh is mine; its bitter perfume Breathes a life of gathering gloom; Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying, Sealed in the stone-cold tomb.

Glorious now behold him arise, King, and God, and sacrifice! Heav’n sings alleluia, Alleluia the earth replies:

John Henry Hopkins (1820-1891)

The Greeting

Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe!  All; From the rising of the sun to its setting your name is proclaimed in all the world.
The Lord of glory be with you All; The Lord bless you.

Invitation to Confession

The grace of God has dawned upon the world. Let us confess our sins. (cf Titus 2.11-14)
Lord Jesus, illuminate the darkness in our hearts: Lord, have mercy. All; Lord, have mercy.
Lord Jesus, open our eyes to your saving love: Christ, have mercy. All; Christ, have mercy.
Lord Jesus, unstop our ears to hear your living word: Lord, have mercy. All; Lord, have mercy.


May the God of love bring you back to himself, forgive you your sins, and assure you of his eternal love in Jesus Christ our Lord.  All; Amen

The Collect

Creator of the heavens, who led the Magi by a star to worship the Christ-child: guide and sustain us, that we may find our journey’s end in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Liturgy of the Word 

Old Testament Reading  Isaiah 60.1–6  Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. Lift up your eyes and look around; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from far away, and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses’ arms. Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and rejoice, because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall proclaim the praise of the Lord.  For the word of the Lord  All; Thanks be to God.

New Testament Reading  Ephesians 3.1–12   I, Paul, am a prisoner for Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles – for surely you have already heard of the commission of God’s grace that was given me for you, and how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I wrote above in a few words, a reading of which will enable you to perceive my understanding of the mystery of Christ. In former generations this mystery was not made known to humankind, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: that is, the Gentiles have become fellow-heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Of this gospel I have become a servant according to the gift of God’s grace that was given me by the working of his power. Although I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ, and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose that he has carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in him. For the word of the Lord  All; Thanks be to God.

Gradual Hymn

(Refrain) Past three a clock, and a cold frosty morning; Past three a clock; Good morrow masters all!

Born is a baby, gentle as may be, Son of th’eternal Father supernal. (Refrain)

Seraph choir singeth, angel bell ringeth: Hark how they rime it, time it and chime it. (Refrain)

Light out of star-land leadeth from far land Princes, to meet him, worship and greet him. (Refrain)

Myrrh from full coffer, incense they offer: Nor is the golden nugget withholden. (Refrain)

Thus they: I pray you, up sirs, nor stay you Till ye confess him likewise, and bless him. (Refrain)   

First published 1978

Gospel Reading 

Alleluia, alleluia.
Christ was revealed in flesh, proclaimed among the nations and believed in throughout the world.
Alleluia, alleluia. (cf 1 Timothy 3.16)

The Lord be with you  All; and also with you.
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.  All; Glory to you, O Lord.

Matthew 2.1–12  In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.’ When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: “And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.”’ Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, ‘Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.’ When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure-chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road. 

This is the Gospel of the Lord.  All; Praise to you, O Christ.

Sermon  January 3rd. 2021. Epiphany Sunday Isaiah 60, 1-6, Psalm 72, 10-15, Matthew 2, 1-12

Affirmation of Faith 

All We believe in God the Father, God almighty, by whose plan earth and heaven sprang to being, all created things began. We believe in Christ the Saviour, Son of God in human frame, virgin-born, the child of Mary upon whom the Spirit came.

Christ, who on the cross forsaken, like a lamb to slaughter led, suffered under Pontius Pilate, he descended to the dead. We believe in Jesus risen, heaven’s king to rule and reign, to the Father’s side ascended till as judge he comes again.

We believe in God the Spirit; in one Church, below, above; saints of God in one communion, one in holiness and love. So by faith, our sins forgiven, Christ our Saviour, Lord and friend, we shall rise with him in glory to the life that knows no end.

The Lord’s Prayer

Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us: All 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. Amen.

Prayers of Intercession 

Be still in God’s presence – love and be loved. Fall deep in the silence - the silence of God Today on Epiphany Sunday, as we think of the journeys of the Wise Men, we remember our own life’s journeys and we thank God for His love and protection that has brought us thus far. In these times of constant change and uncertainty when it seems as if our world is turned upside down – may we know deep within ourselves that God never changes. He is within us at all times. We are loved and accepted as we are. His strength and peace are ours if we seek Him.

We pray for God’s love and compassion for all who are suffering deeply at this time - for loss of loved ones, loss of health or loss of work; loss of business or loss of home. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We give thanks for the work of scientists and doctors who have developed the covid vaccine, and for the care and compassion expressed in so many communities. O Lord, may we be like the Wise Men and lift up our eyes and look around us and find new beginning and a renewed sense of discovery. May our journey be the discerning of light, sight and insight, realising that until we dare to make the journey, we cannot gain insight. We may not fully understand what the journey is for, or where the journey is taking us, but help us to embrace the Mystery that is God. Teach us to be midwives of the Spirit to those around us and may we know Epiphany and revelations in our lives. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Christ, there is nowhere I can journey that you have not travelled. Christ, I do not know what lies ahead, but I do know who is with me. Christ, I do not know where I shall end up, but I know who is there before me. Christ, the future is not fully unknown for you are there before me.

Merciful Father, All;  accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.



Brightest and best of the sons of the morning, dawn on our darkness and lend us thine aid; star of the east, the horizon adorning, guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.

Cold on his cradle the dew-drops are shining; low lies his head with the beasts of the stall; angels adore him in slumber reclining, Maker and Monarch and Saviour of all.

Say, shall we yield him, in costly devotion, odours of Edom, and offerings divine, gems of the mountain, and pearls of the ocean, myrrh from the forest, or gold from the mine?

Vainly we offer each humble oblation, vainly with gifts would his favour secure: richer by far is the heart's adoration, dearer to God are the prayers of the poor.     Reginald Heber (1783-1826)


Christ the Son of God perfect in you the image of his glory and gladden your hearts with the good news of his kingdom; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. All; Amen.
We go into the world to walk in God’s light, to rejoice in God’s love and to reflect God’s glory. All; Amen.

Recessional hymn verse

Christ is the world’s true light, its captain of salvation, the daystar clear and bright of ev’ry race and nation; new life, new hope awakes,  where’er we own his sway: freedom her bondage breaks, and night is turned to day. George Wallace Briggs (1875-1959)

The Promise of His Glory (1991), Patterns for Worship (1995), Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England (2000), New Patterns for Worship (2002) and Times and Seasons (2006), material
from which is included in this service, is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council. CCL No 908682. SR 9.1.17