New Years Weekend & Epiphany Worship

SAT, Jan 1st, 2022

  • Community Events: MUSIC AROUND TOWN
    • Red Parka: Riley Parkhurst Project • 8-11pm
    • Shannon Door: Sheehan & Holden • 7-10pm
    • Shovel Handle Pub: Ryan st Onge • 530-8:30pm
    • Wildcat Tavern: Jeremy Dean • 6-9pm

SUN, Jan 2nd, 2022

  • INTERFAITH GATHERING ZOOM & IN-PERSON
    8am • Old Red Library next to church (indoors) & Zoom link with password required.
    Poetry and conversation. Join us. Bring your own hot beverage on cold mornings!
  • EPIPHANY WORSHIP ZOOM & IN-PERSON – Epiphany and Communion
    10:30am •  Zoom link with password required.
    • Live music by Alan Labrie
    • Epiphany celebration
    • Choral songs
    • In-person attendance requires social distancing and masking for all attendees (additional precautions may be changed based on COVID stats and CDC guidelines).
    • Service will also be live-streamed to website and Facebook (if technology supports this function on the day of event). Afterward, recordings of worship service will be posted to FacebookVimeo.com channel & Youtube.com channel.
  • Community Events: MUSIC AROUND TOWN
    • Red Parka: Blue Sunday with L&M Rhythm Kings • 5-8pm
    • Shannon Door: Riley & Dan Parkhurst • 6-9pm

Epiphany meditations about times of insight and enlightenment, as well as the religious milestone marking when wise ones visited the holy child. Also: reflections for the turning of the year.

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something. — Neil Gaiman

There’s nothing better when something comes and hits you and you think ‘YES’! ― J.K. Rowling 

Without the quest, there can be no epiphany. ― Constantine E. Scaros

Twelfth Night, or the eve of Epiphany, marked the coming of the magi. ― Julie Klassen

I am the present, but I know I, too, will pass. The high moments, the burning flash, come and are gone, continuous quicksand …― Sylvia Plath

So I learned two things that night, and the next day …
the perfection of a moment, and the fleeting nature of it. ― Margaret George

In retrospect, I would have to recommend against epiphanies. They are difficult on an emotional level, and they also sometimes move you to foolish and inopportune acts … ― Peter David

SONGS about NEW YEAR:

SONGS about EPIPHANY:

NEW YEARS REFLECTIONS
Celebrate endings—for they precede new beginnings. —Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. — attributed to Oprah Winfrey 

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. —Ralph Waldo Emerson

The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are. — J.P.Morgan

The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul.  — Gilbert K. Chesterton

And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been. — Rainer Maria Rilke

Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.— Hal Borland

What the new year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the new year. — Vern McLellan

On New Year’s Eve the whole world celebrates the fact that a date changes. Let us celebrate the dates on which we change the world. ― Akilnathan Logeswaran

Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties. — Helen Keller

Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man. —Benjamin Franklin

Change can be scary, but you know what’s scarier? Allowing fear to stop you from growing, evolving, and progressing. — Mandy Hale

What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven’t even happened yet. — Anne Frank 

We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come. —Joseph Campbell

Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely. — Karen Kaiser Clark

When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. When life is bitter, say thank you and grow. —Shauna Niequist

We all get the exact same 365 days. The only difference is what we do with them. —Hillary DePiano

BLESSING — Pastor Dawn 
Fear not, dear ones.
For you are children of God.
The treasure you seek to give
lies not in the heavens,
but here, deep inside.
Open yourselves up
and give the world
the treasures creation needs.
You are the light of the world.
Shine!  Shine! Shine!
Let the Light of Christ
the Love of God,
and the power of the Holy Spirit
shine forth in you!
Amen. 

POEM — Marianne Williamson
What holds us back in our lives is our fear.
And sometimes when you take a very close look
you find out that your fears
aren’t exactly what you thought they were. 
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness,
that most frightens us. 
We ask ourselves,
who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened
about shrinking so that other people
won’t feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest
the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.
So it’s holy work to move past your own fear.
It doesn’t just help you.
It helps the world.

THREE WISE ONES— attributed to Paul Curtis

The three wise men
Travelled for days before reaching Bethlehem
And arrived after the birth
They stood and viewed the scene in awe
And knelt reverently in the lords presence
Then gave their gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh

The three wise women
Would have stopped to ask directions
And arrived before the birth
They would have delivered the baby
Then they would have cleaned the stable and cooked a meal
Before giving the baby really useful gifts.

BC:AD — UA Fanthorpe

This was the moment when Before
turned into After, and the future’s
uninvented timekeepers presented arms.

This was the moment when nothing
happened. Only dull peace
sprawled boringly over the earth.

This was the moment when even energetic Romans
could find nothing better to do
than counting heads in remote provinces.

And this was the moment
when a few farm workers and three
members of an obscure Persian sect
walked haphazard by starlight straight
into the kingdom of heaven.

WISE WOMAN ALSO CAME — Jan Richardson

Wise women also came.
The fire burned in their wombs long before
they saw the flaming star in the sky.
They walked in shadows, trusting the path
would open under the light of the moon.

Wise women also came,
seeking no directions,
no permission from any king.
They came by their own authority,
their own desire, their own longing.

They came in quiet,
spreading no rumors,
sparking no fears to lead to innocents’ slaughter,
to their sister Rachel’s inconsolable lamentations.

Wise women also came,
and they brought useful gifts:
water for labor’s washing,
fire for warm illumination,
a blanket for swaddling.

Wise women also came,
at least three of them,
holding Mary in the labor,
crying out with her in the birth pangs,
breathing ancient blessings into her ear.

Wise women also came, and they went,
as wise women always do,
home a different way.

JOURNEY of the MAGI — T. S. Eliot

“A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.”
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.
Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.
All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

VARIOUS PORTENTS — Alice Oswald

Various stars. Various kings.
Various sunsets, signs, cursory insights.

Many minute attentions, many knowledgeable watchers,
Much cold, much overbearing darkness.

Various long midwinter Glooms.
Various Solitary and Terrible stars.
Many Frosty Nights, many previously Unseen Sky-flowers.
Many people setting out (some of them kings) all clutching at stars.

More than one North star, more than one South star.
Several billion elliptical galaxies, bubble nebulae, binary systems.
Various dust lanes, various routes through varying thickness of Dark,
Many tunnels into deep space, minds going back and forth.

Many visions, many digitally enhanced heavens,
All kinds of glistenings being gathered into telescopes:
Fireworks, gasworks, white-streaked works of Dusk,
Works of wonder and or water, snowflakes, stars of frost …

Various dazed astronomers dilating their eyes,
Various astronauts setting out into laughterless earthlessness,
Various 5,000-year-old moon maps,
Various blindmen feeling across the heavens in Braille.

Various gods making beautiful works in bronze,
Brooches, crowns, triangles, cups and chains,
Various crucifixes, all sorts of nightsky necklaces.
Many Wise Men remarking the irregular weather.

Many exile energies, many low-voiced followers,
Watchers of whisps of various glowing spindles,
Soothsayers, hunters in the High Country of the Zodiac,
Seafarers tossing, tied to a star…

Various people coming home (some of them kings). Various headlights.

Two or three children standing or sitting on the low wall.
Various winds, the Sea Wind, the sound-laden Winds of Evening
Blowing the stars towards them, bringing snow.

EPIPHANY as CHRISTIAN CELEBRATION: Commentary

.. The Epiphany story is a collage of all the sources of revelation that the Church has scorned in its long history, all the things that we have come to fear, or see as heretical: non-Christians, leading the way to Christ, aided by divination and astrology. Interpretation of natural phenomena. Dream analysis! And yet God shamelessly uses all of these suspicious strategies to point toward this extraordinary thing she’s doing: joining heaven and earth, coming to live among us in a human body.
     Despite our best efforts to describe and contain the divine, our God cannot and will not be put in a box. The story of Epiphany is a beautiful testament to the ways in which God transcends all human categories and constantly disrupts our expectations of where, how, and to whom God will appear. God is an opportunist, who will use any tools at her disposal to draw us back to her love, from tiny humans in mismatched pageant costumes to stargazing Persian magicians. So what unexpected means is God using to speak grace to you? What unexpected road might you take to reach the Christ Child? This Epiphany, may the God who spoke through strangers, stars, and dreams open our eyes and our hearts to the wildness of God’s love. — Kristin Saylor (full article)

This is the homely heart of Incarnation, this meeting of God in man with men and women, this simple face of divine graciousness in ordinary life rather than in the hymns of church fathers or in the dry elaborations of theologians. ― Eugene Kennedy

We must practice the presence of God. He said that when two or three are gathered together, there he is in the midst of them. He is with us in our kitchens, at our tables, on our breadlines, with our visitors, on our farms. When we pray for our material needs, it brings us close to his humanity. He, too, needed food and shelter; he, too, warmed his hands at a fire and lay down in a boat to sleep. ― Dorothy Day

They were Magi, as in magicians, and not the cute kind you hire for your kid’s birthday party. More likely, they were opportunistic, pagan, soothsaying, tarot-card-reading astrologers. Yet history made them out to be kings, maybe because the reality that they were magicians is too distasteful, since no one really wants the weird fortune-teller lady from the circus with her scarves and crystal balls to be the first to discover the birth of our Lord. — Nadia Bolz-Weber

To call the Magi ‘kings’ was to recognise in the Epiphany a fulfilment of Isaiah’s vision: And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising… they shall bring gold and incense. [Isaiah 60:3, 6]
This recognises that the Magi represented the culture, prestige, and power of a pagan kingdom.  Their act of adoration, therefore, represented the homage of kings to Israel’s King. — laudable practuce blo

EPIPHANY as “AH-HAH!” MOMENT: COMMENTARY
 I cannot be awake, for nothing looks to me as it did before, or else I am awake for the first time, and all before has been a mean sleep. ― Walt Whitman 

Small things start us in new ways of thinking. ― V.S. Naipaul

Every life led to a series of quiet epiphanies – or at least to opportunities for epiphanies … The kindnesses … done for others. The love … given. The things they … come to understand in their hearts. ― Dean Koontz

Impossible; for how many people did you know who reflected your own light to you? People were more often–he searched for a simile, found one in his work–torches, blazing away until they whiffed out. How rarely did other people’s faces take of you and throw back to you your own expression, your own innermost trembling thought? ― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 

Sometimes the dreams that come true are the dreams you never even knew you had. ― Alice Sebold
Now the wren has gone
to roost and the sky is turnin’ gold
And like the sky
my soul is also turnin’
Turnin’ from the past,
at last and all I’ve left behind”
― Ray Lamontagne Those times in life when a mask falls away and everything makes sense, even if just for a moment, you pay attention. Sometimes they involve an actual blindfold. ― Heather Durham

He wanted to meet in the real world the unsubstantial image which his soul so constantly beheld. He did not know where to seek it or how, but a premonition which led him on told him that this image would, without any overt act of his, encounter him. They would meet quietly as if they had known each other and had made their tryst, perhaps at one of the gates or in some more secret place. They would be alone, surrounded by darkness and silence: and in that moment of supreme tenderness he would be transfigured. He would fade into something impalpable under her eyes and then in a moment he would be transfigured. Weakness and timidity and inexperience would fall from him in that magic moment. ― James Joyce

One way is just to think, for instance, of biodiversity. The extraordinary thing we now know, thanks to Crick and Watson’s discovery of DNA and the decoding of the human and other genomes, is that all life, everything, all the three million species of life and plant life—all have the same source. We all come from a single source. Everything that lives has its genetic code written in the same alphabet. Unity creates diversity. So don’t think of one God, one truth, one way. Think of one God creating this extraordinary number of ways, the 6,800 languages that are actually spoken. Don’t think there’s only one language within which we can speak to God. The Bible is saying to us the whole time: Don’t think that God is as simple as you are. He’s in places you would never expect him to be. And you know, we lose a bit of that in English translation. When Moses at the burning bush says to God, “Who are you?” God says to him three words: “Hayah asher hayah.”Those words are mistranslated in English as “I am that which I am.” But in Hebrew, it means “I will be who or how or where I will be,” meaning, Don’t think you can predict me. I am a God who is going to surprise you. One of the ways God surprises us is by letting a Jew or a Christian discover the trace of God’s presence in a Buddhist monk or a Sikh tradition of hospitality or the graciousness of Hindu life. Don’t think we can confine God into our categories. God is bigger than religion. — Jonathan Sacks

Reflections on following stars, receiving epiphanies: themes in Matthew 2 and Isaiah 60.

Follow That Star — lyrics by Paul Baloche
In the quiet of the night
Under the wide expanse of sky
I am alone and asking questions… why
What’s this longing in my heart
What’s the reason for my life
And this solitary light is shining, callingFollow that star, follow that star
Uncover the mystery of Who You are
I’ve searched for a lifetime,
I’ve come from afar
And discovered my destiny
Is to follow that star
Like the light of early dawn
I see the promise there beyond
And a hope within begins to rise
Love is calling to my heart
Reaching deep into my soul
And reveals to me the reason for living …
What joy, what hope, what good news
He brings to me and you …So I follow that star, I follow that star
Uncover the mystery of Who You are
I’ve searched for a lifetime, I’ve come from afar
Discovered my destiny is to follow that star
Follow that star, follow that star
Follow that star, follow that star
I have to follow that star
Follow that star
Follow that star


Of Stars

God’s time [Emancipation] is always near. He set the North Star in the heavens; He gave me the strength in my limbs; He meant I should be free.  — Harriet Tubman

What is the good of your stars and trees, your sunrise and the wind, if they do not enter into our daily lives? — E. M. Forster

Once upon a time there were some very wise men who were all sitting in their own countries minding their own business when a bright star lodged in the right eye of each of them. It was so bright that none of them could tell whether it was burning in the sky or in their own imagination, but they were wise enough to know that it didn’t matter. The point was, something beyond them was calling them, and it was a tug they had been waiting for all their lives. — Barbara Brown Taylor 

When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty. — John Muir

Son, brother, father, lover, friend. There is room in the heart for all the affections, as there is room in heaven for all the stars. — Victor Hugo

Stars and moon are an object of consciousness. They are in store consciousness. In the world of the oyster, they have no-eye consciousness and no-ear consciousness. The things that we see, the oyster cannot see. So, sense organs are one condition to give birth to consciousness. The object gives rise to consciousness. And these are manifested from seeds. And store consciousness holds all the seeds. The sense organ and the object rely on each other to create consciousness. Object and subject. They are divided into two parts but this isn’t exactly correct. We cannot take one out of the other. This is called Interbeing. — Thich Nhat Hahn

I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars. — Og Mandino

No, sure, my lord, my mother cried, but then there was a star danced, and under that was I born  … God give you joy!— William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

Well we all shine on, like the moon, and the stars, and the sun. — John Lennon, Instant Karma lyrics

Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars; in the heavens, you have made them bright, precious and fair. — St Francis of Assisi

How far away the stars seem, and how far is our first kiss, and ah, how old my heart. — William Butler Yeats

Nations, like stars, are entitled to eclipse. All is well, provided the light returns and the eclipse does not become endless night. Dawn and resurrection are synonymous. The reappearance of the light is the same as the survival of the soul. — Victor Hugo

After my death, the molecules of my being will return to the earth and the sky. They came from the stars. I am of the stars. — Charles Lindbergh, Autobiography of Values

Reach for it. Push yourself as far as you can. — Christa McAuliffe


The Starlight Night
Gerard Manley Hopkins
Look at the stars! look, look up at the skies!
   O look at all the fire-folk sitting in the air!

   The bright boroughs, the circle-citadels there! …

Touched by an Angel
— Maya Angelou

We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
We dare be brave
And suddenly we see that love costs all we are
And will ever be.
Yet it is only love which set us free


Of Epiphany

In order to reach a distant shore, one must consent to lose sight of the shore for a very long time. — Andre Ghee

All we know for certain is that we are three old sinners, That this journey is much too long, that we want our dinners, And miss our wives, our books, our dogs, But we have only the vaguest idea why we are what we are. To discover how to be human now is the reason we follow the star. — W.H. Auden

Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering. — Saint Augustine

So there we have it: a call, a path, a life, a destination—all safe in the heart of God, and given to us, bit by bit, as we do our part and accept both the invitation and our soul’s transformation that the journey requires. Putting one foot in front of the other, as Jung said, trusting that this life, and this path, is given us for a reason. It is … a path that will be utterly unique to you, yet also grounded in our common experience as people of the star. … We follow the light, though we do not know the way. Yet we need not know everything to follow Christ. We need only trust the invitation and the One extending it. — Rev Mariann Edgar Budde

Sometimes the dreams that come true are the dreams you never even knew you had. ― Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones

The magic of the street is the mingling of the errand and the epiphany. ― Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking

Science means constantly walking a tightrope between blind faith and curiosity; between expertise and creativity; between bias and openness; between experience and epiphany; between ambition and passion; and between arrogance and conviction – in short, between an old today and a new tomorrow. Heinrich Rohrer
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