Upcoming Service Notes: January 1, 2017, Epiphany Sunday

This Sunday falls in the middle of the twelve days of Christmas, but we will celebrate it as Epiphany (January  6th).  Epiphany was one of the most important and ancient church holy days, predating Christmas itself.  It has had other scriptures associated with it over the millenia, but we read the story of the Magi following the star to Jesus.  (Matthew 2:1-12)  The  point of all the scriptures and all the Sundays of the Epiphany Season is the recognition of the manifestation of God in Jesus and in the world (including in us).  We will hear Isaiah telling us to “see, and be radiant,” because when we truly see the light of God in the world and let it fill us, we ourselves shine.  (Isaiah 60:1-6)  What better way could there be to enter a new year?

We are blessed to have many manifestations of the Holy Spirit in this church that we can look to with joy.  We will name some of them and reflect on how we can see more.  Beauty opens our senses to the wondrous, transcendent presence of the creative force of love and life and light that we name God.  We will hear and sing some beautiful music including three hymns and a little bonus (We Three Kings, What Child Is This, and What Star Is This, plus one verse of O Little Town of Bethlehem).  The choir will sing the Bach harmonized chorale, “O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright” and a contemporary spiritual carol, “Jesus, The Light of the World.”  John will play pieces by Murschhauser, Dandrieu and Pachelbel.

Below are two very different treats for the ear and soul.  The first is a recording of the short and beautiful Pachelbel piece that John will play.  The second is the amazing choir of the Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia, one of the oldest African American congregations in the country, singing “Jesus, the Light of the World.”