Upcoming Service Notes, January 3, 2016 and Epiphany Season

Epiphany is always a season of beginnings and increasing light.  This year it will be especially hopeful and exciting with the launch of our Search Committee for a settled pastor.  Sunday the 10th will be the official service of dedication, and this week we will be reflecting on the journey ahead.

This Sunday is a transition day.  It is the Second Sunday of Christmas when we sing our last Christmas carols.  It is also Epiphany Sunday when we start this beautiful, light-filled season. The word Epiphany comes from a Greek root meaning manifestation or appearance.  This Sunday we will celebrate the wise men’s recognition of God’s manifestation in the Christ child.  We will read Matthew 2:1-12 (the story of the wise men) and Isaiah 60:1-6 (some of the most uplifting lines of poetry in the Bible).  The sermon will explore how we can follow the guidance of the Spirit in our daily lives and in our search for a new pastor, as the Magi followed the star.  To read about and listen to the music for this Sunday, 

Our first hymn will be What Child Is This, and our closing hymn will be verses of The First Nowell.  We will sing The Magi Study Stars and Dreams, contemporary words set to an old Christmas Carol tune (While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night).  We will also sing the  carol, “O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright” written by the 16th Century pastor, poet and composer Philipp Nicolai who also wrote the Advent hymn, Wake, Awake for Night Is Flying.  Here is the music performed on the piano–listen to the beauty of the harmony composed by Johann Sebastian Bach.

The choir will sing as the Introit Jesus the Light of the World, an Epiphany carol from the New Century Hymnal that plays off of Charles Wesley’s Hark! the Herald Angels Sing.  The Anthem will be Star of Wonder by Alan Bullard.  John Atwood will play two Chorale Preludes by J. S. Bach and a Chorale Fantasy on the hymn O Morning Star by D. Buxtehude.

Below is a sneak preview of others performing the pieces John will be interpreting in his own way.  We are so blessed to have these treasures of the church brought to us by a gifted organist, like the treasures of the Magi!