Epiphany 3

3^rd^ SUNDAY OF EPIPHANY Hymns 353, 56, 376, 360

FIRST READING Isaiah 9.1-4 But there will be no gloom for those who were in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined. You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder. For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian.


Response: The Lord is my light and my help.

1. The Lord is my light and my help:

whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the stronghold of my life:

before whom shall I shrink? R.

2. There is one thing I ask of the Lord, for this I long;

to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,

to savour the sweetness of the Lord;

to behold his temple. R.

3. I am sure I shall see the Lord’s goodness:

in the land of the living.

Hope in him, hold firm and take heart:

hope in the Lord. R.

SECOND READING 1 Corinthians 1.10-18 Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you should be in agreement and that there should be no divisions among you, but that you should be united in the same mind and the same purpose. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. What I mean is that each of you says, ‘I belong to Paul’, or ‘I belong to Apollos’, or ‘I belong to Cephas’, or ‘I belong to Christ.’ Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power. For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

GOSPEL Matthew 4.12-23 Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the lake, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

‘Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.’

From that time Jesus began to proclaim, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’ As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the lake—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fish for people. ‘Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him. Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people.


A warm welcome to any new readers, and to visitors and newcomers to St Michael's, on this third Sunday of Epiphany, the season when we thank God for revealing His glory not only to the Jewish people but to all nations. We give thanks for the recovery of Fr Paul and welcome him back; he will also kindly celebrate Mass for us on Thursday at 10.30 am. If you are new to St Michael's, please join us for tea or coffee in the Vestry Hall after Mass, so that we can welcome you properly.

A Quiet Day! “Then He said to them, "Come away, all of you, to a quiet place, and rest awhile." For there were many coming and going, so that they had no time even to eat.” (Mark 6: 31) Does this invitation strike a chord? Life can be stressful for us all, as individuals and as a parish. At their last meeting, the PCC decided to plan towards a Lent Quiet Day - a time of rest, reflection and compass-setting - in which every member of the congregation is also invited to take part. The likely date is Saturday, March 25th, the likely place The Friars at Aylesford. Further details remain to be worked out, but do please register an interest by speaking to Jonathan, Paul or Eleanor.

Congratulations to former St Michael's choirboy Dylan, recently admitted to the Foundation of Rochester Cathedral at Cathedral Evensong, in the presence of the Dean and the Headmaster of the King's School – and of Ralph, who was in the congregation.

The Garden Working Party (frustrated by the weather last time it was due to meet) will try again, weather permitting, from 9.30 to 12 noon on Saturday, January 28^th,^ All helpers welcome – please speak to Martyn for further information.

Work on our East Window will now begin on 1st February if all goes well.

Bishop Philip North preached memorably during our parish pilgrimage to Walsingham in 2019, and those who heard him will be among the many who rejoice at this month's announcement that he is now to be Bishop of Blackburn. This appointment shows – and should help to ensure – that mutual flourishing is an actuality, not just an aspiration. A rewarding selection of Bishop Philip's talks and writings can be found at https://www.blackburn.anglican.org/bishop-philip.

The Consecration of the Bishop of Oswestry takes place at Canterbury on Thursday, 2nd February; there will therefore be no Mass at St Michael's that day. Do come and celebrate Candlemas in Canterbury Cathedral! Ask Eleanor about lifts.

Living in Love and Faith will be discussed by General Synod next month. Last week's response to it by the College of Bishops, reaffirming the doctrine of marriage as the Church of England has received it while recognising, penitently, the destructiveness of prejudice, and proposing prayers of blessing for same-sex couples, is now in turn the subject of a pastoral letter from the Bishop of Dover, in which she writes, “However challenging we may find life together, it is unChristlike for us to use our diversity as an excuse for separation and withdrawal from one another. Our Lord’s command is to love and serve one another….In him, our messy offerings may become a blessing to one another and to our world.”

Opportunities to make a difference! Do you know the right people for these jobs – or might you be one of the right people yourself?

The adventurous new St Faith's Centre in Maidstone is looking for a Centre Manager. Details from Rose Henn-Macrae, 07970 883785.

Emerge Advocacy, a charitable organisation whose members provide support for people who have been in hospital after episodes of self-harm, are expanding their activity in Kent and would like to hear from anyone in Maidstone who might be interested in working with them. Details at www.emergeadvocacy/jobs.

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