EPIPHANY 2024 Hymns 52, 47, 48, 49

FIRST 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.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM 72 Response: All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.

1. O God, give your judgement to the King: to a King’s son your justice,

That he may judge your people in justice: and your poor in right judgement. R.

2. In his days justice shall flourish: and peace till the moon fails.

He shall rule from sea to sea: from the great river to earth’s bounds. R.

3. The kings of Tarshish and the sea coasts shall pay him tribute;

the kings of Sheba and Seba shall bring him gifts.

Before him all kings shall fall prostrate: all nations shall serve him. R.

4. For he shall save the poor when they cry: and the needy who are helpless.

He will have pity on the weak: and save the lives of the poor. R.

SECOND READING Ephesians 3.1-12 This is the reason that 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 to 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 to 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.

GOSPEL 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.

Could you pass on this sheet to someone else who might like to see it?


A very warm welcome to any new readers, and to visitors and newcomers to St Michael's. A special welcome-back and thanks to Fr Paul Matthias, our celebrant this morning, who will also kindly be saying Mass for us on Thursday at 10.30 am. If you are new to St Michael's, do join us in the Vestry Hall after the service, so that we can welcome you properly.

Epiphany Chalk? At today's Mass, according to ancient custom, chalk will be blessed and all are invited to take a piece home to mark their door or lintel with the initials of the traditional names of the three wise men. (Pick up in the narthex a piece of paper explaining how this is done). A Church Times article some years ago commented,”This Epiphany ceremony is a simple but meaningful act of witness which symbolises Christian willingness to offer hospitality and shelter to the Magi on their journey to Bethlehem, and also, by extension in today’s world, to welcome all and sundry who love or are seeking the Lord’s Christ.”

Don't forget our Service of Music and Readings for Epiphany, with an augmented choir directed by Gareth James, which takes place at 5 pm today and will be followed by seasonal refreshments in the Vestry Hall. Could you invite a friend or family member who doesn't yet know St Michael's? Everyone is welcome, and this is the kind of service – with some relaxed socialising - at which visitors sometimes like to “test the water”!

Valerie Stickland's funeral will take place at Vinters Park on 31st January at 1.15 pm. Further details shortly.

Pilgrimage to Walsingham, August 19th-24th. Some enquiries already received, but there must surely be more to come. Walsingham just after August 15th is a beautiful, quiet, prayerful place in which to spend time with God and with our Lady (whose example of loving obedience continually points us towards Him) while enjoying the lovely countryside and coast of north Norfolk. If you have never made a Walsingham pilgrimage before and want to know more, do speak to Fr Paul or to Eleanor. An enquiry at this stage doesn't commit you – it's just helpful to Fr Peter Harnden, who is arranging and leading the pilgrimage, if he can have a rough idea of possible numbers when he makes a preliminary booking later this month.

The Parochial Church Council meets on 10th January in the Vestry Hall at 7.30 pm. If there is any matter you would like raised, please speak to a PCC member today.

Worship.Works has arranged an Ignite! Meet-up at Maidstone House Level 3, on Thursday 11th January, 6 -7.30 pm. A chance for Christian professionals to meet one another and explore Biblical principles for serving God through their work. Tickets (£3 per person) are available via Eventbrite.

From Our Tower:

Kent County Association, Maidstone, Kent

St Michael and All Angels

Sunday, 31 December 2023 in 2h 40 (6–1–24 in C)

5056 Yorkshire Surprise Major

Composed by Anthony J Cox

  1. John E Haimes
  2. Josephine D Horton
  3. Jacqueline M Barlow
  4. Fiona M Wheeler
  5. Paul A Cammiade
  6. Richard A Pearce
  7. Stephen A Wheeler (C)
  8. Andrew M Hills

1st on 8 - 1

Half-muffled for the repose of the souls of the faithful departed during the last year.

Can someone very kindly take charge of washing and ironing the altar linen (corporals, lavabo towels and purificators)? We are most grateful to Katja, who has done this in the recent past but is now unable to continue. We can arrange to deliver and collect if transport poses a problem. Please speak to Jonathan if you think you may be able to help.

Thy Kingdom Come is an international and ecumenical movement praying for the spread of the Good News among those who have not yet heard it. In particular, there will be a Wave of Prayer in May 2024 between Ascension and Pentecost. Visit the website for more information.