Epiphany 2002: Seeing … and Not Seeing

Epiphany 2002: Seeing … and Not Seeing




A Christian Community

In the Tradition of the Church of the Saviour


Epiphany 2002

Seeing … and Not Seeing





Maybe it is not the darkness we fear most, but the silences contained within the darkness.  Maybe it is not the absence of the moon that frightens us, but the absence of what we expect to be there.  A wedge of long-billed curlews flying in the night punctuates the silences, and their unexpected calls remind us that the only thing we can expect is change.


  Terry Tempest Williams, Refuge





Leader:      We come together because God calls us.


Voice 1:     We come to this place,

                  so familiar we can see it with our eyes closed.


Leader:      We know what to expect:

                  some friends; some silence, prayer and comfort.


Voice 2:     And when we find our answers in a baby,

                  the question is not what we expected.


Leader:      We've seen it all along,

                  but never seen this way, this clearly –

                  never seen this Presence in our midst.


Unison:      This gift of sight takes all our strength,

                  and all our weaknesses, too.












Leader:      In the morning sun:

                  Christ, our light.


Voice 1:     In the shining stars:

                  Christ, our light.


Voice 2:     In the burning bush:

                  Christ, our light.


Voice 1:     In the pillar of fire:

                  Christ, our light.


Voice 2:     In the glistening temple:

                  Christ, our light.


Unison:      In the tongues of flame:

                  Christ, our light.







Unison:      Our room has no lights;

                  our legs are gashed by sharp edges,

                  our feet stumble over the piles of trash.

                  We see and cannot see in this darkness.

                  O God, illumine our chaos:

                  Be in our darkness,

                  and let there be light.





Leader:      Out of darkness,

                  the light of God's forgiveness

                  casts out fear.

                  Believe in the great grace of that light

                  and let the light of your love

                  radiate out into the world.


All:             Amen.













The first Sunday of each month we switch to a Communion Liturgy here.










Leader:      The prophet Isaiah says:

                  "There will be no gloom

                  for those who were in anguish.

                  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."

                  Go forth to spread the good news:  God is with us!


People:      Amen.




Worship resources

Reflection:  Terry Tempest Williams, Refuge

Litany: Gail Ramshaw, Words around the Fire, p. 5

Confession:  Ramshaw, Words around the Font, p. 69

Benediction:  Isaiah 9:2

[Seekers] [Write us] [Seekers Liturgies] [Fair Use]

Additional Prayers during Epiphany

January 6, 2002

Prayers by Sherri Alms, Liturgist

Lessons:        Isaiah 60:1-6

Psalm 72:1-14

Ephesians 3:1-12

Matthew 2:1-12



Come among us,

Light of the world.

Shine your spirit of justice and truth

in our hearts as the sun shines on the earth.

As the rain pours down water for the thirsty,

pour down your love and compassion

on those who need you here and out in the wide world.


Let everlasting peace rise among humanity

as the moon rises nightly in the sky.

Let all of your children know your grace and wisdom,

and trust in your divine guidance.


Let the spirit of the Christ child infuse us

so that we may be the messengers of your truth and justice.

Renew in us a great capacity for love.

Transform our spirits and open our hearts

to hear your word and eat your food.



Eternal source of wisdom,

we are grateful this morning

that the new year brings new light,

new hope, and, most of all, new questions.

Where your light shines, possibility opens,

A way, a word, a child, a gift.

We find paths where before there were only walls.

We hear the call of your claim on our lives.

We remember a child born with a promise

that will transform hearts forever after.

We accept the gift that forgiveness is,

needing and receiving it over and over again.

What you bring to us in Epiphany is possibility,

a threshold that we can step over into wholeness.

What is revealed there may not be what we expected

as surely as what the shepherds and the sages saw

was unexpected and puzzling.

But the revelation of your word made flesh

is the answer to all of our deepest questions.

We give you thanks for the unexpected,

for the questions that open us up, lead us on,

and keep us always seeking after your call on our lives.


We thank you for what has come to us as gift in the past week¼.



Radiating spirit of light,

We come to you at the beginning of this new year,

still burdened, still heavy with need, grief, and anger.

In a year where much that we thought we knew

took on a different shape and meaning,

in a year where so many here in the United States

and around the world lost their lives

to violence, selfishness and willful unawareness,

in a year when those we know and love

suffered heartbreak, sickness and despair,

when the answers to many of our questions

were not what we wanted to hear,

it is hard to walk over the threshold into a new year

with light hearts and a renewed spirit.


We long for you to lift the burdens,

throw off the heavy loads of despair and shadow. 

We cry out for your hand to wipe away the tears,

for your strong shoulder to bear us up as on the wings of angels,

for your transforming light to cast out the shadows in our souls.

Where we have caused others pain and grief,

where we have suffered pain and grief ourselves,

where we see need and longing,

where we know there is hurt and hatred,

help us to bring your everlasting grace, peace and justice.


We pray for your presence with those who need you this week¼



Messenger of truth and mystery,

Opener of doors and windows,

Source of both day and night,

We come to you as the sages of long ago did,

Somewhat frazzled, confused and amazed

by what you have chosen to reveal to us.

We walk on in the journey of life,

struggling to accept the gifts you give,

to figure them out, to make sense of them.


Bless us with the capacity to live

With unanswered questions,

To trust that even a child can lead us,

To step over the threshold into your wisdom.


In the name of the one who revealed your love,

we pray.





January 13, 2002

Prayers by Sherri Alms, Liturgist

Lessons:        Isaiah 42:1-9

Psalm 29

Acts 10:34-43

Matthew 3:13-17



Holy keeper of vision,

shake us up today as you shook

the waters and the wilderness.


Free us from the bonds of

seeing only what we expect to see.

Let your prophetic light be a lamp to our road.


Move our feet in ways that startle

and delight us into dancing a new song.


Open our arms wide to take in

what we need to enclose,

to comfort, to hold, to touch, to understand.


With your peace and strength,

touch us so that we may go out

full of your grace and glory.



Flowing spring of truth,

Light of hope,

Wisdom keeper,

for believing in us as we struggle

to believe in you,

for whispering in our dreams,

for writing on our hearts the word that you are,

we give you thanks and praise.


Rock of justice,

vigilant Watcher over those in need,

Mother of mercy,

for reminding us that

we should tend to that which the world tends not,

for walking with us as we take the dark paths

and dangerous roads,

for weeping with us as we cry out in pain and despair,

we give you thanks and praise.


Blessed Comforter,

Tree of life,

Warm heavenly Haven,

for your peace that descends as a dove,

for your understanding that runs

deeper than the deepest wellspring,

for your forgiveness that reaches out

to all who stumble and fall,

we give you thanks and praise.


Where we have seen your presence this week, we give thanks aloud and in our hearts¼



Spirit of love and hope,

the world needs the river of your wisdom

to wash over it and all who live on it.

We read and read and read

of war, of poverty, of despair.

We read and read and read

of the loss of your creation,

of the cruel waste of resources,

of the mistreatment of your creatures.


Where is the baptism of grace and holiness?

Where is the voice of the one you sent to free us?

When will we see Jesus coming to us as he came to John in the wilderness?


We look for a star to burst forth in the heavens,

We search for the river of transforming water,

We pray for the gift of prophecy,

We long for the light of lasting peace.


Fulfill these our prayers and hear our voices

As we pray for those who most need your presence this week¼



Into your hands,

we bring our most precious possessions,

our most treasured gifts,

and we ask that you give us the

strength to let go of them,

to deliver them generously,

holding nothing back,

in the trust that your gifts

to us are unending and rich beyond

what we could ever desire.


in the name of the one whose life was gift,

we pray.  Amen.



January 20, 2002

Prayers by Peter Bankson, Liturgist

Lessons:        Isaiah 49:1-7

Psalm 40:1-11

1 Corinthians 1:1-9

John 1:29-42



Holy God of all creation,

We gather here to worship you with praise, and prayer and song.


We gather here to celebrate the way your spirit moves among us,

to celebrate the way you draw us up from pits of desolation,

the way you put the solid rock of community here beneath our feet.


Loving maker of community, we gather in the name of Jesus,

Who is the Christ, The one who shows us how to trust your love.  Amen.



God of constant creativity,

even when we can't see anything that looks like signs or miracles

we know that you are here, and we give thanks.


Just when we'd begun to think that winter might not come this year,

You sent those flurries —

the unexpected, heavy kind —

and we remembered just how little food we have at home,

and just how much our lives depend on you.

Just when we'd put away our tiny decorations,

safely boxed and labeled so we could find them again next year,

just then you hung the trees with crystal garlands,

showing us so brightly what it means to make all things fresh and new,

and just how much our lives depend on you.


We long to tell the good news of your presence,

to share the wonders we have seen,

to wonder over what we long to see,

to share the saving help you send us.


Hear now our prayers of praise and thanks,

for we would hold your healing light high overhead.



Holy tailor of the promise of tomorrow,

We live with so much roiling uncertainty,

With such a sense that things are as they've never been,

And will not be this way again,

No matter how we try.


This constant change brings pain and fear so easily.


We watch the war drag on,

with anger, fear and retribution claiming more and more.


We listen to the cries of those whose plans and dreams

are tossed aside by violence, disease, or callous indifference of others.


We feel the strain of fighting illness,

the hollow grief of mourning death,

the paralyzing fear of facing powers

who have lost sight of merciful justice.


O holy maker of the universe,

hear now our prayers for those in pain and need,

and for ourselves, for we would be your people.



Holy tailor of the promise of tomorrow,

You stitch us together like a warm comforter of relationships;

You toughen us with fire, and sharpen our understanding like a needle.


You make us ready to answer your call,

here and now, as part of this body of the risen Christ,

in who's way we shape our life together.  Amen.



January 27, 2002

Prayers by Deborah Sokolove-Yakushiji, Liturgist

Lessons:        Isaiah 9:1-4

Psalm 27:1, 4-9

1 Corinthians 1:10-18

Matthew 4:12-23



Holy Presence, you bring us light in the darkness of winter,

soft, sunny days when we were expecting

cold, heavy clouds, filled with snow or sleet.

Although winter will surely return,

then, as now, you will delight in our surprise

at your ever-changing creation.


Today, you invite us to sing and make melody to your name,

to seek your face in the faces of one another,

in words and in silence,

in the mystery of your grace.


As we gather in the name of Christ,

help us to feel your spirit among us,

the light of your presence in our midst. Amen.



Holy Giver of Light, we are grateful for the great gift of your grace,

your teaching us the mystery of forgiveness.


We are grateful, too, for the gift of this day,

so full of possibility,

so full of your love.


We give thanks for the many ways that we experience that love:

for friends and for family;

for homes and for health;

for enough to eat and for water to drink;

for song and for laughter,

for the simple pleasures of waking in the morning,

and going to sleep each night.


We give thanks, also, for those who have come before us,

for the stories they have left us,

for their teaching and their wisdom,

for their faith and their prophetic voices,

telling us the good news of your presence in the world.


We bring, now, our prayers of thanks and praise, aloud or in silence.



You, Holy One, are our light and salvation.

You hide us in your shelter in the day of trouble,

but sometimes our sorrows overtake our gratitude.

When life is difficult, when health fails,

when those we love are in trouble,

we ask for your merciful light in the darkness of our souls.


We remember, also, those who have no homes, too little food,

and no one to care for them, but you.

We remember those whose lives are ravaged by war,

 by famine, by drought, by disease.

We remember those who cannot pray for themselves,

those who do not believe in your love,

those who have lost too much to even hope for better times.


We pray, too, for those who lead the nations,

for religious leaders and politicians,

that you guide their words and deeds

 into the ways of peace.


We bring, now, our prayers of petition and intercession,

aloud and in the silence of our hearts.



O, Living, Loving, Holy One,

we offer all these prayers in the name of Jesus,

who is the Christ.  Amen.



February 3, 2002

Prayers by Peter Bankson, Liturgist

Lessons:        Micah 6:1-8

Psalm 15

1 Corinthians 1:18-31

Matthew 5:1-12



Holy God of all creation,

We know that you are everything.


As Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us,

"The body of Christ is the body of God,

the body of ultimate reality,

the ground of all existence. 

We do not have to look anywhere else for it. 

It resides deep in our own being."


And so we come here,

to gather 'round this old familiar table

and celebrate our being in your universal, grace-filled body.

Fill us with your love,

for we know we are your people,

gathered in the name of Christ.  Amen.



God of bright, crisp winter skies,

God of the goose, the squirrel, and the human too,

Holy God of all creation,

we celebrate the mystery of your world,

so full of hope and contradictions.


I saw that cherry tree you set in bloom on Friday.

I hope those fragile blossoms made it through the night.


Although they may seem foolish to those wise in worldly ways,

Your blessings pour out in an ever-flowing stream,

washing pain and desolation into quiet pools of healing love.


We thank you for your faithful love of all creation,

for all the ways you open up our eyes

to see the goodness in this living land,

for teaching us that this creation is ours to care for, ours to love.


Hear now our prayers of praise and thanks,

our songs of joy and hope.



O loving, healing God,

we've brought our burdens to this table,

our neatly bundled bags of hurt and disappointment,

our righteous anger,

our outrage at the way injustice seems to have the upper hand.


We know so many places where anger dominates,

so many faces twisted shut by pain and grief.


You've called us into this community

so we can learn to love and serve,

so we can take our place as co-creators.


But the weight of all those burdens

is sometimes more than we can bear alone.


As we approach this table of forgiveness,

we ask for strength to bear the load,

for wisdom in the face of violence and anger.


Hear now our prayers for those we know

who carry anger, pain and grief,

and for ourselves,

for we would empty ourselves as we serve one another

the healing meal you've set before us.



"The body of Christ is the body of God,

the body of ultimate reality,

the ground of all existence. 

We do not have to look anywhere else for it. 

It resides deep in our own being."


Communion "… encourages us to be fully aware

so that we can touch the body of reality in us. 

Bread and wine are not symbols. 

They contain the reality, just as we do."


Fill us with this reality of the risen Christ, we pray.  Amen.



February 10, 2002

Prayers by Sherri Alms, Liturgist

Lessons: Exodus 24:12-18; Psalm 99; 2 Peter 1:16-21; Matthew 17:1-9



Gifting spirit,

search us and know us.

Breathe on us the breath of heaven,

life-giving, soul-expanding breath.


Create in us the heart of the holy one

who colored the dawn,

shaped the mountains,

tumbled the oceans.


Invite in us your boundless love

that brings the homeless home,

nourishes the empty souls,

clothes the cold and forgotten of your children.


Come, o come, search us and know us.



Amazing grace that sings of light and freedom,

write a song on our hearts, invite us to your redeeming dance,

lift up our souls, o joyful lover.


Where we have seen your dancing footprints,

where we have heard the music of your compassion,

where we have known your deep wisdom,

where we have seen your life-giving force bursting forth,

we lift our voices in thanks and praise.


When we have felt your hand writing on our hearts,

when we have felt our souls infused with the light of creation,

when we have touched your face and dwelt on the mountain top,

for those precious times, we lift our voices in thanks and praise.


That you give us the wisdom of holy foolishness,

that you cry with us in our grief,

that you whisper to us of hope in times of despair,

that you care for us as you care for the tiny sparrow,

that you know us to the height and depth of what we can be,

We lift our voices in thanks and praise.


Lover of fools and saints, we bring to you today our prayers of thanks and praise¼



Where is the light that breaks forth like the dawn?

Where is freedom for the oppressed?

Why can we not see the broken yokes, the forgotten chains?


How is it that our own souls are locked up?

Why does it sometimes feel as if our hearts have frozen

hard as the ground beneath our feet?

Where are the healing tears?

Where is the river of holy water

that will transform our tired spirits?


Send down, o God, send down

your spirit energy, renewing force,

righteous anger, transformative power.


We cry out to you on behalf of a broken world.

We beseech you and plead with you to come to us

with light for the blind, warmth for the cold, bread for the hungry.


Invoke in us a right spirit.

Create in us a clean heart.

Nourish within us a love to meet the world's great needs.

Help us to imagine your house of many rooms,

your people called to their multitude of gifts,

your abused world recreated as you meant it to be.


Recreate us as your people called to the holiness

of healing, reconciliation, freedom, and justice.


Hear us now, fierce protector, lover of peace,

As we pray for those who need the great light of your love¼


In your presence, gifting spirit,

we are salt and light,

a shining city on a hill.

We are known and loved.

It is enough and more.

In the name of that eternal love,


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Thanksgiving 2002
Easter 2001: Turning Our World 'nwoD edispU'