Holy Ground | Jan 2018 | Epiphany


Gathering: Journey of the Magi – TS Eliot


In the name of God: +Creator, Redeemer, and Giver of life.


Welcome to Holy Ground, a safe and inclusive space for everyone. If this is your first encounter with this community, or you are a regular visitor, know that God is here: make yourselves at home.

Tonight, we welcome Dave Hopwood as our speaker, who will help us reflect on Faith and Movies, so we invite you to yet another new, typically Holy Ground way of thinking about faith, art and social justice as we dim these lights, settle down with the popcorn and encounter God through the Silver Screen.

It seems Scripture is shot through with the theme of God ‘doing a new thing’ – bringing the world into being, bringing the nation of Israel into being, rescuing them from slavery in Egypt, bringing them back from exile in Babylon.

Isaiah also looks forward to another new day and another great thing: when a virgin will bear a child who will bring a reign of peace over all the earth, and all nations will acknowledge his rule. God’s Spirit is at work in all these situations to bring them into being.

And with each new thing comes the invitation, or challenge, to recognise what God is doing, and to join in with it. Often, it’s the people we’d expect who perceive what God is doing and alert others to it:

• People like Moses or the Old Testament prophets.
• In the New Testament, people like the old man Simeon in the temple, recognising God’s salvation in the form of an 8-day old baby.

But sometimes it’s the people you’d least expect who recognise the hand of God at work, and who respond with amazing commitment:

• People like the shepherds, considered unclean by the religious people of Jerusalem, who give the baby Jesus their worship.
• People like the astrologers from present-day Iraq who sought out the new king of the Jewish people and brought him costly and royal gifts.

How, I wonder, were they changed by seeing that new work of God? What courage and perseverance did it take?

God’s Holy Spirit is still doing new things. Still calling us to perceive what he is doing in our world, in our communities, in our churches, and still inviting us – maybe challenging us – to join in with him.

This Epiphany, this new year, gives us opportunity to commit ourselves afresh to the new things God is doing around us and within us.

Penitential Rite

Will this year be a time of new life, new ways for us – or will we continue to live the same old way?

Let us confess to God our failures, as well as our hopes as we begin this new year.

For the times we have failed to believe you are a God of new beginnings

Lord have mercy
Lord have mercy

For the times we have been complacent and got stuck in our old ways

Christ have mercy
Christ have mercy

For the times when we have failed to trust you with our future

Lord have mercy
Lord have mercy

Here, now, forever we are forgiven and healed.
Let this year be the year we will live as forgiven people.
God forgives you, forgive others, forgive yourself.
Thanks be to God!

Scripture: Mathew 2:1-12

This is the Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you, O Christ


Three Stations based upon the Gifts of the Magi in front of the Golden Gates and either side in the arches

Intro to the prayer stations

The wise men brought gifts to the Christ child, aware that he would be someone great, but not fully aware of just how great. In our time of meditation we will spend time reflecting on what their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh say about the person of Jesus, and let those insights direct how we respond in prayer.

Hannah will produce large symbols for each station: Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh, and write a brief sentence relating the gifts to what they say about the person of Christ, along the lines below.

As people are visiting the stations, Mikey and Andrew will sing and play ‘In the bleak mid Winter’ (Harold Darke), and then the ‘three Kings’ carol by Peter Cornelius.

GOLD – Christ as our King
A world map sets out the dimensions of Christ’s kingdom that we know best. You are invited to light a candle and place it on the map as a prayer for the peaceful, just and loving reign of Christ to been known there.

FRANKINCENSE – Christ as our Intercessor
Christ is constantly praying for you. Bring to him in prayer anything in your outlook or experience that seems to be an obstacle to your being caught up in God’s new work in your life – any fears, constraints put on you by others, past hurts, simply not knowing what God’s will might be…

You might find it helpful to tear out from the newspapers images that represent the barriers or obstacles you sense – whether in your own life or in others’ lives. Add these to the scroll and we will lay these before him by the altar at the offertory.

MYRRH – Christ as our sacrifice

Jesus is ‘the lamb slain from before the foundation of the world.’ Long before you were born, the second person of the Trinity already planned to give himself for your life.

Take a pebble from the pile and warm it up in your hand. Let it take on something of who you are. Then when you are ready, Place it in the bowl of water as your offering of yourself in return to Christ. Watch the water welcome it, enfold it, and bring out its colour and sparkle.

O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!
Bow down before him, his glory proclaim;
with gold of obedience, and incense of lowliness,
kneel and adore him, the Lord is his name!

Low at his feet lay thy burden of carefulness,
high on his heart he will bear it for thee,
comfort thy sorrows, and answer thy prayerfulness,
guiding thy steps as may best for thee be.

Fear not to enter his courts in the slenderness
of the poor wealth thou would’st reckon as thine:
truth in its beauty, and love in its tenderness,
these are the offerings to lay on his shrine.

These, though we bring them in trembling and fearfulness,
he will accept for the name that is dear;
mornings of joy give for evenings of tearfulness,
trust for our trembling and hope for our fear.

O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!
Bow down before him, his glory proclaim;
with gold of obedience, and incense of lowliness,
kneel and adore him, the Lord is his name!

S. B. Monsell

Offertory Prayer

accept the offerings of your Church,
not gold, frankincense and myrhh,
but the sacrifice and food they symbolize:
Jesus Christ, who is Lord for ever and ever. Amen.

Preface (NZ Prayer D, adapted)

The Lord is here.
God’s Spirit is with us.

Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to offer thanks and praise.

It is the joy of our salvation,
God of the universe,
to give you thanks through Jesus Christ.

You said, ‘Let there be light’; there was light.
Your light shines on in our darkness.
A light for all people, called to follow you

You were revealed to the world
Wrapped in human flesh
The power of the universe
Born as one like us

Therefore, with all your witnesses who surround us on every side,
countless as heaven’s stars, we praise you for our creation
and our calling, with loving and with joyful hearts as we sing/say:

Sanctus & Benedictus

Eucharistic Prayer (NZ Prayer D, adapted)

Blessed are you, most holy, in your Son;
On that night before he died he took bread and gave you thanks.
He broke it, gave it to his disciples, and said:

Take, eat, this is my body
which is given for you;
do this to remember me.

After supper, he took the cup, and gave you thanks.
He gave it to them and said:

Drink this. It is my blood of the new covenant,
shed for you, shed for all,
to forgive sin;
do this to remember me.

Therefore with this bread and wine, your body and blood
we recall your goodness to us.

God of the past and present,
we your people remember your Son.
We thank you for his cross and rising again,
we take courage from his ascension;
we look for his coming in glory
and in him we give ourselves to you.

+Send your Holy Spirit,
that we who receive Christ’s body
may indeed be the body of Christ,
and we who share his cup
draw strength from the one true vine.

Called to follow Christ,
help us to reconcile and unite.
Called to suffer,
give us hope in our calling.
For you, the heavenly one, make all things new;
you are the beginning and the end, the last and the first,
to whom we bring our songs of everlasting praise.

Blessing, honour and glory be yours, here and everywhere,
now and for ever. Amen.

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.

Distribution of Communion

Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour,
All for love’s sake becamest poor;
Thrones for a manger didst surrender,
Sapphire-paved courts for stable floor.
Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour,
All for love’s sake becamest poor.

Thou who art God beyond all praising,
All for love’s sake becamest Man;
Stooping so low, but sinners raising
Heavenwards by Thine eternal plan.
Thou who art God beyond all praising,
All for love’s sake becamest Man.

Thou who art love beyond all telling,
Saviour and King, we worship Thee.
Immanuel, within us dwelling,
Make us what Thou wouldst have us be.
Thou who art love, beyond all telling,
Saviour and King, we worship Thee.

Frank Houghton

Be still for the presence of the Lord,
the Holy One, is here;
come bow before him now
with reverence and fear:
in him no sin is found –
we stand on holy ground.
Be still, for the presence of the Lord,
the Holy One, is here.

Be still, for the glory of the Lord
is shining all around;
he burns with holy fire,
with splendour he is crowned:
how awesome is the sight –
our radiant King of light!
Be still, for the glory of the Lord
is shining all around.

Be still, for the power of the Lord
is moving in this place:
e comes to cleanse and heal,
to minister his grace –
no work too hard for him.
in faith receive from him.
Be still, for the power of the Lord
is moving in this place.

© David J. Evans


We say together

Infinite, intimate God,
in our worship we have celebrated your presence with us. May we grow in the divine life of Christ
who humbly shared our human life. Fill us with joy and send us out to share this good news with others.
We ask this through Jesus Christ: God-with-us – Emmanuel.


Our Saviour Christ is the Prince of Peace.
There aren’t limits to that kind of kingdom and there aren’t limits to his peace, so…

Cf Isaiah 9.6,7

The peace of the Lord be always with you
And also with you

Let us offer one another a sign of peace as we go for coffee


Blessing & Dismissal

The Lord be with you
And also with you

Let us bow our heads and pray for God’s Solemn Blessing

God has called you out of darkness,
into his wonderful light.
May you experience his kindness and blessings,
and be strong in faith, in hope, and in love. Amen.

Because you are followers of Christ,
who appeared on this day as a light shining in darkness,
may he make you a light to all your sisters and brothers. Amen.

The wise men followed the star,
and found Christ who is light from light.
May you too find the Lord
when your pilgrimage is ended. Amen.

And the blessing of God Almighty, +Father, Son & Holy Spirit
Be upon you, and remain with you,
This night and always Amen

Our worship has ended.
Go and live out the gifts you have been given,
Share them with others
In hope and in joy…
Thanks be to God.

Exit Music


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