Worship service – January 8, 2023 – “Characters of Advent: The Magi”

Today we hear the final story in the series of “Characters of Advent,” the Magi.  They bring an exotic flair to the narrative, as they were astrologers from Persia, over 600 miles away.  They brought gifts and greetings fit for a future king, although not the kind of political king that the Roman King Herod was afraid of.  At the time, Mary and Joseph might have found more use in gifts of a blanket, a soft toy, and a onesie (as our children suggested during the Children’s Time).  What gift would you bring a baby that was to be the Messiah?

Video: South African school children play Vivaldi
Video: South African school children play Vivaldi
At the beginning of the service, the prelude (introductory music) was an inspiring video of the Goede Hoop marimba school band in South Africa, as they played Antonio Vivaldi’s Gloria and Four Seasons.  It was recorded at Education Africa’s International Marimba and Steelpan Festival 2019, an annual festival celebrating the two instruments.  Click on the image at left to watch the video, or click here.

Our services are being held with in-person attendance at 10 a.m. Sunday morning.  Today’s service is provided below in its entirety in video format.  Note that closed captioning is available when “CC” appears in white at the bottom of the video panel. Click the CC to see the text; as it is done with an automated service, there may be errors in transcription.

Our Scripture Reading is Matthew 2:1-12 NRSVMatthew is the only gospel to include the story of the three wise men, or magi.  They were priests in the Persian practice of Zoroastrianism, from “the East,” perhaps Babylon (in present-day Iraq, about 620 miles away).   Magi were astrologers, and for that time they also were experts on astronomy and how the movement of the stars links with the destiny of humans.  The story of their visit to the little Jesus is symbolic of his preparation for his future as the Christ. 

The last installment of “Good Morning Morgan Hill” for Advent features an interview by reporter “Katie Cupcake” (Denise Melroy) of Melchior “Mel” the Magus (Matthew Hendrickson) about the camel road trip he and his buddies Balthasar “Ballie” and Caspar “the Ghost” took to see young Jesus.  It’s brought to you by the no-frills airline Methodist Air, where you’re all in the same boat and flying is an uplifting experience.

The message today from Rev. Dr. Linda Holbrook is “Characters of Advent: The Magi.”

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Credits and copyrights

  • “The First Noel” words and music anonymous. Public domain. CCLI song #31047, CCLI License #2718708.
  • “This is the Day” words from Psalm 118:24, adapt. By Les Garrett; music by Les Garrett.  © 1967, 1980 Universal Music – Brentwood Benson Publishing (Admin. by Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc.).   CCLI song #32754, CCLI License #2718708.
  • A Star Shone Bright” Words copyright © 2006 F. Richard Garland, harm. copyright © 2005 The United Methodist General Board of Discipleship; PO Box 340003; Nashville TN 37203-0003. Telephone 877-899-2780, ext 7070. https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/a-star-shone-bright
  • “Little Drummer Boy”  Words and music by Harry Simeone, Henry Onorati and Katherine Davis. “Peace On Earth” © 1977 (Renewed) Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp., Phraser-Morton Music and One Zee Music.   All Rights on behalf of PHRASER-MORTON MUSIC Administered by WB MUSIC CORP.  “The Little Drummer Boy” © 1958 (Renewed) EMI Mills Music, Inc. and International Korwin Corp.  Worldwide Print Rights Administered by ALFRED PUBLISHING CO., INC.
  • “I Sing Praises to Your Name” TFWS #2037”  words and music by Terry macAlmon.  © 1989 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music (Admin. by Integrity Music). CCLI song #17061, CCLI License #2718708.
  • “Go, Tell It On the Mountain” Afro-American spiritual, words adapt. by John W. Work, Jr, music arr. by Willaim Farley Smith.  © Public domain.  CCLI song #29080, CCLI License #2718708.
  • All other text on this page © The United Methodist Church of Morgan Hill.

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