Epiphany (sometimes referred to as “Three Kings Day”) is a Christian festival which celebrates God’s self-revelation to the world in Jesus Christ. The actual feast day itself is today, January 6th, and recalls the Wise Men’s visit to the infant Jesus, bringing their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The liturgical season celebrated throughout the next six weeks builds on this same theme. From the Maji to Jesus’ baptism to the beginning of his public ministry, this season reveals to the whole world that Jesus is God’s only and beloved child.
In this season of Epiphany I am excited to reveal a new liturgy to the congregation—the Misneach Mass.
Pronounced MISH-nock, Misneach is a Gaelic word for courage, hopefulness, and a sense of pushing forward through uncertainty. Composer Kathleen Durbin (pictured below) writes: “Misneach Mass is a meditation on the beauty of Christ’s love and mercy for us, today. Together, let us celebrate the joy we have in Christ living in both the uncertainties of this life and the hope of life to come.”
This mass is an original setting of the liturgy and contains a new Kyrie, Gloria, Alleluia, Sanctus, Lord’s Prayer and Lamb of God. Though the melodies may be unfamiliar now, the text ought to be very familiar to us. The ELW has ten different settings of the liturgy, but here at CtK we are always looking for new, exciting, quality, singable settings, and I think Kathleen has done an absolutely beautiful job constructing this with these elements in mind. This setting is for piano, guitar, tin whistle, and of course the voice, with optional mandolin and violin to help enhance the Gaelic nature of this setting.
As we watch our daylight hours grow longer in this new year, we also focus on bringing the light of Christ into a dark world. I hope that you look forward to learning this beautiful new liturgy and worshiping with us during this season!
Fun Fact: In Ireland, Epiphany is also sometimes called ‘Nollaig na mBean’ or Women’s Christmas. Traditionally the women get the day off and men do the housework and cooking! It is becoming more popular and many Irish women now get together on the Sunday nearest Epiphany and have tea and cakes.