The Baptism of the Lord, 10 January: Isaiah 40; Psalm 29; Titus 2-3; Luke 3 ~ anoint us with your Spirit and power

The Baptism of the Lord

Today we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord: it’s the last day of the Christmas season. The baptism of Jesus marked the end of his quiet years in Nazareth and the start of his public ministry.

+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening Prayer:

Open the heavens, almighty Father, and pour out your Spirit upon your people as we gather in prayer. Renew the power of our baptismal cleansing and fill us with zeal for good deeds. Let us hear your voice once again, that we may recognize in your beloved Son our certain hope of inheriting eternal life. Grant this through Jesus Christ, your Word made flesh, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, in the splendour of eternal light, God for ever and ever.
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Hymn: “Comfort, comfort ye my people” – Conrad Grebel College Chapel Choir

Comfort, comfort O my people; speak of peace: thus says our God. Comfort those who sit in darkness, mourning deep at sorrow’s load. Speak unto Jerusalem of the peace that waits for them; tell her all her sins I cover and that warfare now is over.

Hark the voice of one who’s crying in the desert far and near, calling all to true repentance, since the Kingdom now is here. Oh, that warning cry obey! Now prepare for God a way! Let the valleys rise to meet Him and the hills bow down to greet Him.

Oh make straight what long was crooked; make the rougher places plain. Let your hearts be true and humble, as befits His holy reign. For the glory of the Lord now on earth is shed abroad, and all flesh shall see the token that His  word is never broken.
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A Reading from the Old Testament: Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11 (NLT)
[Christians believe Isaiah’s words refer to Jesus, the true shepherd: he is ‘the glory of the Lord’]

“Comfort, comfort my people,” says your God. “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem. Tell her that her sad days are gone and her sins are pardoned. Yes, the Lord has punished her twice over for all her sins.”

Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting, “Clear the way through the wilderness for the Lord! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God! Fill in the valleys, and level the mountains and hills. Straighten the curves, and smooth out the rough places. Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. The Lord has spoken!”

Yahweh is coming
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O Zion, messenger of good news, shout from the mountaintops! Shout it louder, O Jerusalem. Shout, and do not be afraid. Tell the towns of Judah, “Your God is coming!”

Yes, the Sovereign Lord is coming in power. He will rule with a powerful arm. See, he brings his reward with him as he comes. He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.
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A Reading from Psalms: Psalm 29:1-2, 3-4, 9-10 (NLT)

Honor the Lord, you heavenly beings; honor the Lord for his glory and strength. Honor the Lord for the glory of his name. Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.
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The voice of the Lord echoes above the sea. The God of glory thunders. The Lord thunders over the mighty sea. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic.
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The voice of the Lord twists mighty oaks and strips the forests bare. In his Temple everyone shouts, “Glory!” The Lord rules over the floodwaters. The Lord reigns as king forever.
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“Psalm 29 – HeartSong” – Cedarville University


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A Reading from the Letters: Titus 2:11-14; 3:4-7 (NLT)
[Salvation is possible for all people, because of God’s great compassion, which we see in the gift of baptism.]

Then Peter replied, “I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism. In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right. This is the message of Good News for the people of Israel — that there is peace with God through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. You know what happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee, after John began preaching his message of baptism. And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.
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A Reading from the Gospels: Luke 3:15-16, 21-22 (NLT)
[The events celebrated today are described in the Gospel of Luke.]

The Baptism of the Christ Daniel Bonell (1999) Saint George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem, Israel

The Baptism of the Christ
Daniel Bonell (1999)
Saint George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem, Israel

Everyone was expecting the Messiah to come soon, and they were eager to know whether John might be the Messiah. John answered their questions by saying, “I baptize you with water; but someone is coming soon who is greater than I am — so much greater that I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
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One day when the crowds were being baptized, Jesus himself was baptized. As he was praying, the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit, in bodily form, descended on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.”
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Hymn: “Beneath the Waters” – Hillsong


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Intercessions:

God of grace and glory, renew the face of the earth – and begin with us… as we bring our needs before you:

+ For all baptized believers – that we may live out our professions of faith in our everyday circumstances…. Lord, hear us.
+ For young people preparing for Confirmation – that their faith may grow as the Spirit brings wisdom and understanding…. Lord, hear us.
+ For all adult believers – that we may be good examples of Christian faith and practice to young people…. Lord, hear us.
+ For newborn babies, and all who will soon be baptized – that their parents will raise them to make their own professions of faith…. Lord, hear us.
+ For expectant mothers, and parents hoping for a baby – that their dream of a happy, healthy child may become a reality…. Lord, hear us.
+ For all the people suffering as a result of war, violence and natural disaster – that they may be given the help they need to rebuild their lives…. Lord, hear us.
+ For our friends and relatives who have gone before us in faith – that they may enter into the joys of eternal life…. Lord, hear us.

Loving God, your creative Spirit renews humanity and sustains us always: hear our prayers and, by your grace, transform us into your likeness through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Hymn: “Revival” – Robin Mark


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Benediction:

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)

+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen



Categories: Life around the World, Life in America, Life in Christ, Life in Our Family

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