Baptism of the Lord
First Sunday after the Epiphany
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Isaiah 43:1-7; Psalm 29; Acts 8:14-17; Luke 3:15-17, 21-22
The psalmist depicts God’s glory and majesty. Isaiah shows us God’s strength—divine power is not just for show but is available to protect, support, and nurture God’s beloved children. The story of Jesus’ baptism evokes feelings of awe and wonder. It is impossible to picture the heavens opening and the Holy Spirit descending as a dove without total amazement! And yet, through our own sharing in the baptism of Christ, we are able to experience the intimacy of a God who loves us as precious children, a God who calls each of us by name.
INVITATION AND GATHERING
Call to Worship (Isaiah 43, Psalm 29)
Our God is a God of power and strength!
God has created each of us
with tender care.
Our God is a God of majesty and awe!
God walks with each of us
every step of the way.
Our God is a God of glory and wonder!
God loves each of us
with tenderness and passion.
Our God calls us each by name.
God calls each of us
to unite in worship together!
Opening Prayer (Psalm 29, Luke 3)
Holy God of glory and majesty,
you have called us by name.
We pray in this moment
for the courage and the strength
to answer your call.
As we open our ears
to hear the story of your Son’s baptism,
open our hearts also,
that we may experience again
the renewing power of rebirth
in the Holy Spirit.
Inspire us in this time of worship,
that we may claim our own identity
as your beloved children.
We pray in the name of our brother, Jesus Christ. Amen.
PROCLAMATION AND RESPONSE
Prayer of Confession (Isaiah 43, Psalm 29, Luke 3)
Creator of the universe,
we stand amazed at your power and glory.
We are eager to worship you and offer our praise,
but we are often reluctant to answer
when we hear you calling our name.
We sing our songs of tribute in the sanctuary,
but shy away from the river,
lest we be baptized
with the fire of the Holy Spirit.
Forgive us when we forget your promise
to be with us always, O God.
Renew us with the power of your ever-present love,
and strengthen us to proclaim your justice
throughout the world. Amen.
Words of Assurance (Isaiah 43)
Hear the words of our creator,
spoken through the prophet Isaiah:
“I have called you by name.
You are mine. Do not fear,
for I have redeemed you.”
Passing the Peace of Christ
As you greet those around you, look at each person and offer these words from Isaiah: “You are precious in God’s sight.”
Response to the Word (Isaiah 43, Luke 3)
Creator God, Holy One,
you have made us in your image,
and we are precious in your sight.
Jesus Christ, Son of God,
we stand at the river,
ready to share in your baptism.
Holy Spirit, Dove of Peace,
set us on fire with the power of your love.
THANKSGIVING AND COMMUNION
Offering Prayer (Psalm 29, Acts 8)
we come today with joy for your baptism;
we come with praise for your glory;
we come with gratitude for your love.
As we offer these gifts to you,
send your Spirit upon us,
that our hands and our hearts
may do your work in the world.
As we offer our lives to you,
bless us with your strength,
that we may join with you
to work for the blessing of peace
throughout the world. Amen.
Invitation to Reaffirm Our Baptismal Covenant
We gather today to worship and praise the God of awe and majesty. We come to encounter the God who knows us each by name and who walks with us in intimate love. We come to reaffirm the blessing we have received through our baptism. In baptism, we remember God’s saving actions throughout history, and we have the opportunity to answer yes as God whispers our names. As a
community of God, we gather today at the waters of baptism to reaffirm our commitment to Christ and to experience anew the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.
Benediction (Isaiah 43)
You are each precious in God’s sight.
We go from this place,
claiming our identity as children of God.
God has called you by name.
We go into the world
to answer God’s call. Alleluia!
Contemporary Gathering Words (Isaiah 43)
(Three leaders are visible to begin the service. An unseen voice
[amplified] speaks the words in bold print. The words are NOT
printed for the congregation to see.)
Leader 1: (Sounding bored) Well, the clock says it’s
about time to start, so let’s all just . . .
Voice: (Interrupting) You are precious in my sight,
and I love you.
Leader 2: What?! Who is . . . ? Who are you talking to?
Voice: I’m talking to you. You are my child, and I
Leader 1: Hey, what’s going on here? We’re trying to
Voice: You are precious in my sight, and I
Leader 3: God, is that you? Are you really here?
Voice: I am here, and I have called you because I
love each of you.
Leader 1: God is here!
Leader 2: God loves us!
Leader 3: Let’s worship God!
Praise Sentences (Psalm 29)
Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!
The voice of the Lord is powerful and full of majesty.
The voice of the Lord thunders over mighty waters.
Worship the Lord in holy splendor!
From The Abingdon Worship Annual edited by Mary J. Scifres and B.J. Beu, Copyright © Abingdon Press. The Abingdon Worship Annual 2016 is now available.