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Bulletin – January 10, 2021

The Baptism of Jesus


Lighting the Christ Candle

We light this candle not only as a symbol of light in this place, or only as a symbol of light in our lives, but as a symbol of light in a world that so often lives in darkness. Epiphany is the season of light. May the light of your presence, O God, illuminate not only our lives but the world with your love, compassion, and mercy. May the glory of your love, like this candle illuminating the darkness, shine through each one of us for the whole world to see.

Call to Worship

One:   We are gathered to worship our God.
All:     a community of faith in God’s subversive world.

One:   We gather to celebrate
All:     Send your Spirit upon us.

One:   We come from many places, with many burdens.
All:     Send your Spirit upon us.

One:   We turn our hearts to you, O God.
All:     Send your Spirit upon us, and make us your beloved family.

Hymn – “O Splendour of God’s Glory Bright”

O Splendour of God’s glory bright, from light eternal bringing light,
O light of life, light’s living spring, true day, all days illumining.

Come, Holy Sun of heavenly love, pour down your radiance from above,
And to our inward hearts convey the Holy Spirit’s cloudless ray.

O joyful be the passing day with thoughts as clear as morning’s ray,
With faith like noon-tide shining bright, our souls unshadowed by the night.

O Christ, with each returning morn your image to our hearts is born,
O may we ever see anew our Saviour and our God in you!

Prayer of Approach

We thank you God that you know what it is to be human, fragile and vulnerable, searching for ways to stay alive in dangerous and complicated times. We thank you that you know the struggles and temptations of living in darkness. And we thank you that you give light to the world.

We confess that sometimes it’s easier to stay in the shadows, where things can stay hidden, where people can’t see our cracks and flaws.

We confess that we have at times brought darkness into the world by our anger, our selfishness, our violence.

We confess that we are sometimes skeptical of light and find it easier to trust its absence. Cast your light on our darkness and forgive us, God of love. Amen.

Words of Assurance

Hymn – “Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart”

Spirit of God, descend upon my heart.
Wean it from earth, thro’ all its pluses move,
Stoop to my weakness, strength to me impart,
And make me love you as I ought to love.

I ask no dream, no prophet ecstasies,
No sudden rending of the veil of clay,
No angel visitant, no opening skies,
But take the dimness of my soul away.

Have you not bid me love you, God and King,
All, all your own, soul, heart, and strength and mind?
I see your cross: there teach my heart to cling.
O let me seek you and O let me find!

Teach me to love you as your angels love,
One holy passion, filling all my frame,
The baptism of the heaven-descended dove
My heart an altar and your love the flame.

Time for All Ages

The Word

Scripture Reading:          Genesis 1:1-5

1 In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, 2 the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. 3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

Scripture Reading:          Mark 1:4-11

4 John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6 Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. 8 I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church.

Thanks be to God.

Meditation – “To Be Beloved!”

Anthem – “Down Galilee’s Slow Roadways”

The Response


One:   Loving God, as we move forward into a new year, we ask you to bless all for whom the year is not being looked forward to. We think of people who are ill and fearful of what the year will bring. We think of all who have family difficulties and are concerned as to how to solve them. We think of all for whom the new year is bringing money problems, and all who are fearful for their jobs. We ask this in the name of new born king.

All:     Loving God, hear our prayer.

One:   Loving God, for us all the future is unknown—help us to have the faith to trust in you, the wisdom to do the right thing, and to be guided by your constancy. Remind us, Lord, that you always keep your promises, remind us too that they are kept in your time and not ours. We ask this in the name of the new born king.

All:     Loving God, hear our prayer.

One:   Loving God, we ask your blessing on all who have turned their back on You; or who have not known You. May they hear your word and respond to your love. Be with those who are lost, who have never known You. Help them to seek and find the peace and love found in you and you alone. We ask this in the name of the new born king.

All:     Loving God, hear our prayer.

One:   Loving God, we bring before you our loved ones, and we lift them up in prayer to you now…For our family, our friends, for all whom we know. May this year be good for all whom we love. We ask this in the name of the new born king.

All:     Loving God, hear our prayer.

One:   Loving God, guide us in our lives. May others see your love shine through us. May our words and actions constantly point to you; may we put You first in everything and serve You always. We ask this in the name of the new born king.

All:     Loving God, hear our prayer.

One:   Loving God, we ask you to be with us and give us a year where we know and feel and are guided by your presence. Whatever the year holds may we never lose sight of you. We ask this in the name of the new born king.

All:     Loving God, hear our prayer.

(adapted from Rev. Ian Elston, the Church of Scotland)

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

Hymn – “I Have Called You by Your Name”

I have called you by your name, you are mine,
I have gifted you and ask you now to shine.
I will not abandon you; all my promises are true.
You are gifted, called, and chosen; you are mine.

I will help you learn my name as you go,
Read it written in my people, help them grow.
Pour the water in my name, speak the word your soul can claim,
Offer Jesus’ body given long ago.

I know you will need my touch as you go,
Feel it pulsing in creation’s ebb and flow.
Like the woman reaching out, choosing faith in spite of doubt,
Hold the hem of Jesus’ robe, then let it go.

I have given you a name, it is mine,
I have given you my Spirit as a sign,
With my wonder in your soul, make my wounded children whole,
Go and tell my precious people they are mine.


Go in peace, love and care for one another in the name of Christ;
and may the Spirit of God which filled John and Jesus, fill your hearts, souls and minds;
may the power of God which upheld them, strengthen you for each day; and may the love of God which directed their every action be your guiding light and your shining star, both today and every day. Amen.

Response “O Light of Nations, Fill the Earth”

Your glory shone at Jordan’s stream,
The font where we were born anew.
Attune your church to know you near;
Illumine all we say and do.

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