Baptism of the Lord

When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,
the work of Christmas begins
to find the lost, to heal the broken, to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner, to rebuild the nations, to bring peace,
to make music in the heart.

Call to worship

Today we celebrate the Baptism of Jesus. God calls Jesus his beloved Son. We, too, are beloved sons and daughters of God. Baptism identifies us as God’s own children.

  • To the point: Because of the power of John’s baptism, people thought they found the Christ in John. John points, however, to Jesus, who will bring an even more powerful baptism. The Holy Spirit descended on Jesus, so does the Holy Spirit descend upon us; Jesus is the Beloved Son, so are we beloved children; God was well pleased with Jesus, so is God well pleased with us. To what does such a baptism call us?
  • Connecting to the Gospel (Luke 3:15-16, 21-22) to the second reading: The second reading spells out what baptismal living looks like: “reject godless ways and worldly desires and live temperately, justly, and devoutly.” This is the rebirth to which God calls us.
  • Connecting to the Gospel to experience: Over time and experience we grow to maturity as human beings, appreciating more and more fully both our roots and our potential. So too with baptism; we grow over time into understanding its meaning and its power.

Centering prayers

The Gospel

(Luke 3: 15-16, 21-22)

Jesus also had been baptized and was praying.
Heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him.

Jesus, sinless, you stood among us,
awaiting the sacrament like everybody else.
as though you were a sinner who needs to be made clean.
But the Father said in a loud voice:
“You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
Oh Holy God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you stand with us, sinful as we are,
forming us as beloved daughters and sons.
Baptism shows your light in us for all the world.
Let it be.

The First Reading

(Isaiah 42: 1-4,6-7 or Isaiah 40:1-5,9-11)

Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased.

We cry in the wilderness.
The roads we walk are rugged and rough:
virus, racism and climate potholes,
only deep valleys and steep mountains.
Jesus, be a path for us. As for all nations,
open our straying eyes; release prisoners to walk free;
deliver those who live in oppression.
Let the grace you bestow make us mercy
to one another. Gather us as lambs in your arms.

The Second Reading

(Acts 10:34-38 or Titus 2: 11-14, 3: 4-7)

He saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
whom he richly poured out on us.
Lord, rain down your Spirit upon us:
over our shoulders, heads, hands, feet.
Drench our hearts.Your lavish love
gives us life beyond telling. Thank you.

Copyright © 2021, Anne M. Osdieck

For reflection