Worship at Home
Worship for 10th January 2021
The Baptism of Jesus
To listen to the sermon and a hymn dial
Sunday 10th January 10:30 AM
(or whenever you wish)
This week’s message has been prepared by Deacon Richard Beckett.
This short act of worship is for use from home. Pause to settle yourself in God’s presence, knowing that other people are sharing in worship with you.
Download the Service Sheet
We begin this week journeying with the Wise Men as our first hymn celebrates the festival of epiphany and then we make a leap in the Gospel story to the baptism of Jesus by John and we commit ourselves afresh to walk in the Jesus Way.
Lord of our journeys,
help us this day to have eyes to see your leading, ears to hear your guidance,
and a heart of courage,
that we may journey faithfully and find your way – even when the path may seem difficult and dark.
STF 227 Brightest and Best
Brightest and best of the sons of the morning,
Dawn on our darkness and lend us Thine aid;
Star of the East, the horizon adorning,
Guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.
Cold on His cradle the dewdrops are shining;
Low lies His head with the beasts of the stall;
Angels adore Him in slumber reclining,
Maker and Monarch and Saviour of all!
Say, shall we yield Him, in costly devotion,
Odors of Edom and offerings divine?
Gems of the mountain and pearls of the ocean,
Myrrh from the forest, or gold from the mine?
Vainly we offer each ample oblation,
Vainly with gifts would His favour secure;
Richer by far is the heart’s adoration,
Dearer to God are the prayers of the poor.
Prayer of Adoration:
Lord God, how awesome you are. Your voice is powerful and majestic.
Once, the earth was without shape.
Dark and empty.
Then you spoke, awesome God.
And light shone.
You separated the light from the darkness.
The whole world changed.
You later sent your Son, Jesus.
To live and walk among us on the earth.
His ministry heralded by John the Baptist.
Who baptized Jesus in the Jordan.
The whole world changed.
The sky split open.
And your Holy Spirit came down like a dove.
Then you spoke, awesome God. And continue to speak today through your Holy Spirit.
All Majestic, awesome, all-powerful God, we adore your holy name.
John the Baptist prepares the way
1 The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, 2 as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way’ –
3 ‘a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
“Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.”’
4 And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptised by him in the River Jordan. 6 John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt round his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 And this was his message: ‘After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I baptise you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.’
The baptism and testing of Jesus
9 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptised by John in the Jordan. 10 Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’
Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Please read the first three verses and then listen to David Suchet read from verse four.
Time to Reflect
No nativity narrative for Mark, no angels or shepherds or wise men – the beginning of the Good News starts with the Baptism of Jesus and no doubt Mark begins this way because he sees this event as hugely significant.
But why was Jesus baptised anyway? John summoned people to repent and be baptised. What reason did Jesus have to repent for he was ‘without sin’? As someone once said: “You don’t buy a brand new car and take it to the car wash straight away!”
What is happening here is that Jesus completely identifies himself with a generation of people who are rebellious and need to turn their lives around.
God chooses to enter into the mess and muddle of the world through the crude story of the nativity. Jesus action echoes God’s choice by entering into the waters of the river Jordan. It is an action which expresses his full identity with you and with me and perhaps does this just as graphically for us as his death on the cross.
In this moment of his baptism, Jesus walked into the waters of the Jordan in obedience to his father’s will and lest we be in any doubt as to who Jesus is, Mark records the moment when God affirms Jesus in his ministry and relationship with a voice and a dove.
One of the most challenging Bible verses for me is 1 Corinthians 11:1 where Paul says “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”
We can be imitators of Christ but we cannot be Christ. It is even a challenge to be like Jesus at times. So it can be the greatest relief and unburdening for us that we can cease from struggling and striving to become like Jesus, why?….
Because Jesus has first become like us!
As we start the New Year we commit ourselves to rest in this knowledge that God in Jesus took on human likeness. You might like to respond to this as you share with many others and say the Methodist covenant prayer in its traditional (and more challenging) form:
I am no longer my own but yours. Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will; put me to doing, put me to suffering; let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you, exalted for you, or brought low for you; let me be full, let me be empty, let me have all things, let me have nothing: I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to your pleasure and disposal. And now, glorious and blessèd God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you are mine and I am yours. And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.
STF 781 Take, oh take me as I am
Take, oh take me as I am;
summon out what I shall be;
set your seal upon my heart – and live in me.
Prayers of Intercessions:
We may not have precious gifts to offer but we give our prayers in this moment.
Gracious God, may our prayers be in tune with your thoughts as we acknowledge that you are interested in every part of our lives.
What we do have we give over to you now. May the smallest of our offerings be significant in your eyes. But let this not limit what we give.
We pray for those who feel they have nothing left to give whether mentally, physically or spiritually.
For those who feel badly treated by society and feel they can make no valuable contribution.
For those whose gifts and skills are huge yet are neglected or rejected.
For people whose lives are shattered by bereavement and grief.
For people who have much to offer but feel hampered by difference or disability.
For those who rely for their very survival on their own resources and the gifts of others because of hunger, war, climate change and bereavement.
Gracious God, make those of us who can be – willing givers and those who must be – thankful recipients.
The Lord's Prayer
Please use the version that you prefer
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,
the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be your name,
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done,
On earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
As we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
And deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power
and the glory are yours
Now and for ever.
STF 564 O Thou who camest from above
O Thou Who camest from above,
The pure celestial fire to impart,
Kindle a flame of sacred love
On the mean altar of my heart.
There let it for Thy glory burn
With inextinguishable blaze,
And trembling to its source return,
In humble prayer and fervent praise.
Jesus, confirm my heart’s desire
To work and speak and think for Thee;
Still let me guard the holy fire,
And still stir up Thy gift in me.
Ready for all Thy perfect will,
My acts of faith and love repeat,
Till death Thy endless mercies seal,
And make my sacrifice complete.
A prayer of blessing:
Lord, help us to be open to your prompting
as we seek to discover what you would have us be and do.
Remind as again and again that you have promised to be our guide and companion on our journey.
Help us to look forward with renewed commitment,
and bless our thinking and speaking and doing.
In your name.
Richard has recorded a short “postscript” message to end our service this morning.
Some material adapted from Roots resources.
Covenant Prayer from the Methodist Worship Book.
Prepared and formatted by Deacon Richard Beckett
Webpage: Paul Deakin