St Mary’s Sunday Service 10th Janaury 2021

We are very grateful to our Interim Pastr, Revd Canon Alison Peden

           The Baptism of Christ    10th January 2021

This day Jesus is revealed as the Christ in the waters of baptism

Preparation:  Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Christ our Lord.  Amen

Our Lord Jesus Christ said: the first commandment is this:
“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love
the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul,
with all your mind and with all Your strength.” The second is this:  “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.

Gloria:   Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father.    Amen.

Collect:   Eternal Father, who at the baptism of Jesus revealed him to be your Son, anointing him with the Holy Spirit: grant that we, being born again, and made your children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

Reading:   Psalm 29
Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name;
   worship the Lord in holy splendour.

The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders,
   the Lord, over mighty waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
   the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox.

The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
   the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

The voice of the Lord causes the oaks to whirl,
   and strips the forest bare; and in his temple all say, ‘Glory!’

The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
   the Lord sits enthroned as king for ever.
May the Lord give strength to his people!
   May the Lord bless his people with peace!

Gospel:   Mark 1:4-11   
John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 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. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 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. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 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. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’

Reflection:   It’s a great and liberating lesson when we realise that God is really God.  So many of our problems come from trying to control and manage what we are not able to.  So much of our peace comes from letting God be God.

Our first Christian lesson in receptive humility comes in baptism, especially if it is adult baptism by immersion.  You are taken and submerged – ducked – and then raised bodily out of the water.  You surrender to the baptiser and are very much in their hands.

Baptism was a part of Jewish rituals of purification, especially for converts to Judaism.  After sacrifice and circumcision, you would bathe yourself as an outward sign of spiritual cleansing and new beginnings.

But we hear that Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist.  He did not baptise himself.  Although the voice from heaven declared that he was God’s beloved son, Jesus submitted to being submerged by John.  It was the first sign of his willing obedience and humility.  The anointed one was also the Servant who would submit to crucifixion at the hands of others out of love for us.

We may feel that we have lost a lot of control of our lives at the moment.  It’s particularly hard to be told by government that churches must stay closed.  But we can find peace if we try to discern the will of God for us out of love and concern for other people, and grow in humility and trust.

Prayers:  Everlasting God, we give thanks for this new day and a fresh beginning.  May we walk in your way, live our life for you and be mindful of your presence day by day.

Creator God, we remember all countries where there is war or conflict and pray that you will look mercifully upon the sufferings of the people involved.  Bless the peace negotiations for Afghanistan.

We pray for our Queen and government and the leaders in the rest of the world. Sharpen their consciences and give them the courage to make wise decisions, making wrongs right and meeting the needs of all who suffer especially as the pandemic continues worldwide.

Loving God, help those who are struggling with the restrictions in our country, especially young people whose education is suffering, and medical staff who are under so much strain.  Heal relationships which are fracturing, and comfort those who are anxious and depressed.

Mighty God, Lord of unending being, we pray for those approaching death and those whose earthly lives have ended. May they find rest in the eternal joy of heaven and let all who mourn them find comfort and peace.

Faithful God, we thank you for making us your children in baptism,
for feeding us with the spiritual food which satisfies our longings
and for the promise that you hear our prayers, which we now offer in the name of Jesus Christ our Saviour.  Amen

The Great Thanksgiving:
            Let us lift up our hearts and give thanks to the Lord our God,
            for it is right to give him thanks and praise.
            Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord;
            Hosanna in the highest!

Worship and praise belong to you, God our maker. Out of nothing, you called all worlds into being, and still you draw the universe to its fulfilment. Day and night celebrate your glory till time shall be no more. In Christ, your only-begotten Son,  you have revealed yourself to the world. By the guiding of a star, you made him known to the nations as the son of David and king of Israel; that in following him, we might be led from darkness and into his marvellous light.
Filled with the Spirit, who descended upon your Son at his Baptism in the Jordan, we who are baptised in his name strive for his heavenly kingdom in whose radiance we are transfigured and the earth is transformed.

As children of your redeeming purpose who celebrate the manifestation of your Son, we offer you our praise, with angels and archangels and the whole company of heaven, singing the hymn of your unending glory:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might.

Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.      
Hosanna in the highest.

Glory and thanksgiving be to you, most loving Father. In the Messiah you have come to us. Our hope is built on him in whom you are well pleased. Having been shown to the world as your beloved Son, he proclaimed the good news of your kingdom. The blind received their sight, the lame walked, the lepers were cleansed,           and the captives set free. At his word, water became wine, the hungry were filled with bread,     and the dead were raised.
Before he was given up to suffering and death, desiring to complete the work for which he came into the world, at supper with his disciples he took bread and offered you thanks. He broke the bread, and gave it to them, saying: “Take, eat. This is my Body: it is broken for you.” After supper, he took the cup, he offered you thanks, and gave it to them saying: “Drink this, all of you. This is my Blood of the new covenant; it is poured out for you, and for all, that sins may be forgiven. Do this in remembrance of me.”
We now obey your Son’s command. We recall his blessed passion and death, his glorious resurrection and ascension; and we look for the coming of his Kingdom. Made one with him, we offer you ourselves, a single, holy, living sacrifice. Hear us, most merciful Father, and send your Holy Spirit upon us that, overshadowed by his life-giving power, we may be kindled with the fire of your love and renewed for the service of your Kingdom.
Help us, who are baptised into the fellowship of Christ’s Body to live and work to your praise and glory; may we grow together in unity and love until at last, in your new creation, we enter into our heritage in the company of the Virgin Mary, the apostles and prophets, and of all our brothers and sisters living and departed.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom, and in whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory be to you, Lord of all ages,
world without end. Amen.

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, the power and the glory, for ever and ever.   Amen.

The Communion:   draw close to Christ in spirit and thanksgiving,
and be nourished by his presence with you and within you.   

Prayer:   May the Father who came through the Spirit upon his beloved Son at his baptism in the River Jordan pour out his gifts upon us and bless us and those we love and pray for, now and always.  Amen

 See this hymn at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIr21lLgFpg

On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry announces that the Lord is nigh;
Awake, and hearken, for he brings glad tidings from the King of kings!

Then cleansed be every Christian breast; and furnished for so great a guest;
Yea, let us each our hearts prepare, for Christ to come and enter there.

For Thou art our Salvation, Lord, our refuge, and our great reward.
Without Thy grace our souls must fade and wither like a flower decayed.

Stretch forth Thine hand, to heal our sore, and make us rise to fall no more;
Once more upon Thy people shine, and fill the world with love divine.

All praise, eternal Son, to Thee, whose advent sets Thy people free,
Whom with the Father we adore, and Spirit blest, for evermore. Amen