Epiphany -- Service Prayers -- 1st Sunday

The Voice of God Over the Waters
Service Prayers for Baptism of Christ Sunday
First Sunday after the Epiphany

Call To Worship (based on Psalm 29)

One:    Come, all who are gathered to worship God:
Many:    Let us ascribe to our God glory and strength!

Let us ascribe to God the glory of God’s name
and let us worship God in holy splendor!

The voice of our God is over the waters.
The God of glory thunders over mighty waters.

Invocation

God of grace and majesty, we exalt you
for your wisdom, compassion, strength, and love.
We thank you for choosing to walk among your people
in all the circumstances of our lives.
We pray that we would always be aware of your presence among us.
Grant us ears to hear and eyes to see, through faith,
the Christ in all who call upon your name.
Almighty God, we give thanks
for the strength, courage, and conviction to do justice,
to speak loudly for those who need water,
who need the refreshment that comes only from you
and from those whom you have sent.
May we walk as angels in the places we live,
striving to live in the way of Jesus.
We extend our gratitude for being able to come before you this day
to offer our worship, to seek your presence,
and to be restored to do great things among your people.
For this and every day of life, we give you thanks and praise.
In the name of Jesus the Christ we pray.                    Amen.

Litany for Baptism of Christ Sunday    (Psalm 29, Matthew 3: 13-17)

One:   
Jesus came to John and asked to be baptized along with everyone else.
John objected, but Jesus prevailed, and went down into the water,
immersing himself in the waters of our lives and opening his life to the voice of God.

Many:    The voice of our GOD is powerful, full of majesty:

Give us ears, O God, to hear the cry of the waters,
the waters that we have polluted and have not cared for.
Give us ears to hear the voices of those who cry out for pure water,
water that replenishes the body and refreshes the soul.

The voice of our GOD breaks the cedars of Lebanon:

Awaken our ears, Divine Sovereign,
to hear your voice as you speak to those who are the powerful among us,
those who sit over nations,
those who sit over peoples in judgment.
Let them hearken, O God, for you are the One who judges over all.

The voice of God makes Lebanon skip joyfully, like a calf at play:

Restore to us, O God, the joy of our youth,
the joy of freedom, the joy of peace;
may it echo throughout the world.

The voice of our GOD shakes the wilderness:

Shake us, Mighty Wind of God!
Shake our institutions that oppress and discriminate against your people.
Shake our governments that seek war and not peace.

Shake all of our hearts and break up the stony places within us,
and drench us in the baptism of compassion, tenderness, and justice.

And Jesus arose from the waters of the Jordan, and heard the voice of God:
“This is my Son, the Beloved, in whom I am well pleased.”

O God of earth and heaven,
Sovereign from sea to shining sea,
give strength to all your people and bless our world with peace.

Prayer of Confession

God of heaven and earth, you see all things.
You know the depths of our hearts better than we can know ourselves.
You know the great heights to which we aspire
and the depth of our failures when we fall short of doing what we know is right.
We ask for your mercy and forgiveness for our selfishness and fears.
Help us to walk as the faithful representatives you call us to be.
Create in us the grace of Christ toward those with whom we disagree,
just as he extended it to those who conspired against him. Amen.

Words of Assurance

God truly shows no partiality.
In every nation, anyone who reverences God
and does what is right is acceptable to God.
Just as the prophets testified in the scriptures,
everyone who believes in God
receives forgiveness of sins through God’s name.


Invitation to the Offering

Just as the waters of the earth are abundant and full of life,
so are the blessings God pours upon us daily.
Let us now joyfully offer our tithes, pledges, and offerings
with the hope that they may enable others to feel immersed in God’s love.

Dedication

Giver and Sustainer of Life,
pour out your blessing upon these gifts
and upon all who give from their hearts.
Multiply them so they reach farther than our imaginations can carry them.
In the blessed name of our Redeemer, we pray. Amen.

Benediction

As we prepare to leave this place,
may the refreshment of the baptism of the Holy Spirit remain with us,
renewing us for the service and work that awaits us. Amen.





The Voice of God Over the Waters:  Service Prayers for Baptism of Christ Sunday was written by the Rev. Renee C. Jackson, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, presently serving as Pastor and Teacher of the First Congregational UCC in Ypsilanti, Michigan, an Open and Affirming congregation where God is still speaking.

Copyright 2011 Local Church Ministries, Congregational Vitality and Discipleship Ministry Team, United Church of Christ, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH  44115-1100.  Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this material for use in services of worship or church education.  All publishing rights reserved. 

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CONTACT INFO

Rev. Susan A. Blain
Minister for Worship, Liturgy and Spiritual Formation
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland,Ohio 44115
216-736-3869
blains@ucc.org