Epiphany -- Service Prayers -- 1st Sunday

“I am God’s Beloved!” Renewing Baptismal Promises:
Service Prayers for First Sunday after Epiphany,
The Baptism of Christ

 

Call to Worship[1] 

 

 One:   Sisters and brothers, today we recall:

            Jesus came to the waters of baptism.

 

 All:     In baptism, our Creator claims us

            and frees us from the power of hatred and death.

 

 One:   In baptism we are joined to Christ

            and we are joined together in unity, recalling

 

 All:     “There is no longer Jew or Greek

            there is no longer slave or free

            there is no longer male or female

            for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”

 

 One:   In baptism, the Spirit of God anoints us for ministry

            and makes us signs of divine love.

            It is the mark of acceptance into the church

            and the beginning of our growth

            into full Christian faith and discipleship.

 

 All:     Therefore on this day,

            the whole church, the Body of Christ,

            remembers and celebrates.

 

 One:   Let us worship God!

 

Unison Prayer of Confession (based on Isaiah 43: 1-2)

 

            Gracious God, we confess that too often we live

            as though we are fearful, not faithful. 

            When we encounter the waters of chaos and confusion,

            we don’t easily pass through them,

            but we obsess about the height of the water

            instead of the sight of the other side. 

            You promised to walk through the rivers with us. 

            Help us believe. 

            And help our unbelief.

 

Assurance of Grace

 

One:    Thus says the God who created you and formed us in God’s image: 

            “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;

            I have called you by name, you are mine.” 

            This is the good news!

 

 All:     I belong to God.

 

Passing the Peace

 

Invitation to Share Our Tithes and Offerings

 

            When we give our tithes and offerings,

            we are witnesses to the transforming love of God in Christ. 

            I invite you to give as generously as you have received.

 

Blessing of the Gifts

 

            Accept these gifts, we humbly pray O God. 

            Let them give you honor and glory as we serve the needs

            of your people. 

            And let the called and redeemed of God say,   Amen

 

Scripture Readings                  

 

            Isaiah 43: 1-10a Luke 3: 15-17, 21-22

 

Sermon

 

(As a transition from the sermon, invite people to recall their baptism or invite those not yet baptized to consider whether they may feel called to baptism in the near future.  Ask them to reaffirm their decision or the decision made by others for them to live a baptized life, recalling the first promises made in their life of faith.)

 

 

Remembrance of Our Baptisms

 

Remembering Our Baptismal Promises

 

Pastor: Do you promise, by the grace of God,

            to be a disciple, to follow in the way of Jesus Christ,

            to resist oppression,

            to show love and justice,

            and to witness to the work and word of Jesus Christ,

             as best you are able?

 

(Let people answer silently to themselves; pause)

 

 Pastor: And do you promise, according to the grace given to you,

            to grow in your faith and to be a faithful member of the church,

            celebrating Christ’s presence and furthering God’s mission

            in all the world?

 

Reaffirmation of Baptism

 

Pastor: If you choose, you may come forward to recall the promises of your baptism—

            made either by you or on your behalf by your parents/guardians.

            If you have never been baptized,

            consider whether this is the day

            you would like to start the journey toward your formal commitment.

 

            Please come forward and as you touch your forehead with the water, say,

            “I am God’s beloved!”

 

Prayer of Recommitment

 

 All:     By your Spirit, Almighty God, Grant us

                        Love for others,

                        Joy in serving you,

                        Peace in disagreement,

                        Patience in suffering,

                        Kindness toward all people,

                        Goodness in evil times,

                        Faithfulness in temptation,

                        Gentleness in the face of opposition,

                        Self-control in all things.

            Then strengthen us for ministry in your name.  Amen.

 

 

Benediction

           

            Remember this week whose you are.  And remember,

            “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

            and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;

            when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,

            and the flame shall not consume you.” 

            Go in the peace of Christ.

 

            Thanks be to God!

 

 

 

Suggestions for Music:

 

Arise Your Light Has Come                                        TNCH 164

What Ruler Wades through Murky Streams              TNCH 169

When Peace Like a River                                           TNCH 438

River                                                                          SING!  119

Part the Waters                                                         SING! 109

Baptism Song                                                             SING! 94

Cuando desciendo a las agues                                  SING! 114

            (As I Descend in the Waters)


 

“I am God’s Beloved!” Service Prayers for the First Sunday after Epiphany, was written by the Rev. Dr. David Bahr, pastor of Park Hill Congregational United Church of Christ in Denver, Colorado.  The questions, affirmations and recommitment of the Remembrance of Baptism have been adapted from material in Book of Worship, © 1986 Office of Church Life and Leadership.

Copyright 2010 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. 



[1] Reproduced with adaptation from Praising God: The Trinity in Christian Worship edited by Ruth Carolyn Duck and G. Ronald Kastner.  ©1999 Westminster John Knox Press.  Used by permission of Westminster John Knox Press.  www.wjkbooks.com

 

 

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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