Baptism of Christ – Epiphany 1 – Year B, January 10, 2021

Seeking Higher Ground
First Sunday after Epiphany
Baptism of Christ, January 10, 2021

Genesis 1:1-5; Psalm 29; Acts 19:1-7; Mark 1:4-11

Since Congregations are returning to “in-person” services at different paces, Worship Ways for will be edited for online use.  “Rubrics” for virtual services will be noted in red;  take and adapt as you need!

Call to Worship: Psalm 29

Leader should speak the lines of the people, along with the Leader’s lines

One:                 Give to our God, O heavenly beings,
Give to our God glory and strength.

People:         Out loud, but muted
                      Give to our God a glorious name;
                      worship our God in holy splendor.

                     The voice of our God is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the Lord, over mighty waters.
People:         Out loud, but muted
                      The voice of our God is powerful;
                      the voice of our God is full of majesty.

                      The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
Our God breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
People:         Out loud, but muted
                      God makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
                      and Sirion like a young wild ox. 

                     The voice of our God flashes forth flames of fire.
People:         Out loud, but muted
                      The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
                      Our God shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
                     The voice of our God causes the oaks to whirl,
and strips the forest bare;
and in God’s  temple all say, “Glory!”

People:         Out loud, but muted
                      The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
                      Our God sits enthroned as ruler forever.

One:                  May our God give strength to the people!
May the Lord bless the people with peace!


Creating, Calling, and Faithful God,
we come to this time and place to be with you,
to worship you, and to learn from you.
May our time together
be like your creation of light in the darkness
that you called good.
May it be that you would call us good
while we respond to your call and as we listen to you.  Amen.

Call to Confession: 

People of God, we desire to be refreshed, renewed and changed.
Let us listen again to God’s calling our names
to encourage us and strengthen our resolve
to be God’s people in faithfulness and peace-loving justice.

Prayer of Confession:
People:         Out loud, but muted

O God, we hear your voice
and we see the way of Jesus set before us.
But it’s hard, dear God, to try again and again
to live up to our baptismal vows
and maintain our resolve to be your people in the world.
In repentance we ask you to forgive us.
Set us once again on a holy path that leads to you.  Amen.

Assurance of God’s Call: 

Friends, God hears our prayers and sets before us the way of Jesus.
God calls us and gives us enough grace and mercy to follow the way.
Thanks be to God. 

Baptism and Renewal of Baptismal Vows

In person:  you may do a rite of “asperges”: sprinkling the congregation with water
At home: encourage people to come to worship with a small bowl of water to use in blessing themselves at the appropriate time.


Our God created new life forms and brought them up from the waters of chaos,
embraced them, and called them good.
Jesus, baptized in the river Jordan by John the Baptist,
became living water for us and embraces all of us.
Jesus embraces  those who are poor, oppressed, marginalized
and all others who come seeking.
We follow Jesus with our Baptism,
marking a starting place for new life and new ways of being.
We join Jesus in love and service.
Let us prepare our hearts and minds to see, feel, and hear again the vows of Baptism.

Renewal of Baptismal Promises (from Book of Worship)

Do you renew and affirm the promises made at your Baptism?
People:         Out loud, but muted

I do.
Do you recognize the call of God to be God’s people always?
I do.
Do you embrace the way of Jesus in faith and ministry?
I do
Do you accept the nurture of the Holy Spirit who renews your spirit each day?
I do.
Do you accept and embrace others who seek a liberating faith in God?
I do.
    In renewing your baptismal vows,
remember your Baptism as a mark of acceptance
and welcome into the care of Christ’s church
where you may begin again your Christian faith and life.

A Unison Prayer:

People:         Out loud, but muted

O God, we rejoice in your grace, given and received.
We thank you that you claim us,
that you wash us, strengthen us, and guide us,
that you empower us to live a life worthy of our calling.
In the way of Jesus, make us as water in a dry and thirsty world.
Establish us to be places of refreshment.
Root us and nurture us in love,
that with all your people, that we may rightly and justly serve you.
Fill us with your fullness
that our lives may overflow in service and love. Amen.

Offering and Dedication:

Faithful God,
Bless us in our baptismal calling
to be in ministry of showing hospitality to others.
We offer the gifts that we have been given to be used
not for conquest and dominance,
but for use in liberating the poor and hurting people
who pray for our liberation as well as their own.
Receive and multiply our gifts for life-giving ministry. Amen.


Thank you, God, for blessing us with memories of Jesus’ baptism and ours.
Thank you for removing our reluctance, doubt, and fears,
for replacing them with courage and commission.
We go forth with your calling, direction, and blessing.  Amen.

Seeking Higher Ground, Service Prayers for Baptism of Christ Sunday was written by the Rev. Rosemary McCombs Maxey, a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and is retired clergy and a member of Fellowship Congregational United Church of Christ, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Copyright 2020 Faith INFO 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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