Epiphany 1A — January 8 (Baptism Renewal)

First Sunday after Epiphany
January 8, 2023
“Be Baptized”

Call to Worship (inspired by Psalm 29)
One: Give glory to the Creator and bow in holy splendor!
Many: The voice of the Creator renews and rebirths.
One: Give glory to the Holy One and bow in holy splendor!
Many: The voice of the Holy One redeems and restores.
One: Give glory to the Living Water and bow in holy splendor!
Many: The voice of the Living Water refreshes and revives. Glory to God!

Voice, Body, and Spirit,
You make your presence among us. We receive your love and affirmation. We cherish your guidance and direction. We follow your path and example. Remind us of our connection to you and your covenantal relationship with us. Wash us in the baptized life for renewal and revitalization. Amen.

Prayer for Transformation and New Life
Holy One, we confess our need for grace and mercy. We seek forgiveness for the ways in which we have drawn away from you and our neighbors. We express remorse for our participation in the systems of the world that are actively opposed to your kindom. Transform us to be carriers and promoters of your good news of new life, liberation, and hope in the world. Amen.

Words of Grace
The God of peace is faithful to offer forgiveness and new life in Christ. Receive the good news of new mercies with each new day and a future with hope.


(Suggested Response to the Sermon)

Logistical Note: Worship participants joining the service remotely should be advised from the initial gathering time (with reminders for those who may join throughout the gathering) to gather a small amount of water in a vessel. In a live space, prepare a basin or other container of water for participants. You may also prepare small cups (communion cup size) for distribution in order to maintain physical distancing.

The Body of Christ continues to be renewed and refreshed. As members, we belong to the baptized and covenantal life in Christ. We gather today to affirm our faith and renew our commitments as followers of Jesus.

Affirmation of Faith (Adapted from a Reading from the Second National Meeting of United Church of Christ Women)
O God, because you are the source of all life
And love and being,
We call you Creator.

Because we know the history of your presence
Among your covenanted people and honor their tradition,
We call you Lord.

Because our Savior, Jesus Christ, you obedient child,
Knew you intimately and spoke of you so,
We call you Father.

Because you are present in each act of birth;
And because you shelter, nurture and care for us,
We call you Mother.

Because you hold us up
And give us strength and courage
When we are weak and in need,
We call you Sustainer.

Because we have known you in our pain and suffering,
We call you Comforter.

Because beyond pain lies your promise
Of all things made new,
We call you Hope.

Because you are the means of liberation
And the way to freedom,
We call you Deliverer.

Because you have chosen to come among us
And share our common lot,
Making the hard choices, suffering and dying;
Because you rose victorious, bringing new life,
We call you Redeemer.

Confident that you will hear,
We call upon you with all the names
That make you real to us,
The names which create an image in our minds and hearts,
An image which our souls can understand and touch.
And yet we know that you are more than all of these.
Blessing and power, glory and honor be unto you, our God, Amen.

One: Do you believe in the One of Many Names, God, Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit?
Many: We believe in the God of Many Names.

One: Do you reject the powers of oppression in this world, the systems that marginalize and degrade human beings and communities created by God, and the norms of the world at odds with the way of the kindom?
Many: We do, with the help of God.

One: Do you embrace grace as God’s gift, to be freely given and freely received?
Many: We do, with the help of God.

One: Do you recommit to the covenantal and baptized life, the cost and joy of discipleship, and the community of belonging as a member of the Body of Christ?
Many: We do, with the help of God.

Renewal “I am God’s Beloved. I am Baptized.”
In a way that works logistically for your community, invite those gathered to receive the mark of baptism. If participants are marking themselves, you may distribute the water as they have entered the service or have them come forward at this time. Remind those worshiping remotely that they will need their water as you begin this section. If an officiant will mark in-person participants with water, they should be called forward.

John the Baptist told his disciples that he baptized them with water but the one to come would baptize with the Holy Spirit. As we receive the mark of our renewed baptismal vows, we recognize the movement of the Holy Spirit within us and among.
{For self-marking}
Please dip your finger in the water and make the sign of the cross on you forehead repeating these words: I am God’s beloved. I am baptized.”
{For officiant marking}
You are God’s beloved. You are baptized.

Prayer for the Baptized
Voice, Body, Spirit, we give thanks for the gathering of your people into a beloved community of belonging. By our baptism, we accept the invitation to public and faithful witness to the ministry of Jesus Christ in the world and to be instruments to that work. May we live the baptized life in the Spirit as caring companions of one another, with accountability, support, and grace. Shelter us in your love, nourish us in your truth, and uphold us in your word. May it be so. Amen.

Invitation to Generosity
Generosity serves as essential element of the baptized life. We bring forth our resources to meet the needs of our community and the world. Let our giving be a public demonstration of our belonging to the kindom of God.

Prayer of Dedication and Thanksgiving
Giver of Gifts, we thank you for providing in abundance and allowing us to participate as co-givers with you. We dedicate our offerings in your many names. Amen.

Go in hope, that the world will hear the Voice and know Love.
Go in joy, for the transforming work of the Spirit has made you new.
Go in peace, and share the good news of Jesus Christ
Be baptized in the world. Amen.

Be Baptized: Service Prayers for the First Sunday after Epiphany was written by The Rev. Dr. Cheryl A. Lindsay, Minister for Worship and Theology, United Church of Christ.