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The Baptism of Our Lord
8th January 2023

What follows is a worship service which, I pray, you can participate in at a time(s) that are convenient to you. This 'service' will take about forty five (45) minutes.

I pray that you will feel called to ACTIVELY PARTICIPATE in this service.

The text that is in reguar typeface (that is what you are reading at the moment) is to be read quietly, while the text that is in bold face (like you are reading right now) is meant to be read aloud.

Opening Hymn:


Let us continue by watching, and please do feel free to sing or read aloud the lyrics, as we begin our celebration of the The Baptism of Our Lord.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:

Use your mouse to scroll through the contents of each window.

Clicking on the buttons across the tops of the windows below will allow you to zoom in\out,

search, switch to full screen, print, and download the contents to your computer.

The Pewsheet:

Call to Worship:

We meet in the name of God,

Creator of the universe,

source of true humanity,

mother and father of all. Amen.


We meet in the name of Jesus,

Word made flesh,
saviour of fallen humanity, lover of all. Amen.


We meet in the name of the Holy Spirit,

Lord and giver of life,
midwife of new humanity,
inspirer of all. Amen.

An Assurance of Forgiveness

(click the "play" button, below:)

00:00 / 00:18

The Sentence for the Day


Jesus went down with his parents and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them;  and his mother kept all these things in her heart.  And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and the people.

The Prayer for the Day (Collect)


Let us pray together.

Open the heavens Holy Spirit, for us to see Jesus intercede for us;  may we be strengthened to share his cup and ready to serve him forever.  This we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

A reading from The Old Testament

(click the "play" button, below:)

Isaiah 42:1-9
00:00 / 02:06

A reading from The New Testament

(click the "play" button, below:)

Acts 10:34-43
00:00 / 01:56

Pause for a moment of silent reflection.

The Gradual Hymn


Let us continue by watching, and please do feel free to join in with another great hymn of awareness and truth.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:

“Come down, O Love Divine"

Come down, O love divine, seek thou this soul of mine,
and visit it with thine own ardour glowing;
O Comforter, draw near, within my heart appear,
and kindle it, Thy holy flame bestowing.

O let it freely burn, til earthly passions turn
to dust and ashes in its heat consuming;
And let thy glorious light shine ever on my sight,
and clothe me round, the while my path illuming.

The Gospel Reading, Matthew 3:13-17 (The Baptism Of Jesus)

(click the "play" button, below:)

Matt 3:13-17
00:00 / 01:02

Listen to the sermon:
(click the "play" button below when you are ready to begin)

Sermon 08 Jan 2023 : The Baptism of Jesus
00:00 / 09:54

or, if you prefer, you can read to the sermon, below:


MAY the words of my mouth and the meditations in our hearts be acceptable in your sight O Lord, our strength and our Redeemer. <Amen>


Some ten days ago, I had the great blessing of a visit from a 12-year old girl who came to see me, along with her mum, to ask for baptism. Later his month we will formally welcome Isla into the family of Christ. On my recent visit to Israel, I was given the great honour of renewing the baptismal vows of three ladies … in the River Jordan itself. Such can be the blessings of ministry - thanks be to God.


Today our gospel reminds us that Jesus journeyed from Galilee to the waters of the Jordan river to be baptised by John.


John tried to talk Himself out of the task feeling that, instead, Jesus should baptise him.


Without doubt, John recognised that the man standing in front of him was “The One” for whom he had been preparing the way. John knew that this was the Messiah. John knew that Jesus didn’t need to be baptised. John knew that the Kingdom of God was looking him in right in the eye.


John’s initial reluctance has troubled some Christians from the beginning. Why did Jesus think he needed to be baptised?  He had never sinned; he didn’t need to repent. Yet, here he was, asking John to baptise him along with all those repentant sinners. It’s quite possible that Matthew’s first-century church had argued over this question, and that is why Matthew makes a point of explaining a motive for this peculiar behavior by the Son of God.


Jesus tells John, “Allow this to happen for the time being, to fulfil all righteousness.”  


Let me paraphrase … “Trust me on this one,” Jesus says to John. “Even if it seems weird to you, just trust me. God has a plan in mind, and this is part of it.”  <PAUSE>


So John becomes obedient, and baptises Jesus, and righteousness is fulfilled.


That word, “righteousness,” is loaded with meaning. Matthew uses it seven times in his Gospel, and each use signals a slightly different understanding of the word but on this occasion, Jesus is saying, “Come on John, Let’s do this! It’s part of God’s plan to redeem the world!” <PAUSE>


Baptism symbolises birth and rebirth throughout the Bible, and whenever this happens, “people enter the water as one thing,” [slaves out of Egypt, or wanderers entering the Promised Land, … and emerge as something entirely different”. Jesus entered the water as ‘just another guy’, as far as the crowds around John were concerned. But when he emerged from those baptismal waters, he’d been changed for good. Christ’s baptism marked the beginning of his public ministry on earth, but it also marked him as God’s own Son, the Beloved, in whom God took great pleasure. <PAUSE>When righteousness is fulfilled and Jesus comes up out of the water we have the only place in Scripture where The Holy Trinity are present, together, the Holy Spirit descending like a dove; alighting on the Son, as the voice of the Father speaks from heaven, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased .”.


The power, the awe, the majesty of The Baptism of Our Lord. <PAUSE>


When Isla presents herself for baptism in two weeks, the baptism will mark her, forever, as belonging to God. It is the same for all of us. The catechism calls this a visible, outward sign of an invisible, inward grace.


It’s important to remember that the Holy Spirit does this work in us; it is not some transaction we perform. It is also important to remember that, once we are sealed with the mark of baptism, that seal is a permanent one. We belong to God, now and forever. He has claimed us as his own.


Isla, and all the faithful, enter the waters of baptism and emerge reborn, renewed, refreshed and spiritually clean. A sign of our resurrection into new lives in Christ.


In the waters of baptism, we remember that we are the children of God, loved by God and pleasing to God.


Baptism won’t save you. Baptism isn’t some secret initiation rite with magical properties. Baptism is a sign of obedience to God - just as John became obedient. <PAUSE>

In the waters of baptism there is the never ending grace of God and the never ending forgiveness of God 


The good news is that the waters of our baptism never run out or lose their effectiveness.


We are baptised only once because Jesus IS the living water, flowing inside of us. Once we have had a taste of that water, we will never thirst again.


The waters of baptism are an unending supply so the cry should resonate:


“Come to The Waters”


Christ remind us that, through the waters of baptism :


God brought us to new life.


Christ set us free from sin and death.


Christ claimed us as His own and He knows each of us by name.


We are reborn by the power of the Spirit.


Come to the water AND TO GOD WILL BE THE GLORY.

In the name of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit    <AMEN>

Pause and Reflect


Just take a moment now to pause. Bow your head, close your eyes.

Allow these words of Holy Scripture and this interpretation of them today speak to you.

An Affirmation of Our Faith

Let us affirm our faith by listening as "The Apostles Creed" is read to us.
(click the "play" button below when you are ready to listen) 

apostles creed AD
00:00 / 01:03

 ... and now ... let us pray for the Church and for the World, giving thanks for God's goodness.

(click the "play" button below when you are ready to begin) 


The Lord's Prayer


Remembering that we are confident to pray this day, and every day, because Jesus Christ has taught us:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours
now and for ever.   Amen.


Let us conclude our prayers by praying together and aloud:


God of mercy,
you have given us grace to pray with one heart and one voice,
and have promised to hear the prayers
of two or three who agree in your name,
fulfil now, we pray,
the prayers and longings of your people
as may be best for us and for your kingdom.
Grant us in this world to know your truth,
and in the world to come to see your glory. Amen.

The Blessing


The blessing of Almighty God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

be with you and all of those whom you love,

on this day and forever more.

A Closing Hymn


Let us continue with our closing hymn and please do feel free to sing along with another great hymn of joy.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:



Go now to love and serve The Lord,

Go in peace.


Amen, we go in the name of Christ.

Are you missing Holy Communion? Click here.


The Baptism of Christ is a famous painting made by Leonardo da Vinci's master, Andrea del Verrochio at circa 1472 in his studio in Italy. The painting was completed by Verrochio in collaboration with his apprentice, Leonardo da Vinci who painted and finished the details of some parts of the painting, particularly the angel. The painting was an altarpiece commissioned by the monks of the San Salvi Church near Florence.

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