COCU9C.Baptism of ChristC

Photo by Sunguk Kim on Unsplash

(See also Baptism on this site and COCU9B)

Isaiah 43:1-7: God’s people have no reason to fear, for God has redeemed them, and they will not be harmed when passing through water or flame. God will bring the children of God’s people from the four corners of the earth, and will bring together blind people who can see and deaf people who can hear to bear witness to how God has saved and liberated God’s people.
Psalm 29: A song in praise of God and of God’s mighty voice which is strong and majestic, and which shakes the earth. Yet, God gives strength and peace to God’s people.
Acts 8:14-17: The apostles, having heard the news that the Samaritans had accepted God’s word, laid hands on the Samaritan believers and prayed for them to receive the Holy Spirit, which they did.
Luke 3:15-17, 21-22: The people wonder whether John the Baptiser is the Christ, but he denies it and proclaims that another is coming who is more powerful than he is, and who will baptise with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Then Jesus is baptised by John along with the other people, and the Spirit descends on him and he hears God’s voice affirming him.
(Bible summary by John van de Laar, Sacredise)

RCL readings for Baptism of Christ – Year C RCLreadings

Components of worship
(Scroll down for resources for this particular Sunday)
Acknowledgement of Land
Prayer of thanksgiving
Prayer of confession/prayers of who we are
Words of Assurance
Prayer for Illumination
Prayers for others
Lord’s Prayer
Prayer of Dedication
Benediction and sending out
(Communion Hymns)

Baptism of Jesus
Isaiah 43:1-7
But now thus says God, the one who created you, O Jacob, the one who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
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.
For I am your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life.
Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you; I will say to the north, “Give them up,” and to the south, “Do not withhold;
bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the end of the earth – everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
Holy One, creating and saving,
you form and liberate us.
We are, indeed, passing through troubled waters, and
drowning in polarities and paralysis.
We are walking through the fires of have and have-not inequity, and
burning with anger and angst.
We need to hear the prophet’s hopeful and comforting promises once again,
that we would not be overwhelmed,
that we would not be afraid,
that we would not be indifferent.
Holy One, creating and saving,
you form and liberate us.
In all our faults and failings,
call us by name once more –
Ramona, Gwynne, Ann, Thorsten, Ronke, Dionata, Olyvya, Hyerim, Damber, Ted –
that we would hear in a new way,
that we are known and valued,
loved and treasured.
Holy One, creating and saving,
you form and liberate us.
We are a ragtag people.
Lots of us are seated in pews 2 metres apart and masked,
or watching YouTube in our jammies,
or zooming onto a screen of tiny squares.
Reassure us, —
St. Matthew’s Episcopal, First Methodist, Knox Presbyterian, Trinity United, Redeemer Lutheran –
that we are yours.
Remind us who we are and whose we are.
Bring your offspring from east and west.
Speak to your children from north and south.
Gather your people from the ends of the earth, and
reveal your presence,
disclose your way,
offer your love, in ways that
startle us, open us, and embolden us.
(Source: Diaconal Minister Ted Dodd, United Church of Canada, 2022)

The Baptiser called people to change,
to turn around,
away from old ways
and mark that turning
in baptism.

When Jesus had been baptised
his identity was established
and the nature of his ministry
marked out.

But some still ask,
“What was Jesus doing there?
Why should he be baptised
for the forgiveness of sin?”

In baptism
Jesus identifies with humanity
while his one-ness with God
is also declared.

This epiphany,
this surprising
self-revelation by God
is not self-revelation for its own sake,
but revelation of God’s continuing faithfulness. (c) Jeff Shrowder

Jeff Shrowder writes:
As a young child I almost drowned during a family outing to the beach.
I remember frantically struggling in the water and glimpsing, amidst my struggles,
my father wading through the water towards me.
He lifted me out of the water, clear of the danger, clasped me to himself
and carried me to the sandy beach.
I was safe … and given new life.

The firm, warm hug of my father and my mother re-assured me,
and expressed the inexpressible, “You are my child, whom I love,
and in whom I delight.”

In baptism we are both plunged
into mission of Jesus
and lifted up, embraced, affirmed, loved …
and given new life. (c) Jeff Shrowder

Baptism is a personal and corporate experience;
both the individual and the community of faith
are changed.
Baptism is an epiphany,
a sign of God’s grace
and while the voice of the LORD is powerful,
full of majesty,
flashes forth flames of fire,
shakes the wilderness,
and strips the forest bare
with the energy of dust-storm, bushfire, flood or cyclone;
the voice of the LORD also says
I have called you by name, you are mine …© Jeff Shrowder, 2015.

Epiphany collectBaptism of Jesus
God, we hear your voice:
“You are my child, the beloved, with you I am well pleased.”
May we stand up now with confidence, and notice all else you value,
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever.  Amen
(Source: Bob Eldan, adapted)

The Prayers of who we are
(it’s a ‘truth telling’ reflection – would be excellent read out dramatically, drawing it to a conclusion with compassion as it turns towards hope)

Sky’s been smashed, earth trampled thin.
There’s a hole in the sun, light oozes out,
a split tomato. Weather your enemy now,
you’ve earned it. Alliances have that
white stuff that leaks out of batteries.
Our shadows splattered all over each other.
Politics after the kids put the car back together,
sort of. Think of great grandchildren breathing plastic.

But that’s all the cosmic stuff. No matter.
The real pain is, shepherd on the hillside,
you stink. All your smallnesses add up to
a whimper. Your guilts, who could count,
pile up like compost you haven’t decided
to compost, can’t stand, can’t part with.
Worse, your shames and your fears. Two
intruders come in opposite windows. Crap.
Trying so hard, but your life is still
a dead frog dissected with a rock.
Though it’s not your fault.

In this splintered, wrinkled, twisted mess,
not from above, not shining in like a clever sunbeam
(No. No atmospheric effects. Please.)
but from way down dark inside
a hope infuses the whole thing, an embryo moves,
a presence the presence of things,
a light breathes, doesn’t have to speak,
meaning, I am here. Composes a silence
meaning, There is no translation. You are
me. If God were an artist you would be
the gleam in her eye when the light is just right.
The wreckage is not a ruin, merely the backside
of something beautiful. Behold, God in her pajamas
in you. Blessed is she who believes it is possible
to be redeemed, possible because, in fact, fact.

Numinous delight, inclusive of galaxies, offers you.
Receive yourself, fresh and promising, and – listen:
(Source: Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light)

Children’s sermon ideas – check out this new blog with ideas using things from the ‘dollar store’. Keep an eye on the blog for forward planning,

Sermon by Bill Peddie for Baptism of Jesus, Year C

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Rev Sandy Boyce is a Uniting Church in Australia Minister (Deacon). This blog may be a help to people planning worship services.
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