God of mercy and redemption, be with us today. As we gather in this place, safe from the storms of life that rage outside, be our strength and our refuge. We open our hearts and minds to you; fill them with your joy and your love, your peace and your reassurance. Amen.
Prayer of Confession
Almighty and merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you and each other, by what we have done or by what we have left undone. By not loving you with our whole being, we have neglected our neighbors as ourselves. Help us turn our lives to you, that we might receive renewal of mind, body and spirit. In Christ’s spirit and name we pray. Amen.
Old Testament Lesson: Isaiah 43: 1-7 NRSV (source)
But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he 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 the Lord 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.”
Gospel Lesson: Luke 3: 15-17; 21-22 NRSV (source)
As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
- No. 71 – Lord, When You Came to Jordan
- No. 492 – Baptized in Water
- No. 361 – How Firm a Foundation
“Standing on Tip-Toe” – Rev. Scott G. Loomer