Baptism of our Lord

Baptism of our Lord


Baptism of our Lord
January 10, 2021
10:30 am

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
901 East Stroop Road
Kettering, OH 45429-4688
(937) 298-0136


Our re-creation in baptism is an image of the Genesis creation, where the Spirit of God moved over the waters. Both Mark’s gospel and the story in Acts make clear that it is the Spirit’s movement that distinguishes Jesus’ baptism from John’s. The Spirit has come upon us as upon Jesus and the Ephesians, calling us God’s beloved children and setting us on Jesus’ mission to re-create the world in the image of God’s vision of justice and peace..
A Hitch in the Story
Was it wildfire nerve? Unchecked audacity? Holy purpose? The hammering of parents’ expectations? Maybe the privilege of being kin to Jesus? Or was it eccentricity as peculiar as his diet and wardrobe? What desire drove John to the wilderness, into the water of the Jordan? What ignited his fiery proclamation of repentance and forgiveness? What current pulled crowds from city and country into the water?
One can say, rightly, that it was ordained by God, compelled by the Holy Spirit, predicted by an angel. Yet there is a hitch in the story. Four easily missed but utterly important words gum up the works of any timid or tidy explanations: “I am not worthy” (Mark 1:7).
Something in John’s four words opens the baptismal story to torrents of wonder, floods of hope, drenching relief and recovery.
For some years the two friends had been together through what we often call the thick and the thin. They knew this and that, bits and pieces, the here and there of one another’s lives. And not only the trivial. They probed each other’s shadowed corridors and crumbling edges. Still, there were secrets, withholdings. One day, for reasons wrapped with nothing but the ragged swaddling of unaccountable grace, one said to the other, “It has been such a long, lonely journey, carrying a suitcase filled with secrets, the shames and deceptions I’ve folded and packed.” Then he began to tell. To confess. A repenting, a turning. His friend’s eyes filled with tears that watered his cheeks and dripped into his lap. All he could say through the flood was, “I love you all the more.”
Born literally of grace, breaking the dam of John’s four words, “I am not worthy,” is one stronger word, the word of the more powerful one: forgiveness. To John and to us who say, “I am not worthy,” Jesus answers, “Yes, yes, yes, you are.”Indicates to stand as you are able.


The Holy Spirit calls us together as the people of God.





All may make the sign of the cross, the sign that is marked at baptism, as the presiding minister begins.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your holy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Let us confess our sin in the presence of God and of one another.
Most merciful God, we confess that we are captive to sin and cannot free ourselves. We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. For the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways, to the glory of your holy name. Amen.

God, who is rich in mercy, loved us even when we were dead in sin, and made us alive together with Christ. By grace you have been saved. In the name of Jesus Christ, your sins are forgiven. Almighty God strengthen you with power through the Holy Spirit, that Christ may live in your hearts through faith.

GATHERING SONG – Christ, When for Us You Were Baptized

Christ, when for us you were baptized,
God’s Spirit on you came,
as peaceful as a dove, and yet
as urgent as a flame,
as urgent as a flame.

God called you, “My beloved Son”;
you are God’s servant true,
sent to proclaim the reign of heav’n,
God’s holy will to do,
God’s holy will to do.

Straightway and steadfast until death
you then obeyed the call
to serve with free and willing heart,
to give your life for all,
to give your life for all.

Baptize us with your Spirit, Lord;
your cross on us be signed,
that likewise in God’s service we
may perfect freedom find,
may perfect freedom find.


The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
And also with you.


Holy God, creator of light and giver of goodness, your voice moves over the waters. Im- merse us in your grace, and transform us by your Spirit, that we may follow after your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.


God speaks to us in scripture reading, preaching, and song.

FIRST READING Genesis 1:1-5

Out of chaos, God brings order. Out of the formless void, God brings light. This familiar story was good news for the Israelites, who experienced much chaos in their history. It remains good news for us. God created and continues to create new life.

A reading from the book of Genesis.
In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
Word of God, word of life.
Thanks be to God.


In Ephesus, Paul encounters people who had received John’s baptism of repentance but had never heard of the Holy Spirit or of baptism in the name of Jesus. After Paul baptizes them, the Holy Spirit comes upon them and empowers them with gifts of the Spirit.

A reading from the book of Acts.
While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul passed through the interior regions and came to Ephesus, where he found some disciples. He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?” They replied, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” Then he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They answered, “Into John’s baptism.” Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied—altogether there were about twelve of them.
Word of God, word of life.
Thanks be to God.

GOSPEL Mark 1:4-11

Mark’s gospel reports the story of Jesus’ baptism with some irony: the one on whom the Spirit descends is himself the one who will baptize others with the Holy Spirit.

The holy gospel according to Mark.
Glory to you, O Lord.

John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
The gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.


SPECIAL MUSIC – Let All Things Now Living

Let all things now living
A song of thanksgiving
To God the creator
Triumphantly raise,

Who fashioned and made us,
Protected and stayed us,
Who still guides us on to
The end of our days.

God’s banners are o’er us,
God’s light goes before us,
A pillar of fire
Shining forth in the night,

Till shadows have vanished
And darkness is banished,
As forward we travel
From light into light.

God rules all the forces:
The stars in their courses
And sun in its orbit
Obediently shine;

The hills and the mountains,
The rivers and fountains,
The deeps of the ocean
Proclaim God divine.

We too should be voicing
Our love and rejoicing;
With glad adoration
A song let us raise

Till all things now living
Unite in thanksgiving:
“To God in the highest,
Hosanna and praise!”


I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended into hell.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.


Guided by Christ made known to the nations, let us offer our prayers for the church, the world, and all people in need.

A brief silence.
Each intercession concludes:

Let us pray.
Have mercy, O God.

Merciful God, hear the prayers of your people, spoken or silent, for the sake of the one who dwells among us, your Son, Jesus Christ our Savior.

CANTICLE OF THANKSGIVING – Lift Every Voice and Sing

Lift ev’ry voice and sing till earth and heaven ring,
ring with the harmonies of liberty.
Let our rejoicing rise high as the list’ning skies,
let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us;
sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
let us march on till victory is won.

Stony the road we trod, bitter the chast’ning rod,
felt in the days when hope unborn had died;
yet with a steady beat, have not our weary feet
come to the place for which our parents sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered;
we have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,
out from the gloomy past, till now we stand at last
where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.

God of our weary years, God of our silent tears,
thou who hast brought us thus far on the way;
thou who hast by thy might led us into the light,
keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee;
lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee;
shadowed beneath thy hand may we forever stand,
true to our God, true to our native land.


Praise and thanks to you, holy God, for by your Word you made all things: you spoke light into darkness, called forth beauty from chaos, and brought life into being.
For your Word of life, O God,
We give you thanks and praise.

By your Word you called your people Israel to tell of your wonderful gifts: freedom from captiv- ity, water on the desert journey, a pathway home from exile, wisdom for life with you.
For your Word of life, O God,
We give you thanks and praise.

Through Jesus, your Word made flesh, you speak to us and call us to witness: forgiveness through the cross, life to those entombed by death, the way of your self-giving love.
For your Word of life, O God,
We give you thanks and praise.

Send your Spirit of truth, O God; rekindle your gifts within us: renew our faith, increase our hope, and deepen our love, for the sake of a world in need. Faithful to your Word, O God, draw near to all who call on you; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory forever.


Gathered into one by the Holy Spirit, let us pray as Jesus taught us.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into tempta- tion, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.


God blesses us and sends us in mission to the world.


God the creator strengthen you; Jesus the beloved fill you; and the Holy Spirit the comforter keep you in peace.

SPECIAL MUSIC – Shine, Jesus, Shine

Lord, the light of your love is shining,
In the midst of the darkness, shining.
Jesus, Light of the world, shine upon us.
Set us free by the truth you now bring us.
Shine on me, shine on me.

Shine, Jesus, shine;
Fill this land with the Father’s glory.
Blaze, Spirit blaze;
Set our hearts on fire.

Flow, river, flow;
Flood the nations with grace and mercy.
Send forth your word, Lord,
And let there be light.

Lord, I come to your awesome presence,
from the shadows into your radiance.
By the blood, I may enter your brightness.
Search me, try me, consume all my darkness.
Shine on me, shine on me.

Shine, Jesus, shine;
Fill this land with the Father’s glory.
Blaze, Spirit blaze;
Set our hearts on fire.

Flow, river, flow;
Flood the nations with grace and mercy.
Send forth your word, Lord,
And let there be light.

As we gaze on your kingly brightness,
So our faces display your likeness,
Ever changing from glory to glory,
Mirrored here, may our lives tell your story.
Shine on me, shine on me.

Shine, Jesus, shine;
Fill this land with the Father’s glory.
Blaze, Spirit blaze;
Set our hearts on fire.

Flow, river, flow;
Flood the nations with grace and mercy.
Send forth your word, Lord,
And let there be light.


Go in peace. Be the light of Christ.
Created, saved and gifted by God; we seek, serve and share Jesus Christ. Hallelujah, thanks be to God!

Make a commitment to not only worship each week but also try to find a way to serve in the congregation and seek out a way to serve our community.



Martin Luther King Jr., renewer of society, martyr, died 1968
Friday, January 15, 2021

An American prophet of justice among races and nations, King was an eloquent preacher, a leader of the nonviolent resistance to race-segregated society, and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
Born on this date, he was assassinated on April 4, 1968.

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