Baptism of the Lord (Year C)

Summary

In the readings for this Sunday we hear the prophet speak: Do not fear, I am with you; I have called you by name; you are mine (Isaiah 43:1–7). The psalmist declares: Glorify the name of the Lord, who reigns over the waters (Psalm 29). In the Book of Acts, people previously baptized in Jesus’ name receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14–17). In Luke, John baptizes Jesus; the Spirit descends; God says: You are my Son (Luke 3:15–17, 21–22).

Lectionary Readings

Isaiah 43:1–7

1 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.
2 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.
3 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.
4 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.
5 Do not fear, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east,
and from the west I will gather you;
6 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—
7 everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.”

Psalm 29

1 Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name;
worship the Lord in holy splendor.

3 The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the Lord, over mighty waters.
4 The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
and Sirion like a young wild ox.

7 The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
8 The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

9 The voice of the Lord causes the oaks to whirl,
and strips the forest bare;
and in his temple all say, “Glory!”

10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
11 May the Lord give strength to his people!
May the Lord bless his people with peace!

Acts 8:14–17

14 Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15 The two went down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit 16 (for as yet the Spirit had not come upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus). 17 Then Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

Luke 3:15–17, 21–22

15 As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, 16 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. 17 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.”

21 Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, 22 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.”

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Psalm 29:1-2

Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.

Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name;
worship the Lord in holy splendor.

Prayer of the Day

Based on Isaiah 43:1-3

Holy God,
we know that we do not need to fear
for you have redeemed us;
you have called us by name, we are yours.
You promise that when we pass
through the waters, you will be with us;
and when we walk through the fire,
we shall not be burned,
For you are the Lord our God,
the Holy One of Israel, our Savior. Amen.

Affirmation of Faith

Based on Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

We believe that John the Baptist answered
the doubts and false expectations of the people of his day 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.”

We believe that 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.

We believe that a voice came from heaven,
“You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

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