Each of the Gospel writers speaks of the baptism of Jesus, the display of the beginning of his earthly, public ministry. According to Luke, as Jesus was praying he was baptized, and as that occurred the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove. A voice came from heaven, saying, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” This anointing of our Lord with the Holy Spirit signals the start of his public ministry, and confirms that Jesus is God’s Son, by the Father’s own pronouncement from heaven. Here is a clear picture of the triune God’s authenticating work on Jesus: John baptized him who is the Son of God, anointed by the Holy Spirit’s descent upon him, and confirmed by the Father’s own word from heaven. In this baptism Jesus fully identified himself with those who came to John’s baptism. Though he never sinned, he, like them, permitted himself to be baptized, and launched his public ministry with anointing by the Spirit and approval from the Father.
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Father, help us here and now behold the humility of him who, in identifying with us O God, Who through Thine Only-begotten Son Jesus Christ our Lord has endowed the regenerating waters with the grace which halloweth unto eternal salvation; and didst Thyself come upon Him by Thy Spirit, in the descent of the mysterious Dove on His head; grant, we beseech Thee, that there may come upon Thy whole Church a blessing which may keep us all continually safe, may unceasingly bless all classes of Thy servants, may direct the course of those who follow Thee, and open the door of the heavenly kingdom to all who are waiting to enter; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
~ Guthie (Bright, p. 29-30)
Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, Amen.
Te Deum Laudamus
You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.
Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)
Glory be to the Father,
And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen, amen.
*In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).
Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.
Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.
Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord's Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
~ Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)
Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
~ S. Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, AD 300 (Fox, p. 233)
Affirmation for the Day
John affirmed that Jesus would baptize with the Spirit and fire, and gather his own together in the end.
Pray without Ceasing - Flash Prayer for the Day
Infill us, dear God, with the Spirit of truth and power, even as our Lord was led by him after his baptism.