Year A, First Sunday after the Epiphany
First Sunday after the Epiphany :: Green :: Isaiah 42:1-9 :: Psalm 29 :: Acts 10:34-43 :: Matthew 3:13-17
Call to Worship (Responsive)
Adapted from Psalm 29
L: Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings;
P: Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
L: Ascribe to the LORD the glory of God’s name,
P: Worship the LORD in holy splendor.
L: The voice of the LORD is powerful,
P: The voice of the LORD is full of majesty.
L: May the LORD give strength to the people;
P: And bless the people with peace!
Here we are again, O God, called together by you for a time of worship. We come ready to sing your praises and offer our prayers. Help us to know your presence in the praise and worship, in the reading and study of your word, in the times of prayer and reflection. Meet us at your Holy Table, and guide us in your truth. We have come, O God, because you have indeed called us here, and it is righteous to obey your call. Make this time of worship worthy of your calling we pray in the Holy Name of Jesus Christ our Lord.
The First Sunday after the Epiphany is the time traditionally set aside to remember the baptism of Jesus. It is a time when we remember that even though Jesus was without sin, he instituted baptism as an act of obedience to God. Today we still baptize people as an outward sign of obedience to the experience of grace which has happened within. We joyfully fill the baptistery any time someone recognizes the grace of God and wishes to claim their newfound allegiance to Christ. Yes, it uses a lot of water. Yes, it could even be viewed as extravagant. That is precisely one of the reason we give: to be able to extravagantly celebrate when someone comes to faith in Christ. We will now receive the tithes and offerings which make the extravagant act of baptism possible.
We bring our gifts O God before you because we believe. We believe you are calling new faith to life. We believe we will be blessed with the opportunity to celebrate baptism. We believe we are called to change lives, and our gifts help make this possible. Bless these gifts and use them to help others come to know the love and joy of life in Christ our Lord.
When we celebrate communion, we remember our baptism. We remember the commitment to follow Christ as Lord and Savior. We recall that as we take the bread and cup, symbols of the body and blood of Christ, we too symbolically died with Christ and were raised in to newness of life. As we gather around this table today, remember that you have died to sin and were raised to new life. Remember that Christ gave his body and blood for you. Remember?
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