Remembering our Baptism (Shirley Carleton)

Worship on the Lord’s Day
Baptism of the Lord        First Sunday after the Epiphany
10:00 am January 09, 2022
Online & Onsite (Mixed Presence) Gathering as a Worshipping Community
Led by Shirley Carleton     Children’s time: Lynn Vaughan
Music director: Binu Kapadia     Vocalist: Linda Farrah-Basford
Elder: Gina Kottke

We gather to worship God

Music prelude

L: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you
P: and also with you

Lighting of the Christ candle
Welcome and announcements
Silent preparation for worship

Opening words

L: I lift my eyes to the hills – from where will my help come?
P: My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

L: Lift up your hearts!
P: We lift them up to the Lord!

Opening praise: Forever God is Faithful

Give thanks to the Lord our God and King
His love endures forever, For He is good, He is above all things His love endures forever
Sing praise, sing praise

With a mighty hand and outstretched arm
His love endures forever For the life that’s been reborn His love endures forever
Sing praise, sing praise; sing praise, sing praise

Forever God is faithful, forever God is strong
Forever God is with us, forever and ever; forever

From the rising to the setting sun his love endures forever, by the grace of God we will carry on, his love endures forever.
Sing praise, sing praise; sing praise, sing praise

Forever God is faithful, forever God is strong
Forever God is with us, forever and ever; forever

Songwriter: Chris Tomlin © Universal Music Publishing Group. Reprinted with permission under CCLI, License #3095377​. All rights reserved. Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from CCLI

Call to worship

L: Beloved, God chooses us and calls us by name.
P: We belong to God. Alleluia!
L: Our lives have purpose because we belong to God.
P: We are called to be like Christ and follow him.
L: We will find joy, peace, and restoration through God’s amazing grace.
P: Let us worship God who claims us and loves us! Praise be to God!

Prayer of Adoration and Confession

Creator of the sun and moon and stars, You stir in our midst to reveal your light.

By the work of your Spirit, you lead us in new directions.  Your beloved Son has called us to new life  and by his grace, reconciles the divisions among us. Holy One, we praise you for the blessings you give us in our baptism into Christ, and through your love that surrounds us day by day.  To you we give all praise, glory and honor,  through Jesus Christ,  who is one with you and the Holy Spirit,  one God, now and always.  Amen.

Merciful God,  in baptism you promise forgiveness and new life,  but we confess that we prefer our old, familiar ways. We cling to destructive habits,  we harbor grudges,  and we are reluctant to welcome a stranger or forgive one another.

Nostalgia for the past prevents us from exploring new possibilities.

In your loving kindness, forgive us.

Have mercy upon us and move among us  so that we might pursue new life in Christ together.

Response: I will trust in the Lord, I will trust in the Lord, I will trust in the Lord, ‘til I die (repeat)

African American spiritual. Public domain

Assurance of Pardon

Do not be afraid, for Christ has redeemed you.

Baptized in the deep waters of death, he has washed away your sins.

Risen from death, he invites you to be washed in the cleansing tide of God’s mercy. Your sins are forgiven; be at peace with God, with yourself, and with each other.

We listen for the voice of God

Jesus loves me

Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to him belong; they are weak, but he is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me…x 3; The Bible tells me so.

Words: Anna Bartlett © Mrs. Cherie MGuire; Music: William Bradbury public domain. Reprinted with permission under One License, License #A735555. All rights reserved, Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE

Children’s Time
The Lord’s Prayer

Transition music: I hunger and I thirst
I hunger and I thirst; Jesus my manna be:
ye living waters, burst out of the rock for me.

Thou bruised and broken bread, my lifelong wants supply; as living souls are fed, oh feed me, or I die.
Thou true life-giving vine, let me thy sweetness prove; renew my life with thine; refresh my soul with love.

For still the desert lies my thirsting soul before;
O living waters, rise within me evermore.

Words: John Samuel Monsell, alt  Music: Henry Lascelles Jenner    Words: public domain  Music: public domain

Scripture readings: Isaiah 43:1-7               OT(NRSV) p. 672
Luke 3:15-17, 21-22      NT(NRSV) p. 60

Response: Thy word is a lamp unto my feet

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet – and a light unto my path (repeat)

Songwriters: Amy Lee Grant / Michael Whitaker Smith  Thy Word lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group, DistroKid Reprinted with permission under One License, License #A735555.

Prayer for Understanding

Holy Spirit, you blessed Jesus in his baptism, proclaiming him beloved of God. As we give our attention to God’s holy Word, descend on us, we pray.  Speak to us of God’s love for us  and renew our faith and commitment to follow Jesus, God’s living Word. Amen.

Message: “Remembering our Baptism”

I wonder how many of you can remember your baptism?  Perhaps you were carried into the church that day by someone who loved and cared for you, and made a public profession of faith over you.  They wanted you to be welcomed into Christ’s church, into a worshiping community, a new family, knowing that you would receive support and encouragement along your journey of faith.

This morning when we heard about Carolyn and Don’s new baby Charlotte Zuri Nicholas, I’m sure you felt a stirring in you heart; so moved are we by the miracle of a new life.  Something comes to life within us as we marvel with a sense of wonder and anticipation at what God’s plan over this  new life will bring.

Maybe your baptism experience was more like mine.  I was not baptized as an infant, rather, it was similar to the experience of the folks Gina read about in the Gospel, I was baptized as an adult.  Just like them, I was filled with expectation because I knew that my decision to be baptized meant that I was entering into a new way of being.

A new way of being because, I’m quoting a well known theologian Smith Wigglesworth, “There are two sides to this baptism: The first is, you possess the Spirit; the second is that the Spirit possesses you.”

We know that after Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit led him out into a desert wilderness for forty days.  And it was there in that desert place he was tempted by Satan, and where he both resisted and overcame the enemy by quoting God’s word – the Living Word.

Later on this morning Linda is going to be singing one of my favourite hymns, that you for doing this Linda. I’m not sure if it is a familiar one to dayspring.  “What King would wade through murky streams, ignoring how the world stems the powerful and brave.”

We serve a King, who wades through all the murky things we go through in our lives.  Imagine, he who was without sin, and did not need to be washed clean in the waters of the Jordon River that day, did so on our behalf.  In Mathew’s account of the baptism, John actually tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?”  Jesus replied saying, “Let it be so now.  It is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness in this way.” Theologian Richard Rohr says, “Baptism is a risky, body-based symbol of being drowned or buried in the flow.”

This little green book may look familiar to you.  Years ago, in preparation for my own baptism, my pastor gave me a copy of the Living Faith, our Church’s Statement of Christian Belief.  In recent years I find myself returning to its pages as I discern my future and my calling within the Presbyterian Church.

— See

So it is no wonder that in preparation for this mornings message on the Baptism of Jesus, I would return here to help us reflect on the significance of what it means to possess the Holy Spirit, and want it might mean when the Spirit possesses you.

— Painting of a desert scene —

This painting is by the American artist Daniel Bonnell. He states that painting is not about what he sees but what he doesn’t see. He states that his interests in his craft, “Lie within the beauty of ambiguity held within painting that pursues a sacred direction with the realm of Christology.”  I love this piece of art because it speaks to me of an amazing power and such beauty that is available to us through the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The grace and gentle nature of the dove descending upon Jesus is in marked contrast to those intense colours radiating around him. This looks more like the wild, unpredictable nature of the Holy Spirit we read about during Pentecost.  I think this image may hold some of what Smith Wigglesworth was talking about when referred to the Spirit taking possession of us.

In Living Faith it states, “By the power of the Holy Spirit God acts through Baptism. It is the sacrament not of what we do but of what God has done for us in Christ. God’s grace and our response to it are not tied to the moment of but continue and deepen throughout life. It is a sacrament meant for those who profess their faith and for their children. Together we are the family of God.”  The interesting thing about the Holy Spirit is that we don’t always see his transformative power at work immediately.  Theologian Richard Rohr said, ‘As with most  sacramental moments, they seldom match the exact moment of transformation itself but they declare that such a moment is important and possible.

Baptism is also a sign and seal of our union with Christ and with his church.

Through it we share in the death and resurrection of Christ and are commissioned to his service.  It seems that we are called to die to our old self, our old ways of being, and are called to take on a new, transformed nature.  One that more reflects the nature of Jesus Christ himself.  This too can take time, perhaps a lifetime.

We recalled Christ’s calling by the Holy Spirit into that desert wilderness.  I have never been to the desert, some of you may have, perhaps during the breakout rooms at the end of the service you can share your experience with me.  Although I have not but been to the desert, through images like this one, through movies, or the accounts of others, we can easily imagine how it would be a challenging and inhospitable place to be for 40 days. Yet even in what seems like a barren place life still flourishes, just in different ways, and there remains an untameable beauty that can take our breath away.

I suspect, like me there are times where perhaps you feel like you are in a desert place.  Times when that term shifting sands, seemed most appropriate to describe how unstable, unpredictable, how challenging the ground you stood on had become.  It can be very difficult  to remember our Baptism, remember we are in union with Christ and that even in the desert, he is working in us, even if we can’t see it, or feel it.  It is often when we are making our way out of the desert and look back, well then we see his footprints all over the landscape.

We don’t walk alone as baptized people because we are also in union with the church community.  I don’t know your congregation well, this is the first time we’ve met.  But I do know that Christ said, “You will know them by the fruits of their Spirit.”

You seem to a fruitful community— a wonderful music ministry, children’s programming, and a youth coordinator. for young adults. Your website displays John 1:14  “And the word became flesh and dwelt among us and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a fathers only son full of grace and truth.”

You have reach out into your community, where you have seen a need, a need to feed those who are hungry and by reaching out to those in need your community sees the Christ in you.

You regularly break bread together and enjoy each others company while you invite others into your home, to share in that communion, until there’s no room left on the page for you, all we see are Christs footprints all over the sand.

I said I didn’t know you, but I do know what it is like when a congregation is searching for a new minister.  I had the privilege of being on a search committee when I was living in Ottawa.  I know how much work is involved. I can only imagine the extra strain COVID has placed on the process.  Searching can feel a little like a wilderness, not knowing what is in store and having to deal with things changing week to week.  You host guest pastors who you’ve never met before, and you have VST students cutting their teeth on you, so to speak.  These times can feel daunting. Yet I sense from you and your team that I’ve been working with running up to today, a John and Gina and Lynn and  Bhiu that there is great sense of expectation.  Like those people lining up to receive the Holy Spirt in Lukes gospel, waiting with expectation, excited at the prospect of newness as they walked with Christ.  Renewing their union with Christ, and with each other through the gift of the Holy Spirit.

After Jesus was baptized a dove descended and God spoke saying, “This is my son in who I am well please.  We serve a living, present Christ who lives and moves and breaths among us.  Here at Dayspring Presbyterian Church, the Holy Spirit is working among you and within you.  I will leave you with some words from our old testament reading this morning “I have called you by name, and you are mine… Do not fear, for I am with you.”  Amen.

Solo: What king would wade through murky streams
What king would wade through murky streams 
and bow beneath the wave, ignoring how the world esteems the powerful and brave?

Refrain: Water, River, Spirit, Grace, sweep over me, sweep over me! Re-carve the depths your fingers traced in sculpting me.

Christ gleams with water brown with clay from land the prophets trod. Above while heaven’s clouds give way descends the dove of God.  Refrain

Come bow beneath the flowing wave. Christ stands here at your side and raises you as from the grave God raised the crucified.     Refrain

Words: Thomas H. Troeger  Music: David Hurd
Words © Oxford University Press, 1984, 1993
Music © The Pilgrim Press, 1994

We respond to serve God

Invitation to the Offering

In the season of Epiphany, God’s gift to us in Christ is revealed to the world. Our gifts to God in Christ’s name reveal our commitment to the love and mercy, the forgiveness and hope we have received. Our gifts proclaim that we are beloved to God and God is beloved to us.

Prayer of Dedication

God our Maker, we bring our gifts to you in thanksgiving for your gifts to us in Christ and in creation. Bless what we bring and who we are, so that our gifts will bless the world you love in Christ’s name. Amen.

Response: Now thank we all our God
Now thank we all our God with heart and hands and voices
Who wondrous things has done in whom God’s world rejoices

words: Catherine Winkworth; music: J. Cruger public domain for both

Reflection on giving: We have been giving faithfully since the beginning of the pandemic and we are committed to continuing the ministry and mission that define Dayspring – using the various ways described on the screen and in Dayspring Weekly News. Thank you all for your support of our shared vision and mission. For those in the sanctuary, if you have offering envelopes with you, simply put them in the offering plate at the back of the sanctuary as you leave the service  today.

Transition: Be still and know that I am God (instrumental)

Words and music: anonymous and public domain

Prayers of Thanksgiving and Intercession

God of time and eternity: As this new year stretches before us, we thank you for the ?me you give us and for all those things that are still possible and precious in this gift. We thank you for each new day and its possibilities; for each night, its rest and reflection.

We thank you for words of forgiveness and the chance to make a new start, for word of invitation to explore new opportunities. Give us the courage to try something new and the conviction to finish things leftover from last year.

Make time spent this year your time, O God.

Bless our time with you.

God of moments and memories we remember before you people facing hard times in the months ahead. We pray for those struggling with illness, and for those facing treatment or surgery with uncertain results….

A silence is kept.

We pray for those who are grieving the loss of dear ones and for all who remember what used to be but can no longer be…

A silence is kept.

Make time spent this year your time, O God. Bless our time with you.

God of hopefulness and helpfulness, we remember those who are seeking new opportunities this year: Those training for new employments and those looking for work;

Those developing new businesses and seeking the right employees; And those who provide services to improve life in our communities amid the uncertainties around us…

A time of silence is kept.

Give us wisdom and perseverance in what we undertake as a congregation in the face of all the changes in our community.

Make time spent this year your time, O God. Bless our time with you.

As we work together with the vision of your kingdom before us this year,  fill us with love and generosity that can change the world because of your blessing.   We pray we can make a difference in even the most challenging situations  because we are the people of your beloved Son who taught us to pray together.

Song: Brother, sister, let me serve you
Brother, sister, let me serve you; let me be as Christ to you; pray that I may have the grace to
let you be my servant too.

We are pilgrims on a journey, and companions on the road; we are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load.

I will hold the Christ-light for you in the night time of your fear; I will hold my hand out to you,
speak the peace you long to hear

I will weep when you are weeping; when you laugh I’ll laugh with you; I will share your joy and sorrow, till we’ve seen this journey through.

When we sing to God in heaven, we shall find such harmony, born of all we’ve known together
of Christ’s love and agony.

Words and Music: Richard Gillard © scripture in song, 1977 administered in North, South and Central America by Integrity Music. Reprinted with permission under CCLI, License #3095377​. All rights reserved. Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from CCLI

Sending out with God’s blessing

Response: Sing amen

Sing Amen,
Amen, we praise your name, O God!
Sing Amen!
Amen, we praise your name, O God!
Sing Amen!

Amen, amen. Amen, amen.
Amen, we praise your name, O God!

Words: Xhosa,S.C.Molefe © Lamko Institute,1991. Music: S.C.Molefe © Lamko Institute,1991.  arr. by John Bell; © 1990, WGRG, Iona Community, GIA Publications, Inc., agent. Use authorized by ONE LICENCE.

Music postlude

Through water and the Word,
you have become a child of God
and are sealed as Christ’s own,


Shirley Carleton retains the copyright (©2022) on all original material presented by her The prayers are based on liturgies published by the Presbyterian Church in Canada at the following location.

As far as we are aware, all of the unattributed material presented herewith is Shirley Carleton’s own creation or is in the public domain. Unacknowledged use of copyrighted material is unintentional and will be corrected immediately upon notification being received.

Posted in Recent Sermons.