Sunday (Zoom from the sanctuary) message: A new beginning

Worship on the Lord’s Day

We gather to worship God

Music prelude

Greeting:

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 up 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: Holy Spirit, you are welcome here

There’s nothing worth more
That could ever come close
No thing can compare
You’re our living hope…
Your presence, Lord

I’ve tasted and seen
Of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart becomes free
And my shame is undone…
Your presence, Lord

Holy Spirit, You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord
Your presence, Lord

Words by Francesca Battistelli
Music:: Katie Torwalt / Bryan Torwalt
Holy Spirit lyrics © Capitol Cmg Genesis, Jesus Culture Music

Call to worship:

L: The time has come!
P: The time is now!
L: The reign of God has drawn near.
P: The kingdom of heaven is here.
L: Let us turn our lives around and accept the good news.
P: Let us hear and follow Christ who calls us to follow. We worship in his name.

Prayers of approach and lament

Gracious God, in your love you created us in your image. In your love, you welcome us as your children through the redeeming death of Christ on the cross. In love you continue to lead us faithfully, and with your mercy, you hear our prayers. We praise and thank You, Lord! Hear us, your beloved children, as we come before You in worship.
Amen.

Trusting in God’s steadfast love, let us offer our prayers of lament:

Dear God, we lament for what is happening in our world today. We lament the loss of lives through COVID 19. Lord you say; life is valuable, important, and above all, created in your image. We lament this day for how much life if being wasted through this calamity. Come to our aid for we are helpless. Will you forget us forever? How long Lord will you hide your face from us?
How long must we bear pain of death and isolation, and have sorrow in our hearts all day long? Lord, our God; we feel forgotten and our faith is failing.
Consider and answer us, O LORD our God! For we trust in your steadfast love; and our hearts shall always rejoice in your salvation. Amen.

Response: Glory, glory, hallelujah

Assurance of God’s faithfulness

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness oh Lord. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

Response: Be still and know

Prayers for God’s help and guidance

God of Grace, you call us to pray with open and hopeful hearts. We thank you for the work of your church and for all we are able to do, to bring your love, healing and justice into the world. We thank you for the healing we have known in our lives: for the experience of being forgiven; for reconciliation and mended relationships; and for comfort in times of grief.

As the pandemic still haunts lives and nations, we pray for those struggling with COVID-19 and its lingering effects. We for those whose emotions are raw from fear or isolation, and for those exhausted by caring for others and serving the public day by day. Give each one the hope and courage they need to face this new year.

Continue to strengthen us to serve you not only with our words, but with our actions. Help us to see others with your eyes, and continue to reach out with your compassion, especially where differences divide. This and many more we ask in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen

We listen for the voice of God

Children’s time                    

Song: Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness (vs 1-4)

Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness;
bow down in reverence, God’s glory proclaim;
gold of obedience and incense of lowliness
bring now, adoring the Lord’s holy name.

Low at his feet lay thy burden of carefulness;
high on his heart Jesus bears it for thee,
comforts thy sorrows and answers thy prayerfulness,
guiding thy steps as may best for thee be.

Fear not to enter God’s courts in the slenderness
of the poor wealth thou wouldst reckon as thine;
truth in its beauty and love in its tenderness:
these are the offerings to lay on his shrine.

These, though we bring them in trembling and fearfulness,
God will accept for the name that is dear;
mornings of joy give for evenings of tearfulness,
trust for our trembling and hope for our fear.

Words: John Monsell; public domain
Music: public domain

Scripture reading:  Mark 1:4-11 New Testament (New Revised Standard Version)

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.”

The Baptism of Jesus

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 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. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

Response: Behold the Lamb of God

Message: “A New Beginning”

One of the most beautiful scenes I have always loved in church is that moment when someone is being baptized. Have you ever noticed that difference in the feelings and expressions of the people each time someone is being baptized? For a moment it always seems like we have all forgotten that the world and its troubles exist as gradually we get enveloped by the joy accompanied by the awesome presence of God in the act of baptism. I always love to look at the faces of the people in church during baptism just to behold the brightness and beautiful smiles.

Dear friends, this is the beauty of the light of God’s presence and the joy of receiving new life at baptism. No wonder Scriptures says there is joy in heaven over a sinner who repents because in fact, a new life is born into the Kingdom of God and the community of faith. It becomes a new beginning for the baptized whose journey of faith just started with the rite of baptism.

Each time we use the word “New”, we think of something that has not existed before; something that has just recently been discovered; or may be, something that has been or is already existing but now seen or experienced in a different way or for the first time.

Same thing when we think about baptism. We see baptism as something new; we see it as a new beginning, a fresh start and a new life altogether. No wonder the apostle in 2 Corinthians 5:17 says; “If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation, the old is gone and the new has come.” Newness breeds joy; no wonder few days back, we were filled with joy as we celebrated the New year.

Brethren in the Lord, this morning we read about the baptism of Jesus which came at a time when He was about to begin his ministry on earth. He had gone out to meet John in the River Jordan who was out there proclaiming the good news of the son of God and;  the baptism of repentance and the forgiveness of sins. People came from all over the Judean countryside and Jerusalem to be baptized by John. One thing Mark tells us is that these people came confessing their sins. In fact, this was a new beginning for these people who did not only confess but repented from their old ways.

In the same light and without sin, Christ in all humility subjected himself to John’s baptism. In Matthew’s account, we are told that John resisted Jesus’ request to be baptized on account of Jesus’ authority. To fulfill all righteousness, Jesus pushes John into baptizing him and thereby identifying with sinful humanity through this baptism and subjecting himself to the will of His Father. Christ confessed and repented for humanity, and yes; the Father was pleased with him. Through his baptism, humanity is joined to God through Christ Jesus; thus, opening the doors for a new beginning.

The baptism of Christ also gave a new meaning to baptism as it was no longer a place of only repentance and forgiveness but a place of empowerment through the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ baptism ushered him into his mission on earth and in the same light, our baptism serves as a moment of empowerment as we are called to serve God with our gifts and talents.  Heaven was opened, the Holy Spirit descended, and God’s voice was heard. Prophetically, John had told the people that the baptism that Christ offers is greater than his because Christ will baptize us with the Holy Spirit; which in other words signifies the presence of God himself in the life of the believer.

It was the dawn of a new era for God’s people on earth. That separation which was caused by the fall in the garden of Eden is now being restored in the presence of Christ. Being baptized by the water and the spirit becomes the means through which we are born again and are called Children of God. That is why at the end of his ministry, Christ commissions his followers to go out and baptize people of every tribe and tongue and nation based on the authority that had been given to him.

Baptism has remained one of those rites of receiving new members into a community of faith and that is why in some churches, the baptismal font is placed at the entrance of the church which signifies the starting point of our union with God and fellowship with the community of God’s people. Just like every new beginning, our baptism calls us to new adjustments in life, reasons why John calls the people to repent from their old ways. In like manner, we are sometimes charged with making renunciations and new promises that will serve as a guide into this new life we have been called into as we receive our baptism.

Yes; we become Christians and as such called to the new challenges of our faith since baptism is not only a place of reconciling and becoming one in union with God, but a place of empowerment through the Holy Spirit as we are called to be of service to God and humanity, as mentioned before. Remember Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit and as such his divinity was confirmed right from the beginning. Thus, everything that happened at his baptism was for our benefit. He caused the heaven to be opened for our sake and for the Spirit to descend and for God’s voice to be heard once more.

What a blessing dear Christian friends, that while we were still sinners Christ Jesus did this for us all. The voice of God approved Jesus and with this he could venture into implementing his mission on earth. How do we connect our baptism and our mission as God’s own people? Christ’s baptism is a call and reminder for us to live out our baptism as a joyful response to our faith through our worship live and the services we offer for God.

By this act of Baptism, God was pleased with Christ and so with humanity. As we remember the baptism of Christ this day, let us remember that the God we serve is a God of new beginnings. That is why his mercies are new every morning. At the start of a new year and at a time when humanity is faced with new health and economic challenges, we serve a God who is ready and willing to open new doors and give his people hope in a new beginning. Let us trust him more than ever before because can cause a new start for us amid the dark clouds that has surrounded humanity.

Brothers and sisters in the Lord, there is joy in newness and as such, we are challenged this day to continue to stay in the newness of God’s presence. Let us make everyday, a new beginning in his presence, not getting weary of our calling but serving and trusting him faithfully in all we do.

May God Almighty continue to keep us new everyday, in our words, thoughts and deeds; and to him be the glory. Amen

Song: 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!
Recarve 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 Troeger  © Oxford University Press 1984, 93
Music: David Hurd © The Pilgrim Press 1994
License #A735555. All rights reserved, Permission
to stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE

 

We respond to serve God

 

Prayer of gratitude

Gracious God, we come to you in thankfulness for your unending provision. You provide food in abundance and protection under the shelter of your wings. You grant rest and renew our strength whenever we feel week. You guide us along the right paths and restore our souls. Even when we are confronted with danger, you are close beside us as our shield. You honor us, and we overflow with blessings. Help us to be mindful of everything you have done for us. May you equip us with everything good that we may continue to do your will and that which is pleasing in your sight. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen.

Response: In the Lord I’ll be ever thankful

Reflection on giving

Song: O holy dove of God descending     

O holy Dove of God descending,
You are the love that knows no ending.
All of our shattered dreams You’re mending:
Spirit, now live in me.

O holy Wind of God now blowing,
You are the seed that God is sowing.
You are the life that starts us growing:
Spirit, now live in me.

O holy Rain of God now falling,
You make the Word of God enthralling,
You are that inner voice now calling:
Spirit, now live in me.

O holy Flame of God now burning,
You are the power of Christ returning.
You are the answer to our yearning:
Spirit, now live in me.

Words and Music: Bryan Leech © Fred Buck Music Co 1976
License #A735555. All rights reserved, Permission
to stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE

Sending out with God’s blessing

Response: God to enfold you


Baptism of the Lord

10:00 am Jan 10, 2021

led by Theresia Ndofor

Elder: Laura Patterson-Fortin

children’s time: Lynn Vaughan

vocalist: Linda Farrah-Basford


Copyright 2020 – Rev. Theresia Ndofor, In-Ministry student at Dayspring Presbyterian Church, and student at Montreal School of Theology
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