Resources for Worship – The First Sunday of Epiphany: The Baptism of Christ, January 10, 2021

These are worship resources for the First Sunday of Epiphany, January 10, 2021. The resources are gathered from a variety of sources and, while assembled mainly for The Anglican Church of St Thomas the Apostle, Kefalas, on the island of Crete in Greece, others may find them useful.

A lamp is lit on the eve of Epiphany, Twelfth Night, in a typically Greek small shrine down the road from where I live.

A Note on the Season of Epiphany

The Church of England in its Common Worship lectionary designates the time from the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6) until the Feast of the Presentation as the Season of Epiphany, with the suggested liturgical colour of white, whereas other provinces in the Communion, such as the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church, simply treat it as the Sundays after Epiphany with the colour of green; the Roman Catholics simply call it Ordinary Time. Further, the Church of England observes, after February 2, several Sundays before Lent (this year, just two), whereas those other provinces and the Catholics just continue with Sundays after Epiphany or Ordinary Time. The effect is to lengthen the Christmas season with the colour of white and to also lengthen Lent by a pre-Lenten period. Interestingly, the readings tend to be more or less the same in all of the churches mentioned, so it is really about context, rather than readings.

Common Worship: Times and Seasons says this about the season:

The season of joyful celebration that begins at Christmas now continues through the successive Sundays of Epiphany, and the festal cycle ends only with the Feast of the Presentation (Candlemas). The child who has been manifested to the magi at his birth is now recognized by Simeon and Anna, when he comes to be presented in the Temple according to the Law of Israel. He is both ‘a light to lighten the Gentiles’ and ‘the glory of God’s people Israel’. But the redemption he will bring must be won through suffering; the Incarnation is directed to the Passion; and Simeon’s final words move our attention away from the celebration of Christmas and towards the mysteries of Easter.

Share

The lockdown has been extended by a week, until the 18th of January, so we will be on Zoom only for this Sunday and the next. You can join by clicking this link or by entering the following into your Zoom application: Meeting ID: 850 4483 9927 Passcode: 010209.

The Order of Service, which incorporates parts of A Service for the Festival of the Baptism of Christ from Common Worship: Times and Seasons can be downloaded here, if you wish.

Read

We will be using Genesis 1:1-5, Psalm 29, Acts 19:1-7, and Mark 1:4-11. We will also be using Matthew 2.1-2,8-11 and John 2.1-11, from the Service for the Festival of the Baptism of Christ.

Reflect

I preached this sermon last year. You can listen to Fr Leonard Doolan’s prerecorded sermon below.

From St Paul’s, Athens: The Baptism of Christ 2021

Pray

Collect

Eternal Father,
who at the baptism of Jesus
revealed him to be your Son,
anointing him with the Holy Spirit:
grant to us, who are born again by water and the Spirit,
that we may be faithful to our calling as your adopted children;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

(or)

Heavenly Father,
at the Jordan you revealed Jesus as your Son:
may we recognize him as our Lord
and know ourselves to be your beloved children;
through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.

Biddings
I bid your prayers for the leaders and people of the nations; especially

I bid your prayers for the sick and suffering and all who minister to their needs;

  • remembering the over 23 million active cases of the novel coronavirus, and mourning with the families of the 1.9 million who have died in the pandemic;
  • for the almost three million people in the UK who have had covid-19 or are recovering from it, the over 79,000 who have died of it there, and the over 128,000 active cases here in Greece, and the families of the over 5195 dead here;
  • remembering those ill with other diseases, and those whose operations have been postponed;
  • all those having issues with mental health;
  • those suffering from addiction, and those in recovery;
  • those who have been affected severely by the economic effects of the pandemic, especially in food services and tourism;
  • and giving thanks for the efforts of researchers in finding vaccines, and for the rollout of vaccines across the world.

I bid your prayers for the Church:

Intercession
In the power of the Spirit and in union with Christ,
let us pray to the Father.

All or some of these petitions may be used

God of our salvation,
hope of all the ends of the earth,
we pray: Your kingdom come.

That the world may know Jesus Christ as the Prince of Peace,
we pray: Your kingdom come.

That all who are estranged and without hope
may be brought near in the blood of Christ,
we pray: Your kingdom come.

That the Church may be one in serving
and proclaiming the gospel,
we pray: Your kingdom come.

That we may be bold to speak the word of God
while you stretch out your hand to save,
we pray: Your kingdom come.

That the Church may be generous in giving,
faithful in serving, bold in proclaiming,
we pray: Your kingdom come.

That the Church may welcome and support
all whom God calls to faith,
we pray: Your kingdom come.

That all who serve the gospel may be kept in safety
while your word accomplishes its purpose,
we pray: Your kingdom come.

That all who suffer for the gospel
may know the comfort and glory of Christ,
we pray: Your kingdom come.

That the day may come when every knee shall bow
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
we pray: Your kingdom come.

Almighty God,
by your Holy Spirit you have made us one
with your saints in heaven and on earth:
grant that in our earthly pilgrimage
we may ever be supported by this fellowship of love and prayer,
and know ourselves surrounded by their witness
to your power and mercy;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Sing

Hymn: Brightest and Best of the Stars of the Morning
(Tune: Stella Orientis)

1 Brightest and best of the stars of the morning,
dawn on our darkness, and lend us thine aid:
gem of the East, the horizon adorning,
guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.

2 Cold on his cradle the dewdrops are shining,
low lies his head with the beasts of the stall;
angels adore him in slumber reclining,
Maker and Monarch and Saviour of all.

3 Say, shall we yield him, in costly devotion
odours of Edom and offerings divine,
gems of the mountain and pearls of the ocean,
myrrh from the forest and gold from the mine?

4 Vainly we offer each ample oblation,
vainly with gifts would his favour secure;
richer by far is the heart’s adoration,
dearer to God are the prayers of the poor.

5 Brightest and best of the stars of the morning,
dawn on our darkness and lend us thine aid;
gem of the East, the horizon adorning,
guide where our infant Redeemer is laid

Hymn: A Star Not Mapped On Human Hearts
(Tune: Carol)

1 A star not mapped on human hearts
disturbed the eastern skies
and stirred the questioning minds and hearts
of three kings rich and wise.
Attracted by the mystic light
their science did not frame,
they travelled through the cloud of night
to learn its holy name.

2 That star which cheered the seeking soul
announcing Christ was here,
made Herod plot to keep control
through violence, lies, and fear.
The tyrant hid his anxious thought
and said, “Report to me
when you have found
     the child you’ve sought
that I may come and see.

3 That star above our shadowed earth
now arced across the skies
and marked the place of holy birth
before the wise men’s eyes.
They offered incense, myrrh, and gold
while on their knees to pray.
The through a dream the kings were told
“Go home another way.”

4) That star which pierced the ancient night
has faded from above,
yet through the visionary sight
of faith, and hope, and love
we like the wise men still may find
life’s animating goal:
the Christ who prompts the probing mind
and lights the open soul.  

Hymn: Songs of Thankfulness and Praise
1 Songs of thankfulness and praise,
Jesu, Lord, to thee we raise,
manifested by the star
to the sages from afar;
branch of royal David’s stem
in thy birth at Bethlehem:
praises be to thee addrest,
God in flesh made manifest.

2 Manifest at Jordan’s stream,
Prophet, Priest, and King supreme;
and at Cana wedding-guest
in thy Godhead manifest;
manifest in power divine,
changing water into wine:
praises be to thee addrest,
God in flesh made manifest.

3 Grant us grace to see thee, Lord,
mirrored in thy holy word;
may we imitate thee now,
and be pure, as pure art thou;
that we like to thee may be
at thy great Epiphany;
and may praise thee, ever blest,
God in flesh made manifest.

Hymn: When Jesus Came to Jordan
(Tune: Offertorium)

1 When Jesus came to Jordan
To be baptized by John,
He did not come for pardon,
But as his Father’s Son.
He came to share repentance
With all who mourn their sins,
To speak the vital sentence
With which good news begins.

2 He came to share temptation,
Our utmost woe and loss,
For us and our salvation
To die upon the cross.
So when the Dove descended
On him, the Son of Man,
The hidden years had ended,
The age of grace began.

3 Come, Holy Spirit, aid us
To keep the vows we make,
This very day invade us,
And every bondage break.
Come, give our lives direction,
The gift we covet most:
To share the resurrection
That leads to Pentecost.

Hymn: Wade In the Water
Refrain:
Wade in the water,
wade in the water, children,
wade in the water.
God’s gonna trouble the water.

1 See those children all dressed up in white,
God’s gonna trouble the water.
They must be the children of the Israelite.
God’s gonna trouble the water. [Refrain]

2 See those children all dressed in black,
They come a long way, ain’t turning back.

3 See the children, they’re dressed in blue,
Looks like my people, they’re coming on, coming on through.

4 See those children dressed in red,
It must be the children that Moses led. [Refrain]

5 See those children all dressed in green,
they’re moving down to that Jordan’s stream.

6 Some say “Peter”, and some say “Paul”,
There ain’t but one God made us all.

Hymn: As With Gladness Men of Old
1 As with gladness men of old
Did the guiding star behold,
As with joy they hailed its light,
Leading onward, beaming bright,
So, most gracious Lord, may we
Evermore be lead to thee.

2 As with joyful steps they sped
To that lowly manger-bed,
There to bend the knee before
Him whom heav’n and earth adore;
So may we with willing feet
Ever seek the mercy-seat.

3 As they offered gifts most rare
At that manger crude and bare;
So may we with holy joy,
Pure and free from sin’s alloy,
All our costliest treasures bring,
Christ! to thee, our heav’nly King.

About Bruce Bryant-Scott

Canadian. Husband. Father. Christian. Recovering Settler. A priest of the Church of England, Diocese in Europe, on the island of Crete in Greece. More about me at https://www.linkedin.com/in/bruce-bryant-scott-4205501a/
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