Baptism of Christ, Year C

Musical Reflection
Cold Cold Water by Mirah



Lord of the desert river,
you search our depths
and call us by name:
may your flame-born Spirit
open the heavens
that we might recognize you

in the one born of earth,

through Jesus Christ, the Gift of Peace.

First Reading
Lover’s Instructions

by Margo Swiss

I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you,
Which shall be the darkness of God.
T.S. Eliot, East Coker


Lights out-
now step into the dark;
life up your eyes to whatever

you can not see.

As the blind go,
so you must move,
hands in reach of whatever
you can not know.

even fear recedes
and words

in silence

Love stands ready
(eyes closed in anticipation)
to cover you

with such and embrace –

In this place

            all receive
            and none waits.


Second Reading
Not Waving but Drowning
by Stevie Smith

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.
Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.
Gospel Reading
Luke 3:15-22

The people were filled with expectation, and everyone wondered whether John might be the Christ. John replied to them all, “I baptize you with water, but the one who is more powerful than me is coming, whose sandals I’m not worthy to untie. This One will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. The shovel he uses to sift the wheat from the husks is in his hands. He will clean out his threshing area and bring the wheat into his barn. But he will burn the husks with a fire that can’t be put out.” With many other words John appealed to them, proclaiming good news to the people.

But Herod the ruler had been criticized harshly by John because of Herodias, Herod’s brother’s wife, and because of all the evil he had done. He added this to the list of his evil deeds: he locked John up in prison.

When everyone was being baptized, Jesus also was baptized. While he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit came down on him in bodily form like a dove. And there was a voice from heaven: “You are my Own, my Beloved; on you my favour rests.”


Musical Reflection
Wash Me in the Water by Jamie N Commons


You Call Us Prayer
by Sister Helen Marie Gilsdorf, adapted

You called us to the water, and holy is Your name.
You called us to the water, and holy is Your name.
You called us to the water, to become a new creation,
and holy, holy is Your 
name. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

O Silent Sound,
whose shimmering music pulsates
at the heart of each and all,
Clear a space in us where thy melody
may be perceived in its purity.
Let the rhythm of thy counsel reverberate through our lives,
so that we move to the beat of justice, love, and peace.
Then, our whole being at one with thy song,
grant that the earth may be filled
with the beauty of thy voice.
Endow us with the wisdom to produce and share
what each being needs to grow and flourish,
And give us courage to embrace our shadow with emptiness,
as we embrace others in their darkness.
But let us not be captive to uncertainty,
nor cling to fruitless pursuits.
For from thee springs forth
the rhythm, the melody, and the harmony,
which restores all to balance, again and again. Ameyn.

Musical Reflection
Deep in the Sweetwater by Rasputina


Blessing and laughter and loving be ours,
the love of a great God
who names us
and holds us
while the earth turns and flowers grow
this day
this night
this moment
and forever.

May the blessing of God – the Giver, the Gift, and the Giving,
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.



Artwork by Emir Šehanović

Invocation from Prayers for an Inclusive Church by Steven Shakespeare

Musical Reflection Cold Cold Water by Mirah

Poem Lover’s Instructions by Margo Swiss

Poem Not Waving but Drowning by Stevie Smith

Musical Reflection Wash Me in the Water by Jamie N Commons

Prayer by Sister Helen Marie Gilsdorf

Aramaic Lord’s Prayer by Mark Hathaway

Musical Reflection Deep in the Sweetwater by Rasputina

Blessing from The Pattern of our Days

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