Online Service 10th January 2021

Welcome to the Service for the 1st Sunday of Epiphany: Also available via YouTube

Online Service 10th January 2021

Morning Prayer. The Baptism of Christ


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O Lord, open our lips

All   and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Reveal among us the light of your presence

All   that we may behold your power and glory.

Epiphany Hymn:

O worship the Lord

sung by St Martin’s Voices



1 O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!
bow down before him, his glory proclaim;
with gold of obedience, and incense of lowliness,
kneel and adore him, the Lord is his name!

2 Low at his feet lay thy burden of carefulness,
high on his heart he will bear it for thee,
comfort thy sorrows, and answer thy prayerfulness,
guiding thy steps as may best for thee be.

3 Fear not to enter his 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.

4 These, though we bring them in trembling and fearfulness,
he 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.

5 O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!
bow down before him, his glory proclaim;
with gold of obedience, and incense of lowliness,
kneel and adore him, the Lord is his name!



Opening prayer

The night has passed, and the day lies open before us;

let us pray with one heart and mind.

Silence is kept.

As we rejoice in the gift of this new day,

so may the light of your presence, O God,

set our hearts on fire with love for you; now and for ever. All   Amen.

Kyrie Confession

Because God was merciful,

he saved us through the water of rebirth

and the renewing power of the Holy Spirit.

But through sin we have fallen away from our baptism.

Let us return to the Lord and renew our faith in his promises

by confessing our sins

Mass of St Cedd – Peter Nardone sung by St Martin’s Voices Kyrie

Lord have mercy.

Christ have mercy.

Lord hard mercy.


May almighty God have mercy on us,

forgive us our sins,

and bring us to everlasting life,

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

All   Amen.


The Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia.

This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.


Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St Mark 1:4-11

4John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5And 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. 6Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7He 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. 8I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

9In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10And 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. 11And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”


O Lord open my lips and my mouth shall proclaim your praise”

In our Church there have been many, many baptisms. They are the loveliest of services, and yet of the most solemn and weighty in symbolism and meaning. They are too one of the most human of services. Where our humanity cuts through the liturgy and brings it into stark reality. No one can reason with a baby screaming or a small child rushing around at a Baptism that they should be quiet as they are in Church. They are real and behave in a real way; babies howl and children run.

If we are to take a lesson from the Baptism of babies, we would now be lying in our socially distance pews warmly wrapped in a blanket and sleeping peacefully… or crying loudly and generally disrupting any carefully made plans. Take your pick which one you are. That is until an unknown and very strange grown-up mutters some incomprehensible words and then splashes lukewarm water all over your head into your eyes and down your neck and does it 3 times…. beware! At this point those who are sleeping receive a rude awakening and those who are crying are shocked into silent disbelief.

That is Baptism at least from the infant’s point of view.

The Holy Gospel today calls upon us to consider what, Baptism means to us. Unless you were baptised later in life you will not have the pleasure of remembering the experience.

Baptism is said to be “the kiss of God on our unconscious soul, a blessing upon us”. In the Holy Gospel God calls Jesus “my Son the Beloved; with whom I am well pleased”. God has Blessed Jesus in the baptism and brings to life in Jesus his mission and meaning. This point at which Jesus leaves his home town and embarks on his active ministry. From this Baptism he begins his journey towards his death and resurrection and our Salvation. Jesus’s baptism is an empowerment, where he alone sees the dove and hears the words of our Father. Jesus is Blessed by God; his soul is so conscious of God that he hears the words and sees the dove.

There is rich symbolism in what we are told Jesus sees and hears. The dove, represents; gentleness, peace, innocence, purity and the creative powers of God. These are all meanings from the testaments. And “Beloved Son” is an indication of the qualities of mind of the person and life of Jesus. We have such symbolism in our baptism service today. The sign of the cross is made on the baby and this invokes God’s protection and asks for entrance into the body of the Christian Church. In the use of blessed water this symbolises a cleansing and purification from sin a passing from death to new life, a rebirth in the Holy Spirit. The oil symbolises the gifts of the holy spirit and is a future empowerment to mission. A lighted candle which is presented to the baby and held by a Godparent for them, represents the light of Christ and a call to know Christ the light of the world. It is a Blessing.

If we then take Baptism to be a Blessing what does that mean to us who are baptised and those who perhaps are considering baptism? Both these states appear in the Gospel of today.

Baptism is a Blessing and calling an awareness of God’s Holy Spirit into our human being. The “awareness” is in the form of a spiritual gift. Rather like the spark of a fire which will if blown carefully upon develops into a warm and life-giving fire. Within a spark lies potential. But potential always needs to be nurtured. It is up to the baptised person and their godparents to blow upon that spark and bring it to life it is our free will whether to blow the spark into life or not.

We blow on the Gift of our Baptismal spark when we offer to God thanksgiving, praise, dedication, prayer and work. In other words when we offer our life’s tasks to God. It is about us offering our blessings to God. We cannot bless God, God blesses us. But the word blessing comes from the Latin Benedictio and the Greek Eulogium meaning to speak well of …we are to speak well of God and of His creation.

John the Baptist shows us the way of how to speak well of God. It is about preparing a way for Christ to show forth from our lives. We offer Christ leverage in our life. We let the creative word of God enter our hearts and minds, we remove things which might block the entrance of Christ to our lives. Things like pride, greed, envy …the 7 deadly sins in fact… we remove “sanctified stupidities” our holier than thou attitude, we repent that is take on a new mind we have a revolution of our selves…a complete breakdown of self and a rebuild but with Christ showing us where to place the bricks…there will be many more doors and window and entrances in than before. Our house will be a lot more lightsome, and a lot more welcoming and in fact become a sort of staging post that does not seek to hold onto others but rather empower others onto their own baptism into the kingdom of God.

If we are familiar with the ways of the church, we get helps in this journey from Baptism…our life’s journey. Our church service, the Eucharistic prayer is a blessing. It is in 2 parts namely the remembering and the calling down of the Holy Spirit. And that is what a blessing is. We remember something and ask for it to be dedicated to Godly use and we call the holy spirit down upon it.

We hear over and over again in a church service, the word bless or blessed. When you hear that think of your baptism, how many times have you heard that word already in this service? And do you remember that childhood game you may have played when you spot how many times a teacher says a certain word…well try it now in this service, if you dare!

Our job is to speak well of Christ, not of ourselves, our job is to point to Christ. And that is what the spark and fire of Baptism calls us to be…. a signpost…a welcome helpful signpost in the desert of this life.

I finish with a prayer I use at the end of a baptism

May God grant you always his blessing,
With sunbeam to warm you.
A moonbeam to charm you,
A sheltering angel,
So nothing can harm you.
Laughter to cheer you,
Faithful friends near you.
And whenever you pray,
Heaven can hear you.
Live in and share the light and peace of Christ.” Amen

Thank you for listening.”

The Creed (The origin of the Apostles’ Creed is the profession of faith made at baptism.)

All   I believe in God, the Father almighty,

creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the Virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried;

he descended to the dead.

On the third day he rose again;

he ascended into heaven,

he is seated at the right hand of the Father,

and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic Church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting.



Intercessions are offered

Jesus calls us out of darkness into his marvellous light.

Washed clean by the waters of baptism,

let us pray that we may live the life to which he has called us.

Lord Jesus, eternal Word,

proclaimed as the Christ by John the forerunner,

hear us as we pray for all who proclaim your word …

Lord of truth,

hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus, baptizing with the Spirit and with fire,

strengthen us to withstand all the trials of our faith …

Lord of truth,

hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus, bringing forgiveness to all who repent,

teach your Church dependence on your grace …

Lord of truth,

hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus, fulfilment of the promises of old,

give hope to all who suffer or are ignored …

Lord of truth,

hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus, beloved Son of the Father,

anoint us with the gifts of your Holy Spirit …

Lord of truth,

hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus, bringer of hope,

share with all the faithful the riches of eternal life …

Lord of truth,

hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus Christ,

in you the Father makes us and all things new.

Transform the poverty of our nature

by the riches of your grace,

and in the renewal of our lives make known your heavenly glory.



Merciful Father, accept these prayers,

For the sake of your Son our Saviour, Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen


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.

The Lord’s Prayer is said – please join in

Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us

All Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.

The Conclusion

May God, who in Christ gives us a spring of water

welling up to eternal life,

perfect in you the image of his glory;

and the blessing of Almighty God,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always. Amen.




Song of thankfulness and praise

sung by St Martin’s Voices



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:
anthems be to thee addressed
God in Man 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:
anthems be to thee addressed,
God in Man made manifest.

3 Manifest in making whole
palsied limbs and fainting soul;
manifest in valiant fight,
quelling all the devil's might;
manifest in gracious will,
ever bringing good from ill:
anthems be to thee addressed,
God in Man made manifest.

4 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 Man made manifest.


CREDITS: With thanks all who contributed to the online version of this Morning Prayer.

Music from A.C.N.Y. Hymns were recorded by St Martin’s Voices, directed by Andrew Earis, with organist Ben Giddens.

Readers and Leaders of Prayers Claire Wheatley. Peter Blight. Ieuan Cornish. Dee Cornish.

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