Reaffirmation of the Baptismal Covenant

January 9, 2022
Worship Notes


At the beginning of his public ministry, Jesus presents himself to John to be baptized in the Jordan. The heavens open, the Holy Spirit descends as a dove and we hear the voice of God: “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased”

At this festival of the Christian year, we not only remember Jesus’ baptism, but we celebrate our own: the baptism we share with Christ. Accordingly, this Sunday is an appropriate time to celebrate the sacrament of baptism or the reaffirmation of the baptismal covenant. It also foreshadows the season of Lent, as Jesus was immediately driven into the wilderness for 40 days after his own Baptism.


Bring us to the waters, God of our Baptism. Hold us as your children and claim us as your own. Guide us in our worship of you this day that we may feel the freedom that baptism gives us as well as the responsibility it places upon us to live as disciples of the Risen Christ.  Amen. 

PRELUDE                   “All Praise to Jesus”              J.S. Bach


When we pass through the water, God is with us.
Baptism is a gift to be celebrated and shared!
Though the rivers rise, though the seas roar, we shall not be overwhelmed.
Baptism is God’s act of snatching us from the jaws of death.
All are God’s beloved; in us God finds happiness.
Baptism seals us in God’s love and sends us forward.
Come, let us remember our baptisms and worship God!

HYMN No. 150 “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 led to thee.

2 As with joyful steps they sped,
Savior, to thy lowly bed,
there to bend the knee before
thee, whom heaven and earth adore;
so may we with willing feet
ever seek thy mercy seat.

3 As they offered gifts most rare
at thy manger, rude and bare,
so may we with holy joy,
pure and free from sin’s alloy,
all our costliest treasures bring,
Christ, to thee, our heavenly king.

4 Holy Jesus, every day
keep us in the narrow way;
and when earthly things are past,
bring our ransomed souls at last
where they need no star to guide,
where no clouds thy glory hide.


Sisters and brothers in Christ, our baptism is the sign and seal of our cleansing from sin, and of our being grafted into Christ. Through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ, the power of sin was broken and God’s kingdom entered our world. Through our baptism we were made citizens of God’s kingdom, and freed from the bondage of sin. Let us celebrate that freedom and redemption through the renewal of the promises made at our baptism. I ask you, therefore, once again to reject sin, to profess your faith in Christ Jesus, and to confess the faith of the church, the faith in which we were baptized.


We are incredibly stubborn, O Lord.  We have entered the season in which Your Light has been given to the world, your blessings have been poured out on the world,  and yet all we can think about is our own problems,  our own needs, our own desires.  Help us to desire you, Lord.  Help us to yearn for your presence.  Pour your baptismal waters over us again, cleansing us from our self-pity and arrogance.  Nourish and heal us so that we may joyfully serve you.  Wash away our jealousy, greed, and all negative thoughts and behaviors  that stand in the way of our truly being  the people you have called us to be.  Again let us receive the blessings offered in creation, in the birth and baptism of Jesus,  and in the ministry of the saints of light.   We ask this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.


Hear the good news! In baptism you were buried with Christ. In baptism also you were raised to life with him, through faith in the power of God who raised Christ from the dead. Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation. The old life has gone; a new life has begun. I declare to you in the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven. Amen.

RESPONSE No. 581               “Glory Be to the Father”

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen, amen.


Our peace comes from knowing how much God loves us in Jesus Christ. With God’s help, we try to love and forgive one another as Christ loves and forgives us.
“The peace of Christ be with you,”
“And also with you.”

ANTHEM                   “I Ponder”                  Craig Courtney



God of Creation, bring us your wisdom this day that we might hear your word proclaimed and leave this place to proclaim it ourselves.  Amen.

SCRIPTURE:  LUKE 3:15-17, 21-22

15 The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah. 16 John answered them all, “I baptize you with[a]water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with[b] the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

21 When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”


A priest-friend of mine tells this story about a family he knows. It seems a young boy had been at home all day with his mother. He had been a terror all day long. With each incident the mother responded, “You just wait until your dad gets home.” Evening came and the dad got home from work. The mother began telling him about their son’s behavior. The dad looked at his son and before he could say anything the boy cried out, “You can’t touch me. I’ve been baptized!”

I wish it was that easy, that clear, that simple. I wish I could say to the sorrows and losses of my life, “You can’t touch me. I’ve been baptized!” I wish I could say to the struggles and difficulties of my life, “You can’t touch me. I’ve been baptized!” I wish I could say to the changes and chances of life, “You can’t touch me. I’ve been baptized!” But that is not how baptism seems to work.

Despite my baptism I have, like every one of you, suffered sorrows and losses of life, encountered difficulties and struggles, had to face the changes and chances of life I would rather have avoided. And despite his baptism that little boy in the story still went to time-out. And yet he speaks a deep truth. He is absolutely right; he is untouchable. At some level he knows that his existence, identity, and value are not limited to time and space; to the things he has done or left undone. He knows himself to be more than his biological existence. He knows himself as beloved. He knows the gift of baptism.

Baptism does not eliminate our difficulties, fix our problems, take away the pain, or change the circumstances of our lives. Instead it changes us and offers a way through those difficulties, sorrows, problems, and circumstances and ultimately, a way through death. Baptism transcends our biological existence and offers us a vision of life as it might be. Baptism offers us a new way of being – one that is neither limited by nor suffers from our “created-ness.” Through baptism we no longer live according to the biological laws of nature but by relationship with God, who through the Prophet Isaiah says, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1).

That means when we pass through the waters of sorrow and difficulty God is with us. The rivers that can drown will not overwhelm us. That means when we walk through the fire of loss and calamity we are not burned. The flames that can destroy will not consume us. For he is the Lord our God, the Holy One of Israel, our Savior.

To know this, to trust this, to experience this is the gift of baptism and baptism always takes place at the border of life as it is and life as it might be. That border is the river Jordan. Geographically, symbolically, and theologically the Jordan River is the border on which baptism happens. It is the border between the wilderness and the promised land; the border between life as survival and a life that is thriving; the border between sin and forgiveness; the border between the tomb and the womb; the border between death and life. We all stand on that border at multiple points in our lives. Some of you stand there now. Some of you experience that border as a place of loss, fear, pain. For others it is a place of joy, hope, and healing. In reality it is both at the same time.

The only reason we can stand at the border of baptism is because Jesus stood there first. We stand on the very same border on which his baptism took place.

When Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

Jesus’ baptism is for our sake and salvation. His baptism makes ours possible. The water of baptism does not sanctify Jesus. Instead he sanctifies the water for our baptism. The water that once drowned is now sanctified water that gives life.

Ritually, we are baptized only once. Yet throughout our life we return to the waters of baptism. Daily we return to the baptismal waters through living our baptismal vows.

We confess our belief in God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, because God first believed in and chose us.

We continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers because the Holy Spirit has descended upon and filled us.

We persevere in resisting evil, and whenever we fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord because the heavens have been opened to us and we have seen our true home.

We proclaim by word and example the good news of God in Christ because we have heard the voice from heaven declare us beloved children in whom he is well pleased.

We seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbor as ourselves; striving for justice, peace, and dignity for every human being because that is how God has treated us and how could we do any less for another one of his children.

Sometimes our own body provides the waters of baptism, tears. St. Ephrem the Syrian spoke of our eyes as two baptismal fonts. Tears are the body’s own baptismal waters that cleanse, heal, and renew life. Other times the circumstances of life, things done and left undone by us and others, the ups and downs of living, push us back to the waters of baptism. We return in order to again be immersed into the open heavens, to be bathed by God’s breath, the Holy Spirit, and to let the name “beloved” wash over us.

There is truth is what that little boy said, “You can’t touch me. I’ve been baptized!” Do you believe that? Can you say it and claim it for yourself? “You can’t touch me. I’ve been baptized!” “You can’t touch me. I’ve been baptized!” Now go live it.

Liturgy & Commentary provided by Stephen M. Fearing, Michael K. Marsh, Karoline Lewis and Janet H. Hunt.

HYMN No. 156 “Sing of God Made Manifest”

1 Sing of God made manifest
in a child robust and blest,
to whose home in Bethlehem
where a star had guided them,
magi came and gifts unbound,
signs mysterious and profound:
myrrh and frankincense and gold
grave and God and king foretold.

2 Sing of God made manifest
when at Jordan John confessed,
“I should be baptized by you,
but your bidding I will do.”
Then from heaven a double sign—
dove-like Spirit, voice divine—
hailed the true Anointed One:
“This is my beloved Son.”

3 Sing of God made manifest
when Christ came as wedding guest
and at Cana gave a sign,
turning water into wine;
further still was love revealed
as he taught, forgave, and healed,
bringing light and life to all
who would listen to God’s call.

4 Sing of God made manifest
on the cloud-capped mountain’s crest,
where the law and prophets waned
so that Christ alone remained:
glimpse of glory, pledge of grace,
given as Jesus set his face
towards the waiting cross and grave,
sign of hope that God would save.



Hear these words from Holy Scripture: Just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body— Jews or Greeks, slaves or free— and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.


Sisters and brothers in Christ, our baptism is the sign and seal of our cleansing from sin, and of our being grafted into Christ. Through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ, the power of sin was broken and God’s kingdom entered our world. Through our baptism we were made citizens of God’s kingdom, and freed from the bondage of sin. Let us celebrate that freedom and redemption through the renewal of the promises made at our baptism. I ask you, therefore, once again to reject sin, to profess your faith in Christ Jesus, and to confess the faith of the church, the faith in which we were baptized.


Do you renounce all evil, and powers in the world which defy God’s righteousness and love?
I renounce them.
Do you renounce the ways of sin that separate you from the love of God?
I renounce them.
Do you turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as your Lord and Savior?
I do.
Will you be Christ’s faithful disciple, obeying his Word and showing his love, to your life’s end?
I will, with God’s help.


With the whole church, let us confess our faith.
Do you believe in God the Father?
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God?
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s 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.
Do you believe in God the Holy Spirit?
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. Amen.


Water is poured visibly and audibly into the font.

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
We give you thanks, Eternal God, for you nourish and sustain all living things by the gift of water. In the beginning of time, your Spirit moved over the watery chaos, calling forth order and life. In the time of Noah, you destroyed evil by the waters of the flood, giving righteousness a new beginning. You led Israel out of slavery, through the waters of the sea, into the freedom of the Promised Land. In the waters of Jordan, Jesus was baptized by John and anointed with your Spirit.

By the baptism of his own death and resurrection, Christ set us free from sin and death, and opened the way to eternal life. We thank you, O God, for the water of baptism. In it we were buried with Christ in his death. From it we were raised to share in his resurrection, through it we were reborn by the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, in joyful obedience to your Son, we celebrate our fellowship in him in faith. We pray that all who have passed through the water of baptism may continue forever in the risen life of Jesus Christ our Savior. To him, to you, and to the Holy Spirit, be all honor and glory, now and forever.


The minister may place his or her hand into the water of the font, lift up some water, let it fall back into the font, and then make the sign of the cross over the people, while saying:

Remember your baptism and be thankful.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.


The peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
And also with you.



The apostle Paul writes, “I have learned to be content with what I have. I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Let us share our gifts.



Praise God, from whom all blessing flow, Praise God, all creatures here below.  Alleluia, Alleluia Praise God in Jesus fully know; Creator, Word and Spirit one. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.


Almighty Lord, we offer our gifts in recognition that we are baptized people, transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.  So, we will hold nothing back but will share our lives, our hearts, our energies, as well as our efforts, in ministry to the world around us.  This we pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

*HYMN No.  159                    “O Sing a Song of Bethlehem”

1 O sing a song of Bethlehem,
of shepherds watching there,
and of the news that came to them
from angels in the air.
The light that shone on Bethlehem
fills all the world today.
Of Jesus’ birth and peace on earth
the angels sing alway.

2 O sing a song of Nazareth,
of sunny days of joy;
O sing of fragrant flowers’ breath,
and of the sinless boy.
For now the flowers of Nazareth
in every heart may grow.
Now spreads the fame of his dear name
on all the winds that blow.

3 O sing a song of Galilee,
of lake and woods and hill,
of him who walked upon the sea
and bade its waves be still.
For though, like waves on Galilee,
dark seas of trouble roll,
when faith has heard the Master’s word,
falls peace upon the soul.

4 O sing a song of Calvary,
its glory and dismay,
of him who hung upon the tree,
and took our sins away.
For he who died on Calvary
is risen from the grave,
and Christ, our Lord, by heaven adored,
is mighty now to save.


Go forth into the world to live as those baptized into Christ’s mission. And may the eternal light of God keep you rock-solidly immersed in the river of life in the peace and power of Holy Spirit now and forevermore. Amen.