Sun 10/1/21

Broadcast and Live-streamed Opportunities for Worship

8.10 am Radio 4 Sunday Worship considers how faith can partner with conservation movements
9.00 am  The Church of England on-line Service is a Plough Service from The Octagon Parishes available from 9.00 am at: 
9.30 am a more modern style of worship is available from Christ Church Gipsy Hill at: Christ Church Gipsy Hill - Home | Facebook
10.00 am  The Cathedral Eucharist is available from 10.00 am at: Chester Cathedral - YouTube
The Prayer Book Society continues to offer a wide variety of Book of Common Prayer worship which can be found at: Online streaming of BCP services - The Prayer Book Society (
Alan Hewitt, Churchwarden at St Mark's Dunham Town, has sent a Plough Service which he and his wife Carolyn recorded on their farm at Dunham Massey earlier this week.  If you would like to ue this, it can be found at: St Margaret’s & St Mark’s Services – St Margaret's & St Mark's Churches (

A Service of the Word 

Also for use on Zoom. Hymns link at bottom of page.



Leader   We come from scattered lives to meet with God. Let us recognise his presence with us.


Leader   As God’s people we have gathered:

All          Let us worship him together.


All          Lord, direct our hearts, and teach us to pray.  Lift up our hearts to worship you in spirit and truth, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.


HYMN    Thou whose almighty word



Leader   The grace of God has dawned upon the world with healing for all.
Let us come to him, in sorrow for our sins,
seeking healing and salvation.


All          Lord our God,
              in our sin we have avoided your call.
              Our love for you is like a morning cloud,
              like dew that goes away early.
              Have mercy on us;
              deliver us from judgement;
              bind up our wounds and revive us;
              in Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Leader   May the God of love
bring you back to himself,
forgive you your sins,
and assure you of his eternal love
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

All          Amen.

Psalm 29 – From Engage Worship


Reading        Genesis 1: 1 - 5


The Jubilate

O be joyful in the Lord, all the earth;
serve the Lord with gladness
and come before his presence with 
a song.

Know that the Lord is God;
it is he who has made us and we are his
we are his people and the sheep of
his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and bless his name.

For the Lord is gracious;
his steadfast love is everlasting
and his faithfulness endures from
generation to generation.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever.  Amen.

Hymn            When Jesus came to be baptised


Reading       Mark 1: 4 - 11


A Sermon for the Baptism of Christ

Genesis 1: 1 – 5; Mark 1: 4 – 11


In the beginning… darkness covered the face the deep…  At the second new beginning, as we were reminded so powerfully over Christmas, there was darkness.  

At the beginning of Genesis; the beginning of all things; the first thing which God created was light.  At the second new beginning, the first thing John records in his Gospel is that light shone in the darkness.

Yet darkness continues to hover over the world.  The dark shadow of COVID-19 is deepening again.  That proud democracy, America, is experiencing what can only be described as an insurrection against democracy; unemployment and homelessness continue to rise; conflict continues to destroy Syria and Yemen, 

It may be 2021, but once again darkness covers the face of the world.  Where is the light shining in our darkness?  What has happened to the people that Isaiah tells us once walked in the darkness, but have seen a great light?  Are we, like John the Baptist, crying in the wilderness of darkness and will anyone hear?

We need to look further into those few, powerful verses from Genesis, to discover that a wind from God swept over the waters. God spoke, and there was light.  We need to remember that at the second new beginning the light shone in the darkness,.  Light which the darkness will never overcome.

At the creation of the world, and at the new beginning when Jesus’ came into the world, light shone in the darkness, and nothing has overcome the darkness.

We need to notice, too, the other chaotic element which existed before God spoke light into being.  The Message translation of the Bible calls it the soup of nothingness. Water.  That very foundation of life itself. 

At the beginning of Mark’s Gospel, we also have water at the start of the new beginning.  Typically Mark is in a hurry. He doesn’t have time to retell creation.  He doesn’t even tell us that Jesus has been born.  Instead, we begin with; the voice of John the Baptist crying in the darkness of the wilderness, and water.  The water of baptism.  The water of our own new beginnings at our own baptisms.

Water and light are essential to the beginning of the world.  They were essential to the new beginning at the birth of Jesus.  They are essential to our own Christian beginning.  That is why both feature prominently in any baptism service with the water of baptism in the font and the lighting of a candle reminding us that the light continues to shine in the darkness.

Today, we remember Jesus’ baptism in the River Jordan.  That raises lots of questions.  If Jesus is without sin, why did he travel the 50 – 60 miles from Galilee to be baptised by John who was calling people to turn away from sin?  

Sin is a kind of darkness.  The darkness which the light shone into when Jesus was born. The darkness which can never overcome light.  In his baptism, Jesus identifies with the people who are walking through the darkness of sin.  He allows his light to shine into the darkness reminding us that even the worst effects of humanity’s wrong doing can never put the light of Jesus out.

It might help us further, as John Pritchard reminds us in his commentary, that today the lower reaches of the River Jordan where Jesus was baptised is little more than an open sewer.  In his baptism, Jesus entered fully into the worst of humanity’s mess and transformed it into new life.

So how can all this help us, as we continue to live with the very worst of the darkness humanity’s mess has created?  The mess I mentioned at the beginning is, after all, the result of humanity’s mess.  

Today, in Jesus’ baptism, we are reminded again, what we remembered a couple of weeks ago; that Jesus has entered the mess of our world.  His light still shines and nothing can overcome it.

The Spirt of God still hovers over his creation.  If God could create the world out of nothing, he can also heal the world of the darkness of the chaos in which we live.  However chaotic is seems to us.  Through Jesus, he already has.  

S Anne Lawson
Jan 2021

Hymn           God is our strength and refuge


Statement of Faith

Leader   Let us affirm our faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God.


All          Though he was divine,
he did not cling to equality with God,
but made himself nothing.
Taking the form of a slave,
he was born in human likeness.
He humbled himself
and was obedient to death,
even death on the cross.
Therefore God has raised him on high,
and given him the name above every name:
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bow,
and every voice proclaim that
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.  Amen.


Prayers of Intercession

Leader   Jesus call 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 called us.

Leader   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,

All          Hear our prayer.

Leader   Lord Jesus, baptising with Spirit and with fire,
strengthen us to withstand all the trials of our faith.
Lord of truth,

All          Hear our prayer.

Leader   Lord Jesus, bringing forgiveness to all who repent, teach your Church dependence on your grace.
Lord of truth,

All          Hear our prayer.

Leader   Lord Jesus, fulfilment of the promises of old,
give hope to all who suffer or are ignored.
Lord of truth

All          Hear our prayer.

Leader   Lord Jesus, beloved Son of the Father,
anoint us with the gifts of your Holy Spirit.
Lord of truth,

All          Hear our prayer.

Leader   Lord Jesus, bringer of hope,
share with all the faithful the riches of eternal life.
Lord of truth,

All          Hear our prayer.

All          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.  Amen

The Collect for the Baptism of Christ

Leader   Eternal Father,
              who at the baptism of Jesus
              revealed him to be your Son,
              anointing him with your 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 our Lord.

All          Amen

Leader   Believing the promises of God, 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.



Hymn    Lord, the light of your love is shining 


Closing Prayer

All   God of power,
may the boldness of your Spirit                  
transform us,
may the gentleness of your Spirit lead us,
may the gifts of your spirit equip us to
serve and worship you
now and always.  Amen.