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URC Daily Devotions Worship for Sunday 10th January 2021
The Rev’d Memona Shahbaz
Opening Music- Nun Komm Der Heiden Heiland (“Now the Gentile saviour comes”) by Johann Sebastian Bach
Good morning church, peace be with you. My name is Revd Memona Shahbaz and I am serving Lord our God in Eastbourne, in East Team which consists of five Local Ecumenical Partnership churches. We are working in a team of three ministers.
Eastbourne is a beautiful place, full of eye-catching sceneries. I am fortunate to have an amazing church family. I am originally from Pakistan. This is my first ministry and I am very grateful to God that he chose me and brought me here in Eastbourne to serve Him with enthusiastic, dedicated and devoted labourers. My dear brothers and sisters, this morning, t’s a great privilege to worship God together as a family with you all. Let us worship God with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our strength and mind.
Call to Worship
Come and see the grace of God, Christ our teacher and our friend. Come and see the son of God, Christ our healer and salvation. God is moving in this place. Come and see! Come and see.
Summoned by the God who made us, rich in our diversity, gathered in the name of Jesus, richer still in unity:
Let us bring the gifts that differ And, in splendid, varied ways, Sing a new Church into being, one of faith and love and praise
2: Radiant risen from the water; robed in holiness and light, male and female in God’s image male and female God’s delight:
3: Trust the goodness of creation; Trust the Spirit strong within. Dare to dream the vision promised Sprung from seed of what has been.
4: Bring the hopes of every nation; Bring the art of every race. Weave a song of peace and justice: Let it sound through time and space.
5: Draw together at one table All the human family; shape a circle ever wider and a people ever free.
Prayers of Approach, Confession and Forgiveness
Father, we come to you, as a family with Jesus, the son of your love, who confirmed himself our brother through his baptism, and took upon himself the burden of our guilt, so that we might know ourselves forgiven and come to you with confidence as children with a loving Father. We come holding our elder brother’s hand, like children who have been frightened, threatened, or lost in the dark, to the peace and security of our Father’s love, which we will share with Jesus Christ our Lord for ever.
Forgive us, great God, for all our self-righteousness, all our condemnation of others, all our selfish exploitation of each other for emotional or material gain. Out of your immense resources of grace and kindness, go on giving us the hope that we will at last be brought to the perfect obedience of Jesus and that you will receive us with him, and rejoice with us in eternal gladness. Lord we adore you and praise you; we bring our praises in the name of Jesus. He demonstrated your merciful love and your gentle touch upon our lives. We praise you for the way he identified himself with us. We praise you for accepting his sacrifice on the cross as the price of the healing of our relationship with you. By your grace and mercy, enable us and empower us, that we shall be with you and praise you for ever in Christ. Amen
Prayer of Illumination
Let us pray together, “Almighty God we are thankful to you for your Word, which is alive and active, sweeter than honey and a lamp to guide our feet and a light for our path. Help us to lead our lives according to your word. Amen.
St Matthew 3:13-17
Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfil all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptised, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”
St Mark 1:9-11
“In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And 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. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
Hymn All to Jesus I surrender Judson W. Van De Venter (1896)
All to Jesus I surrender, All to Thee I freely give; I will ever love and trust You, In Your presence daily live.
I surrender all, I surrender all. All to Thee, my blessed Saviour, I surrender all.
2: All to Jesus I surrender, Lord, I give myself to Thee; Fill me with Your love and power, Let Your blessing fall on me.
3: All to Jesus I surrender, Now I feel the sacred flame. Oh, the joy of full salvation! Glory, glory to Your name!
May the words of my mouth and meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord my God and my redeemer. Amen.
Today we will learn together about the baptism of Jesus Christ. It is mentioned in all four gospels. Mark starts his gospel with a scene where John the Baptist appears in the wilderness, with his proclamation of the greater one. He is a forerunner and road maker for Jesus and he urges people to repent. According to Mark while John was baptising people, Jesus came from Nazareth into Galilee and was baptised by John in the river Jordon. Interestingly Mark does not record any conversation between Jesus and John but he does mention of John confirming that, “after me will come one more powerful than I and he will baptised you with the Holy Spirit. Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptised by John in the Jordon. Mark does not give the reason for this act. It was not off course through any consciousness of sin, but according to Matthew 3:15 through a desire to “Fulfil all righteousness”
Dear friends, many people get into arguments why Jesus had to be baptised? And in response to the question different answers are given and I would not get into this debate now. For me the most important is what happened at the time of baptism. It is very clear in the all four gospels that Lord Jesus Christ was baptized by John the baptizer. John the Baptist was a remarkable man and Jesus himself said in, “There is no one greater than John the Baptist.” What a great statement from Lord Jesus? His message was brief, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near.” John was preaching in the valley of Jorden, so many people out of Judea and Jerusalem were coming to him. He was preaching repentance and the confession of sin. He was well known in the Israel. His ministry of baptizing the people was very unique. His ministry is as Isaiah’s, “Voice in the wilderness.”
It is very strange for the people to know that why John baptised Jesus, as it was the baptism of repentance. It is in all four Gospels. Many scholars said differently, but surely John knew Jesus and according to Matthew 3:14, John said to Jesus, “I have need to be baptised by you and you come to me?” John knew Jesus very well. This is not the first time he sees Jesus. Earlier he was standing with some of his disciples and when he saw Jesus and said, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away sin of the whole world, “John 1:29.” He knew that Jesus was the Messiah, the saviour and he was actually proclaiming
Jesus. John’s attitude with Jesus is opposite of his attitude with the Pharisees and Sadducees. He said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come.” he told them to repent first and then he will baptize them. He refused to baptize them because of their sin and impenitence. He refused to baptized Jesus because he was sinless. He said, “I need to be baptised by you and you are coming to me?” But Jesus said, “permit it to be now, it is proper for us to do this to fulfil all righteousness.”
John baptized Jesus, he understood Jesus so he also said, “You must increase and I must decrease.” According to the Synoptic gospels at the time of Jesus Baptism three things happened;
1. As Jesus was coming up out of the water he saw the heavens torn apart
2. The Holy Spirit descending like a dove on him. Isaiah 11:2, says about the coming Messiah, The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him.
3. A voice came from heaven, you are my son the beloved, with you I am well pleased.
Dear friends; this is one of the great Trinitarian passage of the New Testament. Here the Spirit and the father both bear witness of the son. At the baptism of Jesus all three persons of the Trinity are involved which makes it a very unique moment.
Notice that father speaking, Son being baptised and the Holy Spirit descending on the son. Dear brothers and sisters at the time of baptism of Jesus we see an affirmation by God that Jesus is his son. The voice from heaven does not interpret Jesus baptism; it was a voice of declaration, who was Jesus?
The baptism of Jesus shows the double attestation by the Spirit and heavenly voice that Jesus is son of God with whom the father is well pleased. Why Father was pleased at this stage when Jesus did not start his earthly ministry? Philippians 2:5-7 says, He left the heaven and became human being, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on the cross! So God has also highly exalted him and given him the name which is above every name.”
He was baptized to identify himself with us. 2-Cor 5:21, “He made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in him.” 1-Peter 3:18, “Christ suffered and died for us, just for the unjust.” My dear brothers and sisters at the beginning of the Jesus’ earthly ministry, Father was pleased with Jesus and at the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry, Jesus took Peter, James and John and went to the mountain to pray and at the event of Transfiguration they saw Elijah and Moses with Jesus and a voice came from the cloud saying, “This is my beloved Son, hear Him.” My dear brothers and sisters, what we are doing to please Him or in other words what we can do to please him? In my opinion, Jesus Christ fulfilled His mission and before he was ascended into heaven he gave us, a great commission, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” We have our mission to be completed. We need to be very brave and courageous to fulfil our commission, because Jesus promised with us that he is always with us to the very end of the age. We need to work hard and use our talents and gifts for the extension of his kingdom so we could hear from him, “Well done good and faithful servant.” May God give us his wisdom to work as His faithful servant or labourers. Amen
HymnHoly, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty
Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty! Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee. Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty! God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!
2 Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore thee, casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea; cherubim and seraphim falling down before thee, which wert, and art, and evermore shalt be.
3 Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide thee, though the eye of sinful folk thy glory may not see, only thou art holy; there is none beside thee perfect in pow’r, in love, and purity.
4 Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty! All thy works shall praise thy name in earth and sky and sea. Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty! God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!
Affirmation of Faith
In Jesus of Nazareth,true humanity was realized once for all. Jesus, a Palestinian Jew, lived among his own people and shared their needs, temptations, joys, and sorrows. He expressed the love of God in word and deed and became a brother to all kinds of sinful men and women. But his complete obedience led him into conflict with his people. His life and teaching judged their goodness, religious aspirations, and national hopes. Many rejected him and demanded his death. In giving himself freely for them, he took upon himself the judgment under which everyone stands convicted. God raised him from the dead,vindicating him as Messiah and Lord. The victim of sin became victor, and won the victory over sin and death for all.
Father, we pray for all the people in the world who are despised, rejected or discriminated against, because of their race, creed or colour. We pray especially, for those against whom we bar the gates of love and acceptance; from whom we hold back the good news of your forgiveness. (pause) The Lord hears our prayers.
We pray for the whole Church, which you called into being though your Son. We ask you that by your Holy Spirit your church may be renewed and empowered for the task for which you gave it life. (pause) The Lord hears our prayers.
We pray Father, that we all Christians may be ready for any sacrifice, any action and declaration that will clearly demonstrate faith, hope and love to our neighbour, our family and friends and those we meet on the journey of life each day. (pause) The Lord hears our prayers.
We pray to you Father give justice to those who suffer for their belief and who are persecuted. We pray who are exploited or enslaved at work or in the home, that their cries may be heard. We pray for nations and societies across the world, and for our own, for national and local government, that those who rule may serve with wisdom and integrity for communities, that they may seek the common good. (pause) The Lord hears our prayers.
God of peace and comfort as this time is uncertain and stressful, many people are anxious and fearful, give us strength and lift us up that we may find comfort in you. Give hope to us all, especially who are ill and suffering with life threatening health issues. Be with them who are alone and in self-isolation and under any treatment. We pray for the World Health Organisation and all key workers, who are helping others. We also pray for the scientists who are working hard for making the vaccination, guide them and give them your wisdom. We also pray for all leaders and politicians around the globe, to give them wisdom to make good strategies and plans for the good of all. (pause) The Lord hears our prayers.
We pray for the earth itself, polluted and despoiled, that the fragile balance of the natural order may be respected, it beauty and variety preserved, and greed and selfish gain be put aside, that harmony may be restored between ourselves and our environment. Help us to remember that you have appointed u as the steward of this earth. (pause) The Lord hears our prayers.
In this moment of silence we bring forth all the desires of our hearts……
We ask all this in Jesus precious name and pray as He taught us saying
Hymn:What a friend we have in Jesus Joseph Medlicott Scriven (1855)
What a Friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer!
2 Are we weak and heavy-laden, Cumbered with a load of care? Precious Saviour, still our refuge— Take it to the Lord in prayer; Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer; In His arms He’ll take and shield thee, Thou wilt find a solace there.
The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace. Amen!
Thanks to: Christine and David Shimmin, Alison Jiggins, John Young, Marion Thomas, Anne Hewling, Christopher Whitehead, Ray Fraser, Carys and Lythan Nevard for reading various spoken parts of the service.
Where words are copyright reproduced under the terms of Barrhead URC’s CCLI licence number 1064776, Some material reprinted, and streamed, with permission under ONE LICENSE A-734713 All rights reserved. PRS Limited Online Music Licence LE-0019762