Home Service for 10th January ’20

Prayers of Approach and Thanksgiving

Jesus, we gather to meet you
in word, in spirit and in community.
Gather us, inspire us,
be present to us in our worship,
and send us out to see you at work
in the world around us.

Come, let us honour the powerful glory of our Creator God.
Let us worship God’s majesty in the splendour of holiness.

Lord God, giver of light and life,
by your word you bring everything into being –
the far-flung galaxies and the tiniest atomic particle.
You have given us a world to enjoy and to care for.
Give us compassion in the use of its resources,
wisdom in our stewardship of your gifts,
and reverence for all that you have made –
for Jesus’ sake.

Loving God,
we thank you for John the Baptist
whose voice spoke truth;
for the voice at Jesus’ baptism
which spoke of delight;
and for Jesus himself
whose voice calls us to follow him to new beginnings.

Music: God who spoke in the beginning (R&S 60)

Readings: Genesis 1:1-5

                  Mark 1:1-11

Introduction: Beginnings

‘In the beginning God created…’ familiar words at the very start of the story of God’s relationship with humankind. Mark’s Gospel also starts at the beginning, ‘The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.’ We too are at a beginning, the beginning of a new year, and just as the Holy Spirit was present in the act of creation and at Jesus’ baptism the Spirit is with us as we face the future and the challenges that lie ahead.

Music: Spirit of the living God (R&S 308)


Have you made any New Year resolutions? Many people take the opportunity to make a new start at the beginning of the year, to leave something behind or to start something new. The creation is a new beginning for God, it is the moment when he can look at what he has made, separate from himself, and declare that it is good. The baptism of Jesus is also a moment of new beginning, a moment when the separation of heaven and earth, of God and humankind, is ended.

John the Baptist had come to announce this change of relationship and to prepare people for it. He urged them to repent, to turn away from their sins, be baptized and make a new start. Jesus too came to be baptized. Although Jesus has no need to repent nonetheless this marks a new stage in his life too. He is leaving his previous life behind to embark on his active ministry and at his baptism this ministry is inaugurated in an amazing and unprecedented way. The perceived barrier between heaven and earth was torn apart as God’s spirit broke through and descended on Jesus like a dove as a voice declared, ‘you are my son…’. The world is changed, and God is with his people.

This gift of the Spirit was an explosive start to Jesus’ ministry, confirming his identity and enabling him to preach and teach and challenge injustice wherever he found it. The same Spirit urges us still today to speak out and reach out to our communities and to the world. This morning some people will share in the Methodist Covenant service which begins the new year with a renewal of total commitment to God, making the declaration, ‘I am no longer my own, but yours’. They are words which are easy to say but like many new year’s resolutions, are hard to live up to. How can we live up to them and what changes might we need to make in our lives to enable us to do so?

John urged people to repent but the Greek word, metanoia, which is used implies so much more. Repentance seems to encourage people to focus more on what has gone wrong in the past rather than what could go better in the future. Metanoia invites us to look towards a new future where old mistakes are left behind and new possibilities open up. Even in these difficult times, as we enter another lockdown, we can still make a new start and look to a better future confident that God’s Spirit is with us and will strengthen and encourage us. So can we, as part of God’s new creation, go on with steady, patient commitment, as we wait to see what God is going to do?

Music: I am a new creation

Prayers of Intercession

Lord, who created order from the chaos,
bring light to darkness.
Lord, hear our prayer.

In places of war and conflict, where there is famine and suffering,
where we struggle to see how we can make a difference,
bring light to darkness.
Lord, hear our prayer.

In our own communities, for those who are poor,
for the homeless and hungry,
for the lonely and the prisoner,
bring light to darkness.
Lord, hear our prayer.

In those whose lives are made harder by illness …,
and those who search for peace and cannot find it,
bring light to darkness.
Lord, hear our prayer.

In the lives of those who are grieving …,
bring light to darkness.
Lord, hear our prayer.

In the lives of those we live with,
those we work with and those we play with,
and for ourselves, bring light to darkness.
Lord, hear our prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer

Music: O Lord all the world belongs to you (R&S 90)


May the God of new beginnings
give you courage to face each new challenge,
joy in each new day,
and companions to journey with you through this new week.

Rev. Janet Calderley

Prayers copyright ROOTS for churches. Used by permission

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