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Well Pleased

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Psalter

Psalm 29 NRSV
A Psalm of David. 1 Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. 2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name; worship the Lord in holy splendor. 3 The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over mighty waters. 4 The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty. 5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon. 6 He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox. 7 The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire. 8 The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. 9 The voice of the Lord causes the oaks to whirl, and strips the forest bare; and in his temple all say, “Glory!” 10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king forever. 11 May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!

Opening Prayer

O God, who through your only-begotten Son has poured out, under the sign of water, the grace which leads to salvation; O You who came upon him in the Spirit under the sign of a dove: Grant to your church on earth a blessing which will keep it safe, direct the paths of all who follow you, an dopen the gates of heaven to all who are seeking to enter; Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

Pastoral Prayer

Almighty and loving God, you care for us so much that you sent your only-begotten Son to be your servant among us. You poured out your Spirit upon him that he might bring justice to us all. We sing the glory of your Name, and we worship you in all your holy splendor.
We have been called to be your people, not because we are part of the people of Israel, but by your grace communicated to us in baptism. Yet, we so easily forget that we are baptized; we shirk the responsibilities that come with the status of being heirs of your kingdom. We fail to reach out in compassion to those who need our help. Where we have dishonored your grace and have sinned against you and one another, forgive us, O Lord, and count us as righteous.
As you poured out your Spirit upon Jesus at his baptism, so pour out upon us this day, that we may be a light to the nations. Empower us to open eyes that are blind to your majesty; give us strength to bring out those who are prisoners in the darkness of a life lived apart from you.
Count as your beloved those we have named in our hearts. Bring wholeness to those who suffer from any kind of infirmity, that they and we may give you thanks and praise at its conclusion.
You have confirmed Jesus as your Son, your Beloved, and in his name we offer these prayers. Answer us as you love us, through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord. Amen.
Matthew 3:13–17 NRSV
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16 And when Jesus had been baptized, 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. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”
Matthew 3:

Introduction

A brief understanding of Baptism in the United Methodist context:
Sacrament - the presence of the Holy Spirit
Infant baptism/prevenient grace

1. In his baptism, Jesus identifies with us.

Hebrews 4:15 NRSV
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin.

2. In our baptism, we identify with Jesus.

Acts 19:4 NRSV
Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.”

3. Baptism is ultimately the work of God.

Colossians 2:12 NRSV
when you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.

Benediction

Go forth joyfully. God is with you. Bring peace and hope to all you meet. And may God’s eternal love shine through you always. Amen.
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