Due to copyright limitations, we are unable to print the words to the songs.  However, our musicians have chosen music to fit the scriptures.  We invite you to look up the words in your worship book and ponder them.  If you do not have a worship book, ponder the words to one of your favourite hymns and listen for God’s voice. Those who have internet may find the songs on YouTube.


In my experience, take the Holy Spirit out of the equation of your life and it spells boring. Add it into the equation of your life and you never know where you are going to go, what you are going to do, or who you are going to meet.

~Mark Batterson


     Are you longing to hear God’s voice? What would it be like to hear God call you by name? For many it seems that God spoke to people long ago and far away, but now in this time and place God’s voice is much less clear and less audible. Perhaps we cannot hear the voice of God because our world is full of noise? Perhaps we are not open to the particular frequency in which God chooses to call us? Perhaps we continually tune out this heavenly summons with our daily rush, not taking the time to quiet ourselves, our minds, our inner voices. We can use this time after Epiphany to clear out a corner of our lives for quiet prayer, meditation, or centering. Maybe then we will be able to hear . . . to sense . . . to listen.

     The voice of God from heaven speaks a word of truth over Jesus that is spoken over all who are baptized: “You are my , the Beloved; with you I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22). Two things are made clear in this declaration. First, you are the object of God’s love; your status is that of “beloved,” which means you are dearly loved by God. You are dear to the heart of God. Second, God is well pleased with you. These declarations do not come about because of anything you do, but simply because God wants to remind you of what is already yours.

CALL TO WORSHIP – Stephen M. Fearing

We have been claimed by the God who calls us children.

We, the redeemed, have been called by name.

As with the Israelites, God promises to pass with us through the water.

We will not fear, for God is with us!

The rivers shall not overwhelm us for God is our guide and our protector.

Through God’s saving grace, the waters that tested us are now the waters that wash us and nourish us.

Great is the Fount of Every Blessing, ever flowing, ever redeeming, ever claiming us as God’s children.

Come, let us worship the God who washes us in grace.

CHILDREN’S SONG   VU 577   Peace Like A River


Almighty God, you anointed Jesus at his baptism with the Holy Spirit and revealed him as your beloved Son. Keep all who are born of water and the Spirit faithful in your service, that we may rejoice to be called children of God, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.


We are not alone; we live in God’s world.

We believe in God:  who has created and is creating, who has come in Jesus, the Word made flesh, to reconcile and make new, who works in us and others by the Spirit.

We trust in God.

We are called to be the Church:  to celebrate God’s presence, to live with respect in Creation, to love and serve others, to seek justice and resist evil, to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen, our judge and our hope.

In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us.  We are not alone.  Thanks be to God.


     When Jesus is baptized, God speaks to Jesus and says, “”You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”  Very cool.  So my question is:  how do you describe God’s voice? 

     Do you think God has a deep voice?  A medium pitched voice?  Is God’s voice loud?  Quiet?  Is God’s voice like a whisper? 

     How do we hear God’s voice?  How do we know it is God’s voice we are hearing?  Does God even speak to us anymore?

     There was a man who drove a city bus.  He was a church member of mine.  He was kind, funny and generous.  People liked him as their bus driver because he greeted them with a smile when they got on the bus, and he wished them a good day when they got off. 

     One night, as this man was driving his bus route, he noticed a young man standing on a bridge.  The bus driver had a feeling that this young man was going to hurt himself, so he stopped the bus, right there on the bridge, and went to talk to the young man. Sure enough, the young man was planning on hurting himself.  So, the bus driver invited the young man to ride on the bus and tell him what was causing to much hurt in his life.  The young man told him everything.  It took several hours.  The bus driver told the young man that he cared about what happened to him.  He said that if the young man would stay on the bus until he finished his route, he would take him out for supper and then take him somewhere so that he was safe.

     It turns out that the safe place was the home of the young man’s parents.  They, in turn, took him to the hospital to get help. 

     If you ever wonder if God speaks to us anymore, the answer is a very loud “YES!”.  That bus driver was the voice of God to the young man who wanted to hurt himself.  The bus driver told the young man he was loved, cared for by God, his family and his friends. 

     How do we know that it is the voice of God?  Is there love in the words?  When there is love, and acceptance, and forgiveness in the words, then those words are from God. 

     It doesn’t matter how young you are.  God can use you to speak God’s words of love to someone who needs to hear them.  Thanks be to God!



     According to UNICEF, more than half of the global population does not have access to safe sanitation and 2.2 billion people still lack access to safe drinking water.

     Today―Baptism of Jesus Sunday—is a good day to consider our relationship with water.

How many Bible stories do you know have to do with water? Many of us have heard the story of Moses making water flow from rock and parting the Red Sea. We may remember stories about Jesus turning water into wine, walking on water, and calming it, too. So often, water is the focal point of God’s miracles and grace. It figures prominently because it’s necessary.

     Clean water is essential to life, and yet around the world people suffer for lack of it.

     The issues are complex. Climate change is altering weather and water patterns, causing shortages and droughts in some areas and floods in others. In some parts of the world, a growing population means rising demand and there isn’t enough water to go around. Water infrastructure problems sometimes mean people can’t access water even when it is available. There are racial and gender implications to accessing water, too. Did you know that, on average, women and children in the Global South walk nearly 6 kilometres to access water and carry nearly 19 liters of water every day?

     Through Mission & Service you help provide solutions to water issues worldwide.

     Your generosity supports irrigation projects and provides accessibility to water. Your gifts help construct bore holes, wells, and rain catchment tanks, which in turn address food security and sanitation issues in communities. During crises, your gifts help deliver drinking water where it’s needed most. In the midst of the global pandemic, your support is helping to construct sanitation stations and share life-saving hygiene communications through flyers and radio programs.

     Thank you for your generosity! Together, we can build a better world. One water project at a time.


As water splashed across our face awakens us in the morn, may your Word awaken us to your presence.  Wash us in your wisdom, bathe us in your goodness, refresh us with your grace, by the power of your Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Readings and Psalm

First Reading: Isaiah 43:1-7

Near the end of Israel’s exile in Babylon, God promises to bring the people home. They need no longer be afraid, because the one who formed, created, and called them by name now redeems them from all their enemies. God declares them precious and honored, and God loves them.

1But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel:  Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. 

2When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not       overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.

3For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.  I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you. 

4Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you, I give people in return for you,
nations in exchange for your life.

5Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you; 6I will say to the north, “Give them up,” and to the south, “Do not withhold; bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the end of the earth—7everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”

Psalm 29

R:  The voice of the Lord is upon the waters. (Ps. 29:3)

1Ascribe to the Lord, you gods, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
2Ascribe to the Lord the glory due God’s name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
3The voice of the Lord is upon the waters; the God of glory thunders;
  the Lord is upon the mighty waters.
4The voice of the Lord is a powerful voice; the voice of the Lord is a voice of splendor. R
5The voice of the Lord breaks the cedar trees; the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon;
6the Lord makes Lebanon skip like a calf, and Mount Hermon like a young wild ox.
7The voice of the Lord bursts forth in lightning flashes.
8The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. R
9The voice of the Lord makes the oak trees writhe and strips the forests bare.
  And in the temple of the Lord all are crying, “Glory!”
10The Lord sits enthroned above the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king forevermore.
11O Lord, give strength to your people; give them, O Lord, the blessings of peace. R

Second Reading: Acts 8:14-17

Peter and John are sent to support the new Christians in Samaria, a group that was recently baptized after hearing the good news of Christ through the preaching of Philip. Here the Samaritans receive the gift of the Holy Spirit in the laying on of hands.

14Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15The two went down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit 16(for as yet the Spirit had not come upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus). 17Then Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

Gospel: Luke 3:15-22

The reading opens with questions about the identity of the Messiah. John the Baptist insists that he is not the Messiah; instead he points ahead to one who is coming. And whether the voice of God was heard by all or only by Jesus, God settles the matter: Jesus is God’s beloved Son.

     15As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, 16John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

     18So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people. 19But Herod the ruler, who had been rebuked by him because of Herodias, his brother’s wife, and because of all the evil things that Herod had done, 20added to them all by shutting up John in prison.

     21Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, 22and 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.”

SONG  VU 375   Spirit Of Gentleness


I give thanks to Pastor David Lose for his words, which inspired my own.

Jesus’ baptism was actually quite scandalous. You can appreciate the logic. If baptism is for the forgiveness of sin… and we confess Jesus was sinless… then why was Jesus baptized? Or, worse, are we contradicting ourselves: is baptism not about forgiveness, or was Jesus not sinless?

That uncertainty, combined with a similar uncertainty about the character of John the Baptist, leads to some interesting variations in the baptismal stories. John also had disciples and was a revered teacher, but he won’t be seen as having authority over Jesus even though he’s the one doing the baptizing.  All the Gospels report John declaring Jesus’ superiority and make clear that John is more or less the facilitator of the baptism while the Holy Spirit is the true agent. The writer of John’s gospel goes even further and doesn’t even record John as baptizing Jesus, or even acknowledging directly that Jesus was baptized, but rather as only having witnessed the Spirit descending upon Jesus. Luke, in today’s passage, takes a middle road. John is baptizing and Jesus is baptized, but it all feels rather passive: “Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying….”  Yet here, Luke has interspersed John’s active baptizing and Jesus’ more passive baptism with the report of John’s future imprisonment by Herod, distancing John from the scene further.

One gets the sense that the early church, including the Evangelists, weren’t quite sure what to make of baptism and found what we call “the Baptism of our Lord” at the very least uncomfortable, perhaps confusing, and possibly quite scandalous.

But I wonder if they – and by extension we – have it all a bit backwards. Looking at this situation from a different perspective, rather than be shocked that Jesus is baptized like we are, maybe we should be surprised, shocked, scandalized, and even stunned by the fact that we are baptized like Jesus is!

A lot of the issue, for many, revolves around forgiveness and its connection to baptism. Baptism is about forgiveness.  Forgiveness is something we need. So we need Baptism. This much seems clear.  However, if Jesus doesn’t need forgiveness, then he doesn’t need to be baptized.  So, why is Jesus baptized?

Maybe we’ve misunderstood forgiveness a bit… and therefore the relationship between forgiveness and baptism… and therefore baptism itself.

Yes, baptism is about forgiveness. AND, it’s also about relationship, about being named and claimed as children of God. I wonder if there isn’t a tendency to think of forgiveness as a procedure rather than a result, a gift. That is, we can easily slip into thinking that God forgives us in order that we can be named, claimed, and called God’s children. But I don’t believe that’s accurate at all. God forgives us not to make us God’s children but because we already are God’s children. Forgiveness is a result of God’s love for us, not a condition of that love. Forgiveness is the gift of a loving God and a result of that love, not a procedure by which to achieve it.

This confusion isn’t linked only to forgiveness and baptism. We often make the same mistake when it comes to God’s law. God gives Israel (and by extension us) the Commandments in order that all can improve their behavior and, ultimately, their relationships, and therefore, become God’s people.  Nope.  Read the story carefully. God makes the promise of covenant and Israel enthusiastically accepts this promise in chapter 19 of Exodus.  The Commandments are given in chapter 20. God doesn’t give Israel/us the law in order for us to become God’s children, but because we already are God’s children!   The Commandments are gift, not procedure.

Yes, Baptism is about forgiveness. And, forgiveness is not a procedure.  It is a gift. We aren’t forgiven in Baptism in order that God can call us God’s children.  Rather we are forgiven because we already are God’s children. So, yes, baptism is about forgiveness. It’s also about so much more! It’s about love, identity, affirmation, commitment, promise, and still more. In Baptism God proclaims God’s great love for us; calls, names, and claims us as God’s beloved children; gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit;…and then, because of God’s love for us, God also promises to forgive, renew, and restore us at all times.

Which is why I think that what ought to surprise us is not that Jesus is baptized like we are, but rather that we get to be baptized – and therefore named as beloved child – just like Jesus is.

In my first parish, I had the privilege of meeting Lorne.  Lorne was dying of liver cancer.  Although he was weak, and extremely thin, Lorne always had a smile and retained his wonderful sense of humour!  He and his wife, Marion, lived in what had been Kinistino’s one-room school house.  Lorne’s bedroom took in the space where the teacher’s desk used to be.  As he was lying in bed he said to me, “Yep, I spent most of my time at school standing in THAT corner!”

Marion called me one morning asking me to come over immediately.  Lorne was very upset about something and would not tell her what it was.  It had been going on for a week.  Would I please come? 

What was bothering Lorne was the fact that he could not remember if he had been baptized.  The old Lutheran church had burned down, and along with it, all the church records.  He knew in his heart that his death was not far off, and was scared that he would die without being baptized.  Would I please baptize him?!

Before I did, I wanted to know what was behind the fear.  Lorne was afraid that he would go to hell if he died without being baptized.  Before I baptized this man, we had a good conversation about the love and grace of God.  I wanted Lorne to understand that he was already embraced in God’s love.  The more we talked, the calmer he became.  We were sitting at the kitchen table.  The only item Marion could find to hold water in the moment was an empty margarine container.  I said that would work.  There, with his wife as his sponsor, I baptized Lorne at his kitchen table.  Then I helped him back into bed.

I was away at a Rural Ministry conference in Iowa that next week when Lorne died.  Marion managed to get a hold of me at the seminary dorm.  She said that after I had baptized Lorne, he became very peace-filled.  It was a matter of days when he slipped into a coma and died.  Marion said that Lorne had told her he no longer had any fear.

Was it our conversation that removed his fear, or was it his Baptism?  Or both?  Does it even matter?  What does matter is that Lorne heard God speaking to him and believed what he heard.

At his Baptism, Jesus hears God say these unbelievably important words of love, affirmation and identity: “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”  The incredible, shocking and unexpected thing is that in our Baptism, we hear the same thing: “You are my child, my beloved, and with you I am well pleased.”

Those words – “you are my beloved child” – still have the power to change lives.   They changed Lorne’s life.  They have changed mine.  May the words of God’s grace change your lives as well.   Amen.

HYMN OF THE MONTH: MV 172   God Says


The Spirit of the Lord is poured out upon us in abundance; so we are bold to pray for the church, the world, and all that God has made.

By the Holy Spirit, you gather your church and send it out in mission to share the good news of Jesus. Inspire your faithful people to be fervent in prayer and service, that all people know they are precious in God’s sight.

God of grace,

hear our prayer.

You reveal your love and power through water and the Spirit. Guard rivers, seas, and all bodies of water from destruction and pollution. Secure access to clean water for all, and protect the land from drought and flood.

God of grace,

hear our prayer.

Establish among the nations the blessings of peace. Raise up leaders who will protect vulnerable people in their care. Strengthen advocates who risk reputation or retaliation for the sake of mercy and justice.

God of grace,

hear our prayer.

You protect us through the fires and troubled waters of this life. Assure us that we will not be cut off from you by illness or despair, anxiety or pain, confusion or weakness. Comfort all who are in need especially Douglas Pearson, Tracy Skoglund, Kathryn Janke Schmidt, Brooke Alexiuk, Dwayne, Mike Froese, the people of BC.

God of grace,

hear our prayer.

We are joined in baptism to Christ and to one another. Bless those who are newly baptized and those who are preparing for baptism. Help us to be faithful in fellowship, worship, evangelism, service, and justice-seeking.

God of grace,

hear our prayer.

You created each of your saints for your glory. We give thanks for those you have called by name into your eternal embrace. Comfort us in grief and release us from fear.

God of grace,

hear our prayer.

Since we have such great hope in your promises, O God, we lift these and all of our prayers to you in confidence and faith; through Jesus Christ our Savior.



SENDING SONG  WOV 690   Shall We Gather At The River  


God, who leads you in pathways of righteousness, who rejoices over you, and who calls you by name,

☩ bless your going out and your coming in, today and forever.




Go with Christ into a weary world.  Share the good news.

Thanks be to God.





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