CONFESSION AND FORGIVENESS
In the name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
As God's beloved children, let us call to mind our sin
and our need for reconciliation with God and one another.
Silence is kept for reflection.
Strong and faithful God,
we confess that we have not lived as your holy people in the world.
We have closed our hearts to your love.
We have resisted your light.
We have failed to proclaim your mercy.
Forgive what we have done and what we have left undone,
heal us with your abundant grace,
and help us walk as children of the light.
Rejoice in this good news: In ☩ Christ Jesus, your sins are forgiven.
You are descendants of the Most High, adopted into the household of Christ,
and inheritors of eternal life. Live as freed and forgiven children of God.
THE FIRST LESSON: Isaiah 43:1–7
But 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. When 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.
For 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. Because 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. Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you; I 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–everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made."
Word of God, word of life. Thanks be to God.
Ascribe to the LORD, you gods,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due God's name;
worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
The voice of the LORD is upon the waters; the God of glory thunders;
the LORD is upon the mighty waters.
The voice of the LORD is a powerful voice;
the voice of the LORD is a voice of splendor.
The voice of the LORD breaks the cedar trees;
the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon;
the LORD makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
and Mount Hermon like a young wild ox.
The voice of the LORD
bursts forth in lightning flashes.
The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness;
the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The 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!"
The LORD sits enthroned above the flood;
the LORD sits enthroned as king forevermore.
O LORD, give strength to your people;
give them, O LORD, the blessings of peace.
PRAYER OF THE DAY
Let us pray. 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.
THE GOSPEL FOR THE DAY: Luke 3:15–17, 21–22
The holy gospel according to Saint Luke. Glory to you, O Lord.
As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John 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. His 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."
Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and 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."
The gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ.
SERMON - Rev. Dr. Bob Miller