at the source of the Jordan River, photo by TCP

It’s hard to imagine Baptism of the Lord Sunday online, but many of us (not all, of course) will find ourselves looking for a way to engage in a traditionally tactile liturgy in a digital way. If you have found that our liturgical language is not quite up to the task, here are some starting places. I hope they help. Feel free to use or adapt. If you are able to give credit in video descriptions/orders of service/manuscripts, that’s great. No verbal attribution is required (and how awkward would that be, mid-video or mid-zoom? ha.).

Call to Worship by Teri Peterson
Listen up! God is calling.
Not just in the usual ways, but in the news, and the background music, and the silence.
Wherever you are: at home, at work, at school, at play…
whether those are all the same place or if they require careful planning to reach , listen.
Hear this reminder: God calls us, every one, to imitate Christ’s life.
Not just pretty words, not just for special people, not just in the perfect circumstances —
the Spirit’s voice leads us to action.
We long to encounter the Living Word,
in the sanctuary of our hearts and in the streets of our community.
Come, let us worship, and hear, and be transformed.

Confession by Teri Peterson
Life-giving God, you draw us to streams of faith
and yet we draw back from drinking
for fear of facing the truth.
Forgive us.
You call us to rivers of renewal,
and yet we will not bathe
for fear of commitment.
Forgive us.
You shower us with a flood of blessings,
yet we shield ourselves from them
for fear we need to change.
Forgive us.
Forgive us our timidity, O God.
Encourage us to face our flaws and failings
and find faith overflowing.

I write the weekly liturgy for BibleWorm as well, and this month the liturgies are free! So you can find things to go with the Narrative Lectionary (Luke’s story of JTB), including an online remembrance of baptism, on their website. As part of the affirmation of baptism, I encourage people to choose a verse of a baptism hymn that you can sing in 20-30 seconds, and then suggest that people use it while they wash their hands as a way to remember their baptism in the same way Luther did when he was bathing. Today I timed “Christ is our light” to the tune Highland Cathedral — verse 2 is a baptism verse — and it is 24 seconds. that’ll be stuck in your head now. You’re welcome.

RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back to the specific post. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com. For Worship Words, you may use or adapt what you find here, but please credit the author in printed orders of service/web publications and in public video descriptions if possible.

If you have written words for worship in this strange new world that you are willing to share, please send us an email: revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.

Teri Peterson is a minister in the Church of Scotland and a member of the Board of RevGalBlogPals. She lives in a manse with her cat, and serves a delightful congregation in a beautiful town on the west coast, and spends a lot of time looking out the window at the view….and at all the people who have suddenly taken up outdoor exercise during lockdown.

2 thoughts on “Worship words — baptism of the Lord

  1. I just went to bible worm to look at your baptism renewal. It is great! Thanks so much. I had been looking for something that would work in our current context and this is perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

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