Written Service -The Baptism of Christ

Welcome to today’s service, The Baptism of Christ, which is led by Rev Dr Mattijs Ploeger with prayers from our intercessions team and links to the anthem and hymn.


Opening Prayer

Eternal Father,
who at the baptism of Jesus
revealed him to be your Son,
anointing him with the Holy Spirit:
grant to us, who are born again by water and the Spirit,
that we may be faithful to our calling as your adopted children;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.



Genesis 1: 1-5
Acts 19: 1-7
Mark 1: 4-11


The Sermon

On this Sunday we continue to celebrate the extended feast of Epiphany. Epiphany means ‘revelation’. It is the feast on which Jesus is revealed as the One who he truly is.

Today, the gospel story which reveals (‘epiphanises’) an aspect of Jesus’s true identity, is the story about his baptism in the river Jordan by John the Baptist. Why is this one of the classical readings for Epiphany? Because in this reading Jesus is revealed to be the Son of God and the bearer of the Holy Spirit. The story is at once an epiphany of Jesus and an epiphany of the Trinity: we hear God the Father’s voice, we see the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, and we see Jesus who is declared (by God’s voice from heaven) to be the Son of God.

In the gospels, the baptism of Christ marks the beginning of his public ministry. This is also the case in the liturgical year. From now on, we will follow Jesus – through his earthly ministry (words of wisdom and signs of the kingdom); through his rejection, suffering and death; through his resurrection, ascension and sending of the Spirit; through his reigning at the right hand of God to the expectation of his coming again. And unlike Jesus’s contemporaries (including even the apostles), who struggled to get to know the real meaning of Jesus’s existence and work, we have from the outset (from the feast of Epiphany onwards) received the privilege to know who he is. He is the Son of God, and he is the One in whom the Spirit shows himself most definitely. From now on, we cannot say any longer, that we don’t know who and how God is.

All the difficulties and/or limitations of our life under Covid do not change one thing: the fact that the liturgical year continues to reveal to us who and how God is, and that we are invited to share in God’s life. Having become partakers of Christ’s death and resurrection in our own baptism, we are no longer bystanders. Even if we temporarily cannot go to church and receive the sacraments, we are members of God’s household. Let us be comforted – and let us comfort each other – by this very fact: that God has made himself known (‘epiphanised’ himself) to us, and wants us to stay close to him.



Everlasting God, we give thanks for this new day and as we focus on the Baptism of our Lord, let us remember our own Baptisms and our calling to be Christians. May we be filled with such joy as we believe in you that our hearts overflow with love for you and for all who we meet along our journey. May we walk in your way, live our life for you and be mindful of your presence day by day.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Creator God, we remember all countries where there is war or conflict and pray that you will look mercifully upon the sufferings of the people involved. At this time, we pray for the peaceful transition of power in the United States.

We pray for our Queen and Government, for the King and Government of The Netherlands and the leaders in the rest of the world. Sharpen their consciences and give them the courage to make wise decisions, making wrongs right and meeting the needs of all who suffer especially as the Pandemic continues worldwide.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Father God, we pray today for our friends, our families and our Christian community, that united in faith we may always welcome the newcomer, the stranger and all who are vulnerable.

We also remember today all involved in education as they are unable to return to schools and universities during the lockdown. Help teachers to be creative in finding ways to stimulate their pupils and students via modern technology. We pray for parents in their new role as educators trying to help their children in the learning process as well as managing their own work situation. We pray that their efforts will be rewarded.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Loving God we pray for those who face difficulties in their personal lives. We raise before you all who are sick, the bereaved, those with problems in their families, in their relationships, in their neighbourhoods or in their workplace. Give them a patient faith in their troubles and the knowledge that you share their sufferings with them.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Mighty God, we pray for those whose earthly lives have ended. We remember those whose anniversary of their passing falls at this time and for the souls of all who have passed away recently. We give thanks for their lives. May all who mourn their passing find comfort and peace.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Faithful God, we thank you for making us your children, for feeding us with the spiritual food which satisfies our longings and for the promise that you listen to our supplications and answer our requests.
Merciful Father: accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen


The Anthem and Hymn

Anthem: Listen Sweet Dove – Grayston Ives

Hymn: NEH 56 – Songs of thankfulness and praise


The Blessing

The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ. Amen.