The Heavens Are Opened — Order of Worship

Year A (January 8, 2017) | Baptism of the Lord — The Great Invitation, Week 1

Order of Worship Preaching Hymns Music Notes Planning Prayers/Resources



Down to the River to Pray”                            Worship & Song, 3164
Acolytes or others slowly carry the lit paschal candle and the baptismal bowl, filled with water, around the worship space, and finally to the front of the worship space as the congregation sings the last stanza a capella. At the words “crown” or “robe and crown,” someone in the processional lifts a crown or a robe and crown for all to see; or the images may be projected on screens.

Prayer for Illumination:
Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on us.
As you led Jesus to the waters of baptism in the Jordan,
opened up the heavens,
and came down upon him,
come down, O Love Divine, upon us.
Open our eyes and our ears
that we today may hear afresh in our own hearts
that voice from heaven which said to him,
“This is my beloved child,
in whom I am well pleased.” Amen.


“Down by the Jordan,”  stanzas 1-2                   Worship & Song, 3045
“When Jesus Came to Jordan,” stanzas 1-2      UMH 252 (Suggested Tune: AURELIA UMH 545)

Reading                                                              Matthew 3:13-17

“Down by the Jordan,” stanzas 3-4                   Worship & Song, 3045
“When Jesus Came to Jordan,” stanza 3          UMH 252 (Suggested Tune: AURELIA UMH 545)

Sermon                                                             “The Heavens Are Opened”

Preparation for Baptismal Reaffirmation

Band or Ensemble                                            “Let the Heavens Open,” CCLI #7007819

Baptismal Reaffirmation

BOW Version/ English (New Affirmation)/Spanish (Neuva Reafirmación)

Song during Acts of Reaffirmation
Come to the Water” (Tomlin)              Worship & Song, 3114

Commitment to Invitation

Prayers of the People

Interweave spoken or sung petitions from BOW 571 within a sung congregational continuo or response (Bridge from “Let the Heavens Open”)


Invitation to the Table and Peace
Sisters and brothers,
the heavens are opened,
God’s love and the Spirit’s presence
are pouring down on us.
Give thanks, church!
Give thanks, church!

And this same Jesus Christ,
God’s beloved,
invites to his table of love
all who love him,
all who have turned from their sin
as you have just done,   
and seek to be at peace with one another.

So, sisters and brothers,
may the abundant, life-changing, overflowing
peace of Christ that pours from the opened heavens
be with you, each and all!

And also with you!

Share Christ’s peace with one another,
and your gifts for the outpouring of God’s ministries
in the world.

Offering/Peace Music
We Would See Jesus (Henry)                  Choir or Ensemble

Great Thanksgiving                                    Great Thanksgiving for Baptism of the Lord

Music During Communion
“Set a Fire”                                       CCLI Song #5911299
            “Open Up the Heavens”                   CCLI Song #4119999                                                                                                

Thanksgiving after Communion

You have opened up the heavens, O God,
            and poured out love and refreshment.
You have given us yourself, O Christ,
            and united us with you and one another.
Now send us, O Spirit,
to flood the world with the good news of salvation
today and all days. Amen.



Song/Hymn of Sending
We Would See Jesus

We have seen Jesus,
and the heav’ns opening,

Spirit fall down and
the Father smile.
We’ve tasted Jesus,
bread and wine here taking,
filled with his presence,

You’ve made us alive!

Now send us Spirit!
Send us out this morning
To join with Christ calling,

“Come, follow me!”

Let us arise, all
lesser service scorning.
Lord, we are thine, we give
ourselves to thee.
Lord, we are thine, we give
ourselves to thee. 

Deacon or Worship Leader:
So go, people of God.
You’ve been cleansed and fed
and clothed anew in Christ.
Go, and let the world see God’s love shine
through you!

Postlude                                             Reprise of “Come to the Water”


Categories: Year A, After Epiphany, Week 1 - January 8, 2017