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Event Series Event Series: Worship (In Person and Online)
Choir members singing in red robes

Baptism of the Lord

  • Date: Sunday, January 7, 2024
  • Time: 10:30am11:30am
  • Location: Sanctuary

Order of Worship

January 7, 2023 at 10:30 a.m.

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Prelude: Das alte jahr vergangen ist (“The Old Year is Past and is No More”), BWV 614, Johann Sebastian Bach

The text for this chorale represents both a lament for the old year and a prayer for the coming year.

The old year’s past and is no more,
now thanks to Jesus Christ our Lord,
for shielding us when danger’s near,
protecting us throughout this year.

Bach employs both dissonance and chromaticism in this setting, vividly depicting a sense of sorrow and grief. Some think that he may have written this chorale following the death of his newborn twins in 1713.

*Call to Worship

(The congregation responds aloud with the bold text)

God spoke the creative Word into the formless void.
The cosmos cries, “Glory!”  

From the wilderness, God brought forth new life and liberation.
The plants and animals that inhabit the wild places cry, “Glory!”  

A messenger in the wilderness brings good news. God’s people cry, “Glory!”
In baptism, we are united to God through Jesus Christ.  
With all of creation, we cry “Glory!” 

Come, let us worship !

*Hymn #401, “Gather Us In”

1. Here in this place the new light is streaming;
now is the darkness vanished away;
see in this space our fears and our dreamings
brought here to you in the light of this day.
Gather us in, the lost and forsaken;
gather us in, the blind and the lame;
call to us now, and we shall awaken;
we shall arise at the sound of our name.

2. We are the young; our lives are a mystery.
We are the old who yearn for your face.
We have been sung throughout all of history,
called to be light to the whole human race.
Gather us in, the rich and the haughty;
gather us in, the proud and the strong;
give us a heart, so meek and so lowly;
give us the courage to enter the song.

3. Here we will take the wine and the water;
here we will take the bread of new birth.
Here you shall call your sons and your daughters,
call us anew to be salt for the earth.
Give us to drink the wine of compassion;
give us to eat the bread that is you;
nourish us well, and teach us to fashion
lives that are holy and hearts that are true.

4. Not in the dark of buildings confining,
not in some heaven, light years away:
here in this place the new light is shining;
now is the kingdom, and now is the day.
Gather us in and hold us forever;
gather us in and make us your own;
gather us in, all peoples together,
fire of love in our flesh and our bone.

Prayer of Adoration

Call to Confession

Prayer of Confession

Creating God, we cannot look at our lives, our communities, or the world around us without seeing the fractures and brokenness that reflect the reality of sin.

You created the earth and called it good, but it now groans under the weight of our greed, abuse, and carelessness, awaiting redemption and re-creation.  

You created humanity in your image and called us very good, but we have ignored the image of God in each other. We have created, maintained, and benefitted from unjust systems built on divisions based on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and more.

You poured out your love in Jesus Christ, who showed us how to live and how to love, but we continue to make our own path, follow our own desires, and neglect to love others as Christ loves us.  

Lord, have mercy. Rend the heavens. Re-create us now.

Silent prayer of confession

Assurance of Pardon

The heavens part, the waters swirl, and the dove descends, reminding us that we, too, are God’s beloved children. We are covered by God’s grace and forgiven in Jesus Christ.

Thanks be to God!

*Response of Praise: Hymn #582 (“Glory To God, Whose Goodness Shines on me”)

1. Glory to God, whose goodness shines on me,
and to the Son, whose grace has pardoned me,
and to the Spirit, whose love has set me free.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be. Amen.

2. World without end, without end. Amen.
World without end, without end. Amen.
World without end, without end. Amen.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be. Amen.

Life in Community

Thank you for joining us for worship! Explore the calendar of events and recent announcements to take another step into our life together this week. If you’re joining us for the first time or would like to learn more about Catonsville Presbyterian, you’re welcome to share your email with us. We’ll send some information that will help you get connected.

Children’s Message

Prayer for Illumination

Send down your Holy Spirit, O God—tear open the veil of heaven and speak to us as beloved children so that we may hear and believe the good news of your Word made flesh, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Scripture: Genesis 1:1-5

When God began to create the heavens and the earth, the earth was complete chaos, and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

Scripture: Mark 1:4-11

So John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And the whole Judean region and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him and were baptized by him in the River Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the strap of his sandals. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

Sermon: “Beginning Again” Ken Kovacs

Call to Offering

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Offering of Tithes and Gifts


*Doxology #607, “Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow”

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Christ, all people here below;
Praise Holy Spirit evermore;
Praise Triune God, whom we adore. Amen.

*Prayer of Dedication

Holy God, we trust in the provisions of your love and the abundance of your grace. May the gifts we offer bring glory to you in the ways they bear your love into the world. We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Hymn #482 (Vv. 1-2): “Baptized in Water”

1. Baptized in water,
sealed by the Spirit,
cleansed by the blood of Christ our King;
heirs of salvation,
trusting the promise,
faithfully now God’s praises we sing.

2. Baptized in water,
sealed by the Spirit,
dead in the tomb with Christ our King;
one with his rising,
freed and forgiven,
thankfully now God’s praises we sing.

Reaffirmation of Baptismal Vows

Sentence of Scripture

Profession of Faith

Trusting in the gracious mercy of God, do you turn from the ways of sin and renounce evil and its power in the world?
I renounce them. 

Who is your Lord and Savior?
Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. 

Will you be Christ’s faithful disciple, obeying his word and showing his love?
I will with God’s help.

The Apostles’ Creed

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth,

And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.

Thanksgiving for Baptism

Hymn #482 (v.3): “Baptized in Water”

3. Baptized in water,
sealed by the Spirit,
marked with the sign of Christ our King;
born of the Spirit,
we are God’s children;
joyfully now God’s praises we sing.

Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper

Invitation to the Table

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving and the Lord’s Prayer

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.

Let us open our hearts.
We open them to God.

Let us give thanks to the Holy One.
It is right to lift up thanks and praise.

On this day we remember our baptism…

…So hear us now, holy one, as we pray as Christ taught us saying:

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors;
and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom and the power
and the glory, forever. Amen.

Communion of God’s People

Prayer of Gratitude

We give you thanks and praise, O God, that you have fed us with your mercy and poured out your Spirit in this place. Continue to nourish and fill us each day, that we may live as your beloved people; in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Passing of the Peace

Hymn #543: “O Christ, Surround Me”

1. God, be the love to search and keep me;
God, be the prayer to move my voice;
God, be the strength to now uphold me:
O Christ, surround me; O Christ, surround me.

2. Bind to myself the Name of Holy,
great cloud of witnesses enfold;
prophets, apostles, angels witness:
O Christ, surround me; O Christ, surround me.

3. Brightness of sun and glow of moonlight,
flashing of lightning, strength of wind,
depth of the sea to soil of planet:
O Christ, surround me; O Christ, surround me.

4. Walking behind to hem my journey,
going ahead to light my way,
and from beneath, above, and all ways:
O Christ, surround me; O Christ, surround me.

5. Christ in the eyes of all who see me,
Christ in the ears that hear my voice,
Christ in the hearts of all who know me:
O Christ, surround me; O Christ, surround me.

*Charge and Benediction

Hear the good news: God is doing a new thing! Refreshed and renewed by the waters that unite us to God and to each other, let us go into the world, empowered by the Holy Spirit, following the way of Jesus Christ.

May the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the love of our parent God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us, today and always. Amen.

*Postlude: In dir ist Freude (“In Thee is Gladness”), BWV 615, Johann Sebastian Bach

Bach’s setting of In Thee is Gladness is pure exuberant joy and represents hope for the year to come:

In Thee is gladness amid all sadness,
Sweetest Jesus Christ our Lord.

This is the most flamboyant and virtuosic of all the chorales in the collection known as the Orgelbüchlein. Listen for the fragmented melodic line as it reappears multiple times in various registers and voices.


  • Dorothy Boulton, Associate Pastor
  • Keith and Kathy Glennan, A/V Production
  • Wendy Johnston, Organist and Assistant Director of Music
  • Greg Knauf, Director of Music
  • Ken Kovacs, Pastor
  • Melissa Lambdin, Liturgist
  • Vickie Lord, Social media support


  • Call to Worship: Liturgy, Music, Preaching, and the Arts, Presbyterian Church (USA) Office of Theology and Worship (Louisville: Presbyterian Publishing Corporation, 2023).
  • Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2013).
  • Thom M. Shuman, Where the Broken Gather: Lectionary Liturgies for Year B, 2014.
  • Permission to podcast/stream the music in this service obtained from One License with license #A-734388; CCLI Copyright License B 20481088 + Streaming License B 481071
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