Welcome to the website for Holy Trinity Church, Ystrad Mynach.
Important Notices –
Baptism of the Lord (1st Sunday of Epiphany) – 10 January 2021
Introduction and call to Worship.
Hello, and welcome, once again, to Holy Trinity Church for this act of worship. Today is the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Jesus steps out of the shadows, is baptized in the waters of the River Jordan and is anointed with the Holy Spirit who descends upon him like a dove. Christ’s ministry is endorsed by the Father, who acknowledges him to be the Son. The world watches and listens and holds its breath; and is unalterably changed for ever.
Eternal Father, who at the Baptism of Jesus revealed him to be your Son, anointing him with the Holy Spirit: grant that we who are born again by water and the Spirit may rejoice to be called your 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. Amen
Today’s Readings (BCP Page 50)
First Reading Genesis 01:1-5
Psalm Psalm 29:
Second Reading Acts 19: 1-7
Gospel Mark 01: 4-11
Doesn’t time fly? Well, perhaps it doesn’t for us today, faced as we are with another lockdown which will restrict our lives for a few weeks more; but it has certainly flown for Jesus during the past week. Only four days ago we worshipped the child Jesus, today we see the adult Jesus baptized. On Wednesday, we celebrated the great feast of the Epiphany which falls, of course, after the twelve days of Christmass, on 6th January. That day we observe as the “Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles” who are represented by the Magi, the wise men from afar, often referred to as kings. They come, these Magi, in Matthew’s Gospel, to Bethlehem, to the house where the child Jesus was; they had had a difficult journey following the star in the Winter sky; and, having seen and presented their gifts, they returned home by another way. But that is not the only manifestation of Christ to his people: we see it also in the miracle at the Wedding in Cana; and we see it today in the Baptism of the Lord.
For Christians, baptism is the most significant event of our lives. It is the moment when we became Christian, the moment when we became members of the Church, the moment when our lives changed direction, the moment which heralded a new beginning for us. Although most of us cannot remember our baptism, the Church has endeavoured to ensure that the symbolism of baptism is shouted from the housetops. A visit to Rome would probably take you to the Basilica of Saint John Lateran where the baptistry, a separate building alongside the main cathedral is of such magnificence that it is hard to escape from the idea that baptism is a very great deal indeed. Yet, for most of the history of the Church we have not paid much attention to the Lord’s Baptism; indeed, in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer it was completely ignored. But this is a great feast day, and one with a great deal of significance for our faith.
Today, the adult Jesus strides out into the desert where his cousin, John, is addressing the people who have come to him from Jerusalem. The warm sun shines down from above, and a gentle breeze sweeps across the water of the Jordan; the crowds standing on the riverbank are enrapt with the preaching of this strange nomad in camel’s hair; the Baptist speaks of the one who is to come, and who will baptize with the Holy Spirit. This is a world away from the accounts of the birth of the Lord, but we are in Mark’s Gospel and this is his account of the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. There is no birth narrative here, as in Matthew and Luke, there is no deep theological exploration, as in John; Mark begins with Jesus’ baptism. This is a new start with new opportunities; it is just what the people of God were looking for.
Palestine, at the turn of the first century, was ready for change. The people were tired of the daily humiliation of living under Roman occupation; they felt that they were no longer in control of their destiny; their lives were restricted by endless regulations. Little wonder so many people flocked to hear the Baptist preach his message of repentance; and little wonder that so many people accepted his baptism. John’s message seemed an answer to that deep longing and his baptism symbolized the need for a new start.
The early Church was clear that the Baptism of the Lord was one of the great epiphanies of Jesus, a revelation which belonged alongside the commemoration of the arrival of the Magi; in the Orthodox Church this is still a great Feast, probably more important than Christmass itself. Just days after the arrival of the gift-bearing Magi, the focus moves to the young man at the Jordan, appearing among the crowd where John is baptizing, and joining the queue: The Lord submits to baptism, hears the voice of God who calls him “Son”, receives the Holy Spirit who swoops down like a dove, then flees into the wilderness. The people can now believe that things will change; this event will make a difference.
This is reminiscent of the creation, where the earth was a formless void, where darkness covered the face of the deep, and the wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Here there is water, and the Spirit hovers as a dove and then descends on the Son; for this is a new creation, a new beginning. This is not just the beginning of Jesus’ ministry; it is also the end of all that has come before.
There was much that Jesus would leave behind from those hidden years at Nazareth, as the public years begin, and he reaches out to his people. What we knew to be the case with the birth of the Christ-child is confirmed in his baptism; this is the beginning of the new world; this is the end of the old world; this is the turning point in the history of human beings.
Those who gathered beside the Jordan could not know, of course, what their future would be, and they did not know what they would be leaving behind. The ministry of Jesus would present challenges for him and for those he would choose to be his disciples. We shall see during the next few weeks how the Lord could inspire those he encountered, as one by one his followers abandoned their lives to follow him. Jesus gave them no reassurances about what would happen; he made no promises about what their future would be like; not once did he say that things would be easy.
It has always been the case with the disciples of Jesus, we constantly face new beginnings. The year we have left behind has been the most difficult and challenging which any of us can remember and this is not the end. If I may reuse a famous quote, it is not even the beginning of the end, but it may, perhaps, be the end of the beginning. We have a long road to travel before people will feel safe again, and we can begin to rebuild our Christian community. Any life will encounter unexpected challenges and disappointments, but there will always be new opportunities alongside them. For us, the continuing engagement with the Fareshare project has created new openings for us as a parish, with many new ideas to reach out to our community and forge links. We shall find ourselves, by the end of this year, in a new chapter in our life, with a new structure around us in the new Ministry Area and the possibility of new ventures to enable us to proclaim the Gospel message.
Jesus’ was anointed with the Holy Spirit as his ministry began, and he took the Spirit with him, firstly into the wilderness. We might, at times, feel ill prepared to face a new future, but we have the Spirit with us – it was given to us in our Baptism and, as we step out into our unknown future, he will be with us in all that we do.
Intercessions for Baptism of the Lord (1st Sunday of Epiphany 10 Jan 2021)
Loving Father God, as we are all united in baptism, we ask you to help us break down the barriers that keep us apart. As all things are made new in your son, renew your Church, we pray, that we may gather new strength for the mission that you have charged us with of spreading the good news. Help us to use technology to reach out to our Church family so that they may get a sense of worshipping as part of a community wherever they worship today.
Lord in your Mercy……hear our prayer.
Creator God, as your Holy Spirit moved upon the face of the waters, you brought light into the world. Look now, we pray, on the hidden corners of our world and lighten the darkness of ignorance and error. Breathe something of your wisdom and compassion into the souls of those who have authority over others, that they may exercise it wisely for the benefit of all your people.
Lord in your Mercy……hear our prayer.
Pour forth, O Lord, your love upon this land and its people as we try to follow the example of your Son in whom you were well-pleased. Daily renew in us the desire to serve you and our neighbour. Guide and encourage all those who are in caring professions at this time, as they struggle to do their best in such adverse conditions.
Lord in your Mercy……hear our prayer.
Compassionate God, look with pity we pray on those whose lives are bruised, whose hopes are quenched, those who are overwhelmed by anxiety or helplessness in the face of this pandemic. We pray for all who are sick in mind or body, the lonely and the bereaved, and all those who are missing the physical presence of loved ones who cannot be close at this time.
Lord in your Mercy……hear our prayer.
We commend to your love those who, washed in the water of baptism, were close to you in this life and are now one with you in the life eternal. May they rest in your love and the life of the Holy Spirit.
Lord in your Mercy……hear our prayer.
Listening God, in a short time of silence we bring before you our personal prayers and concerns…….(Pause)
Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen
Thank you for watching and listening today. I trust that joining this act of worship will bring God present in your lives and in your homes during the coming week and will help you feel connected to the life of the Church. I hope and pray that you will remain safe and faithful.
Let us pray.
O God, you know us to be set in the midst of so many and great dangers, that by reason of the frailty of our nature we cannot always stand upright: grant to us such strength and protection as may support us in all dangers and carry us through all temptations; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Let us pray with confidence to the Father, in the words our Saviour taught us:
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 trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.
Bow your heads and pray for God’s blessing.
Christ, the Son of God, gladden your hearts with the good news of his kingdom; and the blessing of God Almighty, the + Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.
Weekly Notes for Baptism of the Lord (1st Sunday of Epiphany 10 Jan 2021)
The live streaming camera has been installed and we will soon be able to join together with live services in real time in January, this will allow parishioners who are unable to visit the church, to tune in and join in worship from their homes. When the system has been fully commissioned we will distribute the links and procedure to join the celebrations of worship.
This will be a similar method to the one you are using to view the Recorded Services but the service will be “Broadcast / Live Streamed” at the regular Sunday service times as announced. You will need to “Tune In” a few moments before that time to prepare your thoughts as you would do if you were in church.
The Live Service, which will also be recorded, will be available later in the week so that you can again share in an act of worship as you do with the present system of recorded services. Once again the method of accessing these will be provided to you.
Services this week and beyond:
Private Prayer on Wednesdays from 10.30am to 12.0pm will continue.
There will be only Sunday Services (9.0am and 10.30am) until further notice. Booking will be required for these Services.
Sunday Services: Sunday Services continue with the Holy Eucharist said at 9.0am and sung at 10.30am. These are by PRIOR APPOINTMENT ONLY through Kevin Morgan on K.Morgan@cardiff.gov.uk or 029 2088 1587. Booking opens on the previous Sunday at 9.0am.
Ministry Areas: Please speak to any member of the Parochial Church Council to receive an update on the Ministry Area progress. The next stage will be the appointment of a Lay Chair by Bishop June and the formation of a Transition Group by the Ministry Area Leader to begin to formulate the arrangements for the structure of the new Parish.
Finances: we have inevitably experienced a loss of income during the pandemic and need to keep a strict control on expenditure. We have been particularly fortunate that so many of you make your contributions to the Church by Gift Direct, without which we would have faced a more serious financial situation. If anyone would else like to join this scheme, Sue Mills (01443 813627) can provide a short and simple form to fill in. Thank you.
Intercession List: this is now being renewed each week, and has, so far been rather shorter than usual; please send all prayer requests to Father Keith, but please be clear whether we are praying for them as sick or departed.
Stay safe, and care for each other. With our prayers and may God bless you all.
Father Steven and the Ministry Team
Prayer for the week
God in heaven, we thank you for the oceans and all water that gives us life. Help us to look after the water you have given us, and to treasure the waters of baptism, through which we receive the mark of your Holy Spirit, to lead us on our journey of faith, following your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Amen. Canon Robert Townsend
Collect for the week
Eternal Father, who at the baptism of Jesus revealed him to be your Son, anointing him with the Holy Spirit: grant that we who are born again by water and the Spirit may rejoice to be called your 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. Amen.
If we can help in any way, please do not hesitate to contact us:
Vicar and Parish Priest Father Steven Kirk 01443 813246
Assistant Priest Father Keith Hemmings 01443 830662
Reader Sarah Steadman 01443 816276
Church Warden Edward Williams-Price 07715 103273
Church Warden Fiona Silverthorn 07593 858305
The Readings for the 2nd Week after Christmas (Psalter Week 2)
BCP – Page 50; for Baptism of the Lord (1st Sunday of Epiphany 10 Jan 2021)
Monday 11 January
Hebrews 1. 1-6 Psalm 97. 1-2, 6-10 Mark 1. 14-20
Hebrews 2. 5-12 Psalm 8 Mark 1. 21-28
Hebrews 2. 14-end Psalm 105. 1-9 Mark 1. 29-39
Hebrews 3. 7-14 Psalm 95. 1, 8-end Mark 1. 40-end
Hebrews 4. 1-4, 11 Psalm 78. 3-8 Mark 2. 1-12
Hebrews 4. 12-end Psalm 19. 7-end Mark 2. 13-17
Thought for the week
From the Church in Wales on Faith and Prayer
Every human being was created in order to have a relationship with God. People of all faiths seek this relationship – and prayer is one of its most important aspects from the human point of view.
In prayer, we can:
• Open our hearts and lives to God;
• Thank God for the blessings we receive each day, including the relationship God gives us with himself;
• Confess the wrong things we have done and, knowing God’s forgiveness, reject evil and turn back to him;
• Wait upon God, seeking to know and do his will;
• Share our worries, hopes and fears with God, asking him to help us.
Christians believe that Jesus, God’s own Son, came to earth in human form and showed us what God is like. Many Christian people therefore find it helpful to concentrate their minds on Jesus as they pray, and to speak to God in prayer just as they would to another human being. Christians also believe that God gives us his Holy Spirit to help us pray.
With our thoughts and prayers at this time for a Peaceful and healthy Year,