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The Baptism of the Lord

The Archbishop of Cardiff, the Most Rev. George Stack reflects on the Feast Day of the Baptism of our Lord. The sung Mass, led by Canon Peter Collins in a live service from the Metropolitan Cathedral of St David, includes the Kyrie from William Byrd's Mass for Three Voices and Bruckner's Os Justi.
Master of the Choristers Dominic Neville. Organist: Dr. David Neville.
Producer: Karen Walker.

Release date:

38 minutes

Last on

Sun 10 Jan 2016 08:10


Please note: This script cannot exactly reflect the transmission, as it was prepared before the service was broadcast. It may include editorial notes prepared by the producer, and minor spelling and other errors that were corrected before the radio broadcast.

It may contain gaps to be filled in at the time so that prayers may reflect the needs of the world, and changes may also be made at the last minute for timing reasons, or to reflect current events.

 Opening Anno from R4:

BBC Radio 4.    And now we go live to the Metropolitan Cathedral of St. David in Cardiff where the Archbishop of Cardiff, the Most Rev’d George Stack reflects on the  Feast Day of the Baptism of the Lord.   The celebration of Mass, which is led by Canon   Peter Collins, begins with the hymn, Songs of Thankfulness and Praise. 



TUNE:  Salzburg.      


Welcome to St. David’s Cathedral in the heart of Cardiff.  Following the wonderful feasts of Christmas and Epiphany, it’s a great joy to share with you this morning in the celebration of the Feast day of the Lord’s Baptism.  It’s the time when we reflect on the solemnity and mystery of Christ’s baptism in the River Jordan and also on the invitation to all of us to share in the promise of new life in Christ through the sacrament of baptism.     

      ITEM 3            PENITENTIAL RITE            CANON PETER

      You were sent to heal the contrite of heart.

                Lord have mercy….R/ Lord have mercy


                You came to call sinners

                Christ have mercy…R/ Christ have mercy


                You are seated at the right hand of the Father to intercede for us

                Lord have mercy…R/ Lord have mercy


                ITEM 4  KYRIE     CHOIR 

                Kyrie eleison, christe eleison.  Kyrie eleison

                Kyrie eleison, christe eleison.  Kyrie. Kyrie eleison

                Kyrie eleison, christe eleison.  Kyrie eleison



                May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins and bring us to eternal life.

 ITEM 5        GLORIA    CHOIR 

 ITEM 6       PRAYER                CANON PETER

      Almighty ever-living God,

      who, when Christ had been

      baptised in the River Jordan

      and as the Holy Spirit descended

      upon him,

      solemnly declared him

      your beloved Son,

      grant that your children

      by adoption,

      reborn of water and the Holy Spirit

      may always be well pleasing to you. 


      Through our Lord Jesus Christ,

      your Son,

      who lives and reigns with you

      in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

      one God, for ever and ever.      


      ITEM 7            FIRST READING

      A reading from the prophet Isaiah


      ‘Console my people console them’

      says your God.

      ‘Speak to the heart of Jerusalem

      and call to her

      that her time of service is ended,

      that her sin is atoned for,

      that she has received from the hand of the Lord

      double punishment for all her crimes.’


      A voice cries, ‘Prepare in the wilderness’

      A way for the Lord.

      Make a straight highway for our God

      across the desert.

      Let every valley be filled in,

      every mountain and hill be laid low,

      let every cliff become a plain,

      and the ridges a valley;

      then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed

      and all mankind shall see it;

      for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’


      Go up on a high mountain,

      joyful messenger to Zion.

      Shout with a loud voice,

      joyful messenger to Jerusalem.

      Shout without fear,

      say to the towns of Judah,

      ‘Here is your God.’

      Here is the Lord coming with power

      his arm subduing all things to him.

      The prize of his victory is with him,

      his trophies all go before him.

      He is like a shepherd feeding his flock,

      gathering lambs in his arms,

      holding them against his breast

      and leading to their rest the mother ewes.


      ITEM 8            ALLELUIA             CHOIR

      ITEM 9            GOSPEL READING     DEACON PHILIP    

      The Lord be with you

      All:  And with your spirit.     

      A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke.          

      A feeling of expectancy had grown among the people, who were beginning to think       that John might be the Christ, so John declared before them all, I baptise you with water, but someone is coming, someone who is more powerful than I am and I am not fit to undo the strap of his sandals;  he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire.’

                Now when all the people had been baptised and while Jesus after his own baptism was at prayer, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily shape,   like a dove.  And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the beloved; my favour rests on you.’ 

                The Gospel of the Lord

                All: Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.


     ITEM 10                CHOIR

                Al/lelu/ia, Al/–– le/lu–/ia!     

      ITEM 11          HOMILY    ARCHBISHOP STACK     

Here in St. David’s Cathedral we are taking care of a beautiful statue of St. John the Baptist. It was one of many bronze and stone statues created by the famous Cardiff sculptor William Goscombe John.  By the end of the 1890’s he had established himself as ‘Wales national sculptor’ and much of his work  both at Cardiff Castle and beyond was created for the Marquis of Bute, the great benefactor of this city.

Some people say Goscombe John’s statue is forbidding and threatening.   At the height of …. it certainly provokes a feeling of wonder and awe.  The gospels portray John as a startling figure too. According to Matthew, John described himself as “The voice of one crying in the wilderness”.  Mark, also, speaks of John as being “…clad in a garment of camel’s hair, with a girdle around his waist, and eating locusts and wild honey”. But it was what he said that perhaps made him most frightening of all. “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand”. And to those who came for Baptism he said: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?”.

Some biblical scholars describe John the Baptist as the last of the Old Testament prophets. So powerful and frightening was his preaching that even a committee from the Sanhedrin asked him “Are you the Christ of the Messiah?”  “No, I am not” he said. “Well, are you Elijah risen from the dead?”  He said “No, I am John. My name is not Elijah”. “Well are you the Prophet, the One spoken of by Moses when he said : After I am gone, God will raise you up another prophet like me, and him you shall hear”. (Deut. 18:15). Despite these denials, John still preached in the words of the prophet Isaiah:  “Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled in, and every mountain and hill shall be laid low”.

It was in 1947 that a young shepherd boy found a way into the caves in Qumran, a dry and arid place near the Dead Sea in Israel. The Dead Sea is 1.294 feet below sea level and the desert around it is dry and arid. Hidden in those caves were scrolls which had been preserved for two thousand years. They revealed the presence of a community living there. These people had given up on the economic and cultural life of Jewish society. They had even abandoned worship in the Temple  and had withdrawn to the desert to live a life of asceticism, reading apocalyptic literature and waiting for the coming of the Messiah Some scholars identify John the Baptist with this community, not least with his radical way of life. If this is true, he was also a maverick because he left the community and went to confront the Pharisees. They were the doctors of the law. He preached to the Sadducees. They were the aristocrats of the Temple. He even dared to confront King Herod himself. “It is not right for you to take your brother’s wife (Mark 6:18).

The community at Qumran, like many Jewish sects, used the precious gift of water for the many washings, cleansings and purifications associated with their religious practice time and time again. If we accept that John had broken away from the rather introverted Qumran community and struck out on his, was it because he was aware that the waiting was over, “the end time had come” and the Messiah was at hand?  In the light of his preaching, it is easy to see John’s baptising as something much more than a ritual cleansing to be repeated again and again. It was something definitive, a total change of a way of life, a realisation that the kingdom of God was about to be revealed. “I baptise you with water, but someone will come who will baptise you with the Holy Spirit”.

If we see John as the last of the prophets of the Old Testament, we can certainly understand Jesus as the first prophet of the New Testament.  In submitting to baptism by John he linked the Old Testament expectation with New Testament fulfilment. This is made clear in the first sermon of Jesus in the synagogue at Nazareth recorded in the gospel of Luke. Using the language of the prophet Isaiah once more Jesus said:

                “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

                Because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.

                He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives

                And recovering of the sight to the blind,

                To set at liberty those who are oppressed,

                To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord”.

                He concluded with these powerful words:

                “Today, this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing”. (Lk4:6-21)

                Baptism remains a pivotal and powerful sacrament in the life of the Church. At its heart lies the belief that through it we die to an old way of life, anything that separates us from God, and rise up to a new life in Christ.   At the start of a new year, our minds are often filled with thoughts of fresh beginnings and resolutions - changes that will  help us improve our health, our relationships, our work and recreation, our studies but our spiritual lives, too, can be added to that list.  What better time to remind ourselves   of the words of Saint Iraneaus in the second century “The Glory of God is humanity fylly alive”.

                ITEM 12                CHOIR

                Sung Amen.

                ITEM 13                CREED   CANON PETER / CONG

      I believe in God,

      The Father Almighty

      Creator of heaven and earth

      And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,

      Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

      Born of the Virgin Mary,

      Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dies and was buried.

      He descended into hell;

      On the third day he rose again from the dead;

      He ascended into heaven,

      And is seated at the right hand of God

      The Father Almighty,

      From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

      I believe in the Holy Spirit,

      The holy Catholic Church,

      The communion of saints,

      The forgiveness of sins,

      The resurrection of the body,

      And life everlasting.



“A feeling of expectancy had grown among the people”, expressed Luke in his Gospel. As we give thanks to God this morning for the fullness of revelation in Jesus Christ His beloved Son, let us pray for the needs of our world, our Church and ourselves:


That all who believe in Jesus Christ  may increasingly live in communion and respect with each other that we may be signs of the presence of God in our world.

      Lord hear us…Lord graciously hear us

That those who suffer as a result of violence and conflict may catch a glimpse of hope in the work of those who serve the  cause of justice, freedom and peace.

      Lord hear us…Lord graciously hear us

That those who are sick or have to carry other burdens of suffering or sadness may experience the healing presence of Jesus Christ, the suffering Servant.

      Lord hear us…Lord graciously hear us

That those who have died may see God face to face and know that each person is beloved of the Father.

      Lord hear us…Lord graciously hear us

Let us turn to Mary, Mother of God, Mother of the Church and our Mother as we pray:

      Hail Mary, Full of Grace

      The Lord is with thee.

      Blessed art thou amongst women

      And blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus.

      Holy Mary, Mother of God,

      Pray for us sinners now,

      And at the hour of our death.




God our Father, may your favour rest on us who rejoice in being called your sons and daughters, through Christ our Lord. Amen



                ITEM 16                LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST    CANON PETER    

                [Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation

                for through your goodness we have received

                the wine we offer you:

      fruit of the vine and work of human hands,

      it will become our spiritual drink.


                Response:           Blessed be God forever.]   [ ] may be omitted.


      Pray, brethren (brothers and sisters),

      that my sacrifice and yours

      may be acceptable to God,

      the almighty Father.


      ALL: May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands

      for the praise and glory of his name,

      for our good

      and the good of all his holy Church.


Accept, O Lord the offerings we have brought to honour the

Revealing of your beloved Son, so that the oblation of your faithful

May be transformed into the sacrifice of him

Who willed in his compassion to wash away the sins of the world

Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.   


      ITEM 17          PREFACE              CANON PETER     

      It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,

      Always and everywhere to give you thanks,

      Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.


      For in the waters of the Jordan you revealed

      with signs and wonders s new Baptism,

      so that through the voice that came down from heaven

      we might come to believe in your Word dwelling among us,

      and by the Spirit’s descending in the likeness of a dove

      we might know that Christ your Servant

      has been anointed with the oil of gladness

      and sent to bring the good news to the poor.


      And so, with the Powers of heaven,

      We worship you constantly on earth,

      And before your majesty without end we acclaim:       


      ITEM 18          SANCTUS             CHOIR / SOLOIST     

      Plainsong Cunctipotens Genitor Deus.       

       ITEM 19                EUCHARISTIC PRAYER CONTD  CANON PETER     

      You are indeed Holy, O Lord,

      the fount of all holiness.


      Make holy, therefore, these gifts, we pray,

      by sending down your Spirit upon them like the dewfall,

      so that they may become for us

      the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.


      At the time he was betrayed

      and entered willingly into his Passion,

      he took bread and, giving thanks, broke it,

      and gave it to his disciples saying:






      In a similar way, when supper was ended,

      he took the chalice,

      and, once more giving thanks,

      he gave it to his disciples saying:









      Intoned by Canon Peter after note from the organ

      The mystery of faith.


      Sung:   Choir responds:

      We proclaim your Death, O Lord,

      and profess your Resurrection

      until you come again.


      ITEM 20          CANON PETER

      Therefore, as we celebrate

      the memorial of his Death and Resurrection,

      we offer you, Lord,

      the Bread of Life and Chalice of salvation,

      giving thanks that you have held us worthy

      to be in in your presence and minister to you.

      Humbly, we pray

      that, partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ,

      we may be gathered into one by the Holy Spirit.

      Remember, Lord, your Church,

      spread throughout the world,

      and bring her to the fullness of charity,

      together with Francis our Pope and George our Bishop

      and all the clergy.


      Remember also our brothers and sisters

      who have fallen asleep in the hope of the resurrection,

      and all who have died in your mercy:

      welcome them into the light of your face.


      Have mercy on us all, we pray,

      that with the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God,

      with blessed Joseph, her Spouse,

      with the blessed Apostles,

      and all the Saints who have pleased you throughout the ages,

      we may merit to be coheirs to eternal life,

      and may praise and glorify you

      through your Son, Jesus Christ.


      Through him, and with him, and in him,

      O God, almighty Father,

      in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

      all glory and honour is yours,

      for ever and ever.





      At the Saviour’s command

      and formed by divine teaching,

      we dare to say:


      ITEM 21          LORD’S PRAYER    Sung / CHOIR

      Our Father, who art in heaven,

      hallowed be thy name;

      thy kingdom come,

      they 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. 



      Deliver us, Lord, we pray from evil,

      graciously grant peace in our days,

      that, by the help of your mercy,

      we may be always free from sin

      and safe from all distress,

      as we await the blessed hope

      and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.   


       ALL:   "For thine is the kingdom the power and the glory, now and for ever.         Amen."

      ITEM  22         THE PEACE          CANON PETER     

      Lord Jesus Christ,

      who said to your Apostles:

      Peace I leave you, my peace I give you;

      look not on our sins,

      but on the faith of your Church,

      and graciously grant her peace and unity

      in accordance with your will.

      Who live and reign for ever and ever.



      P.   The Peace of the Lord be with you always

      R.   And with your Spirit      


      ITEM 23          AGNUS DEI         CHOIR/CANTOR


                LAMB OF GOD



      Behold the Lamb of God,

      behold him who takes away the sins of the world.

      Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.


                Lord, I am not worthy

   that you should enter my roof,

   but only say the word

   and my soul shall be healed        

   ITEM 25             COMMUNION  MOTET                  CHOIR / ORGAN

   Os Justi by Anton Bruckner.

                ITEM 26                FINAL PRAYER     CANON PETER

   Nourished with these sacred gifts,

   We humbly entreat your mercy, O Lord,

   That, faithfully listening to your

   Only Begotten Son,

   We may be your children in name and in truth.

   Through Christ our Lord.    

   ITEM 27             LINK         CANON PETER

                As we come to the end of our celebration of the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, we    praise and thank God for the church through which we share communion in his life            through baptism and the Eucharist by singing the “The church’s one foundation is Jesus              Christ, her Lord’.

   ITEM 28             FINAL HYMN      CHOIR /ORGAN

    The Church’s One Foundation.   Samuel Stone. 

    Tune: Aurelia.  S.S. Wesley

                ITEM 29                BLESSING            ARCHBISHOP STACK

1.            May God, the source and origin of all blessing,

                Grant you grace,

                Pour out his blessing in abundance

                And always keep you in the palm of his hand.



2.            May he give you integrity in faith,

                Endurance in hope

                And perseverance in charity

                With holy patience to the end.



3.            May he order your days in his peace,

                Grant your prayers in this and every place,

                And lead you happily to eternal life.



4.            And may the blessing of Almighty God,

                The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,

                Come down on you and remain with you for ever.



      5.      Go in peace, glorifying the Lord with your life.

                All: Thanks be to God.


   ITEM 30             ORGAN VOLUNTARY                      Dr. David Neville



Sunday Worship came live from the Metropolitan Cathedral of St. David in Cardiff.  The Celebration of Mass was led by Canon Peter Collins and the preacher was the  Archbishop of Cardiff, the Most Rev’d George Stack.  The Master of Choristers was Dominic Neville and the Organist was Dr. David Neville.  The producer was Karen Walker.  

Next week’s Sunday Worship comes from New Kilpatrick Parish Church in Glasgow.