Feast of St. John, Apostle & Evangelist: John was one of the twelve apostles of the Lord Jesus. He was the author of the Gospel of John, the book of revelation and the three New Testament letters that bear his name. He is often referred to as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” and along with Peter and James formed Jesus’ inner circle. As the only disciple not to forsake Jesus at his crucifixion, he became the guardian of Mary until her death. Despite being banished to Patmos in old age, John is believed to be the longest living apostle and the only one not to die a martyr’s death.
Today is also the Third Day of Christmas, the traditional twelve day festival that begins on Christmas Day and runs until January 5th. During this time we concentrate our readings on Jesus’ early life. This leads us to January 6th, which is the Feast of the Epiphany, where we celebrate Christ’s revelation to the world as Messiah, predominantly in the events leading up to and immediately after his baptism
CALL TO WORSHIP
God, come to my assistance.
Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen
The trees of the Lord are full of sap,
The cedars of Lebanon which He planted,
Where the birds make their nests;
The stork has her home in the fir trees.
The high hills are for the wild goats;
The cliffs are a refuge for the rock badgers.
He appointed the moon for seasons;
The sun knows its going down.
You make darkness, and it is night,
In which all the beasts of the forest creep about.
The young lions roar after their prey,
And seek their food from God.
When the sun rises, they gather together
And lie down in their dens.
Man goes out to his work
And to his labor until the evening.
O Lord, how manifold are Your works!
In wisdom You have made them all.
The earth is full of Your possessions—
This great and wide sea,
In which are innumerable teeming things,
Living things both small and great.
There the ships sail about;
There is that Leviathan
Which You have made to play there.
These all wait for You,
That You may give them their food in due season.
What You give them they gather in;
You open Your hand, they are filled with good.
You hide Your face, they are troubled;
You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.
You send forth Your Spirit, they are created;
And You renew the face of the earth.
May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
May the Lord rejoice in His works.
He looks on the earth, and it trembles;
He touches the hills, and they smoke.
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.
May my meditation be sweet to Him;
I will be glad in the Lord.
May sinners be consumed from the earth,
And the wicked be no more.
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
Praise the Lord!
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen
(A short time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous. Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)
OLD TESTAMENT READING
If a ruler listens to falsehood,
all his officials will be wicked.
The poor man and the oppressor meet together;
the Lord gives light to the eyes of both.
If a king faithfully judges the poor,
his throne will be established for ever.
The rod and reproof give wisdom,
but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
When the wicked increase, transgression increases,
but the righteous will look upon their downfall.
Discipline your son, and he will give you rest;
he will give delight to your heart.
Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint,
but blessed is he who keeps the law.
By mere words a servant is not disciplined,
for though he understands, he will not respond.
Do you see a man who is hasty in his words?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.
Whoever pampers his servant from childhood
will in the end find him his heir.
A man of wrath stirs up strife,
and one given to anger causes much transgression.
One’s pride will bring him low,
but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honour.
The partner of a thief hates his own life;
he hears the curse, but discloses nothing.
The fear of man lays a snare,
but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.
Many seek the face of a ruler,
but it is from the Lord that a man gets justice.
An unjust man is an abomination to the righteous,
but one whose way is straight is an abomination to the wicked
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Pause for Reflection…
(Take a moment to bring to God any issues that have arisen during the morning. You may like to end with the following prayer…)
Lord Jesus, you worked with your hands as a carpenter.
May we who labour upon the earth never cease to give you praise,
And know your loving presence with us.
We ask this for your glory. Amen
(If these prayers are taking place before food, you may like to say the Grace here instead.)
Lord God, we thank you for your gift to us of this food;
Produce of earth, sky, many living beings, and much hard work.
May we eat with prayerfulness, gratitude and moderation;
With renewed minds and spirit-controlled appetites.
May we eat with compassion for those who hunger today,
And in such a way that reduces the suffering of all creatures;
Healing and preserving our precious planet.
Use this food to strengthen our bodies, revive our spirits,
Nurture our family and nourish our resolve;
That we may continue to serve all that lives with all our life. Amen
Psalms taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Other Scripture taken from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.