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
Praise to the Lord for His Holiness
The Lord reigns;
Let the peoples tremble!
He dwells between the cherubim;
Let the earth be moved!
The Lord is great in Zion,
And He is high above all the peoples.
Let them praise Your great and awesome name—
He is holy.
The King’s strength also loves justice;
You have established equity;
You have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob.
Exalt the Lord our God,
And worship at His footstool—
He is holy.
Moses and Aaron were among His priests,
And Samuel was among those who called upon His name;
They called upon the Lord, and He answered them.
He spoke to them in the cloudy pillar;
They kept His testimonies and the ordinance He gave them.
You answered them, O Lord our God;
You were to them God-Who-Forgives,
Though You took vengeance on their deeds.
Exalt the Lord our God,
And worship at His holy hill;
For the Lord our God is holy.
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
There is a way that seems right to a man,
but its end is the way to death.
Even in laughter the heart may ache,
and the end of joy may be grief.
The backslider in heart will be filled with the fruit of his ways,
and a good man will be filled with the fruit of his ways.
The simple believes everything,
but the prudent gives thought to his steps.
One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil,
but a fool is reckless and careless.
A man of quick temper acts foolishly,
and a man of evil devices is hated.
The simple inherit folly,
but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.
The evil bow down before the good,
the wicked at the gates of the righteous.
The poor is disliked even by his neighbour,
but the rich has many friends.
Whoever despises his neighbour is a sinner,
but blessed is he who is generous to the poor.
Do they not go astray who devise evil?
Those who devise good meet steadfast love and faithfulness.
In all toil there is profit,
but mere talk tends only to poverty.
The crown of the wise is their wealth,
but the folly of fools brings folly.
A truthful witness saves lives,
but one who breathes out lies is deceitful.
In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence,
and his children will have a refuge.
The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life,
that one may turn away from the snares of death.
In a multitude of people is the glory of a king,
but without people a prince is ruined.
Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding,
but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.
A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh,
but envy makes the bones rot.
Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker,
but he who is generous to the needy honours him.
The wicked is overthrown through his evildoing,
but the righteous finds refuge in his death.
Wisdom rests in the heart of a man of understanding,
but it makes itself known even in the midst of fools.
Righteousness exalts a nation,
but sin is a reproach to any people.
A servant who deals wisely has the king’s favour,
but his wrath falls on one who acts shamefully.
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.