Year III: Week 4 of Epiphany

Saturday: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

We are currently in the Epiphany season; the time between Christmas and Lent.  Epiphany celebrates the long awaited manifestation of Christ; no longer as a baby in a manger but as the Saviour of the World.  The Epiphany season continues right through until the beginning of Lent and the gospel readings follow Jesus’ early ministry.  The afternoon readings continue a chronological tour through the scriptures; whilst the readings at Compline continue to work their way through Paul’s letter to the Romans.


CALL TO WORSHIP

Reader:
Lord, Open my lips.
All: 
And my mouth will give you praise.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  
All:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen


INVITATORY PSALM:  

Psalm 95:1-7  (Venite, exultemus)

All: 

A Call to Worship

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For the Lord is the great God,
And the great King above all gods.
In His hand are the deep places of the earth;
The heights of the hills are His also.
The sea is His, for He made it;
And His hands formed the dry land.

Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture,
And the sheep of His hand. 

All:  
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


MORNING PSALM

Psalm 48

The Glory of God in Zion
A Song. A Psalm of the sons of Korah.

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised
In the city of our God,
In His holy mountain.
Beautiful in elevation,
The joy of the whole earth,
Is Mount Zion on the sides of the north,
The city of the great King.
God is in her palaces;
He is known as her refuge.

For behold, the kings assembled,
They passed by together.
They saw it, and so they marveled;
They were troubled, they hastened away.
Fear took hold of them there,
And pain, as of a woman in birth pangs,
As when You break the ships of Tarshish
With an east wind.

As we have heard,
So we have seen
In the city of the Lord of hosts,
In the city of our God:
God will establish it forever. Selah

We have thought, O God, on Your loving kindness,
In the midst of Your temple.
According to Your name, O God,
So is Your praise to the ends of the earth;
Your right hand is full of righteousness.
Let Mount Zion rejoice,
Let the daughters of Judah be glad,
Because of Your judgments.

Walk about Zion,
And go all around her.
Count her towers;
Mark well her bulwarks;
Consider her palaces;
That you may tell it to the generation following.
For this is God,
Our God forever and ever;
He will be our guide
Even to death.

 All:  

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


WORSHIP

All:  
(A time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous.  Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)


PRAYER & INTERCESSION

Reader:
Let us pray for the day and its tasks, for the church and her life, and for the world and its needs.

(You may use these prayers as written or use them as ‘prayer pointers’ for your own spontaneous petitions.

Personal Requests

  • Saviour and Friend, as we begin the weekend we ask for refreshment in our bodies and restoration to our spirits. Give us the ability in this frantic world to “come aside and rest awhile” and rediscover what it is to be the dwelling place of God.
              –  For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…
  • May we know purpose in every moment and peace in every step.
              –  For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…
  • For the ability to lay down the technology that distracts and the fears that disturb.
              –  For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…
  • For spaces of solitude, moments of silence and time to stop and stare.
              –  For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…

Family & Friends

  • Lord Jesus, you came to deliver us from self, sin and Satan in order that you might live in us by the power of your Spirit. We welcome your presence and are overawed at the humility of God.
              –  For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…
  • Being mindful of your embrace, we reach out today to those on the lonely fringes of our community and welcome them into our world.
              –  For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…
  • We bring before you our friends and family. May they be happy. May they be well. May they be wrapped in your loving embrace.
              –  For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…

The Church

  • Lord Jesus, we ask that this weekend many will find sanctuary within your House. May your church be united in praise and awesome as an army with banners! May her numbers daily increase and her love for you be ever more fervent.
              –  For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…
  • For those who bring your word to our streets, for Street Pastors, Street Evangelism Teams and all forms of outreach. May no one die without the offer of the gospel.
              –  For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…
  • For those who bring mercy to our cities, for the work of Food Bank, Homeless Night Shelters, the agencies of practical aid and the many other expressions of Christian charity…
              –  For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…

The World

  • Ever Living God, we ask for a renewed call to missions. Send forth your labourers into the harvest, for the harvest is ripe but the labourers are few! May thousands of hearts receive your transforming power today.
              –  For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…
  • For those who can only witness with their lifestyle because their voices are silenced through persecution and oppression. May their lives speak powerfully of your love.
              –  For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…
  • For the protection of your church when she is attacked, the provision of your church when she is deprived and the steadfastness of your church when she is derided.
              –  For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…


THE LORD’S
 PRAYER

Reader: 
And so we pray…

All:   
Our Father in heaven,
Holy is Your Name.
Your Kingdom come.
Your 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 yours is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
Forever and ever.  Amen.


GOSPEL READING

Matthew 19:1-15

Teaching About Divorce

Now when Jesus had finished these sayings, he went away from Galilee and entered the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. And large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.

And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”

The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” But he said to them, “Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.”

Let the Children Come to Me

Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away.

Reader:      
The Word of the Lord.
All:  
Thanks be to God.


Pause for Reflection…

READING: THE WAY OF CHRIST (Optional)

Principle of discipleship drawn from the book, “The Way of Christ”

Reader:
The Way of Simplicity: The Principle of Generosity.

Aware of those around me who suffer lack, I set aside a portion of my income to meet their need. This I do without fanfare, without need for reward and where possible in secret. As a follower of the Way of Simplicity, I also choose to commit myself to the principle of tithing; joyfully offering the first-fruits of my income as my contribution towards the ongoing life and outreach of my church family.

All:
This is The Way of Simplicity: The Principle of Generosity.


Pause for Reflection…


THE APOSTLES CREED

Reader
And so we make our declaration of faith…

All:  
We 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 Spirit,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, dead, and buried:
He descended into the grave;
The third day he rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
And sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
From there he shall come to judge the living and the dead.
We believe in the Holy Spirit;
The Holy Worldwide Church;
The Communion of Saints;
The Forgiveness of sins;
The Resurrection of the body,
And the Life everlasting.  Amen.


COLLECT

Reader:
(Either this or an alternative closing prayer may be said.)

Give us grace, O Lord,
To answer readily the call of our Savior Jesus Christ
And proclaim to all people the Good News of his salvation,
That we and the whole world may perceive,
The glory of his marvelous works;
Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
One God, for ever and ever.  Amen.


BLESSING

Reader:
(When praying in community, this or a similar blessing may be used)

And may the light of the world shine in your heart,
Chasing the dark night of sin away,
And shedding over your world light unquenchable.  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.

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