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
He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck,
will suddenly be broken beyond healing.
When the righteous increase, the people rejoice,
but when the wicked rule, the people groan.
He who loves wisdom makes his father glad,
but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth.
By justice a king builds up the land,
but he who exacts gifts tears it down.
A man who flatters his neighbour
spreads a net for his feet.
An evil man is ensnared in his transgression,
but a righteous man sings and rejoices.
A righteous man knows the rights of the poor;
a wicked man does not understand such knowledge.
Scoffers set a city aflame,
but the wise turn away wrath.
If a wise man has an argument with a fool,
the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.
Bloodthirsty men hate one who is blameless
and seek the life of the upright.
A fool gives full vent to his spirit,
but a wise man quietly holds it back.
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.