Today is the Twelfth 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. The afternoon readings at this time continue our 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
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
Not to us, O Lord, not to us,
but to your name goes all the glory
for your unfailing love and faithfulness.
Why let the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
Our God is in the heavens,
and he does as he wishes.
Their idols are merely things of silver and gold,
shaped by human hands.
They have mouths but cannot speak,
and eyes but cannot see.
They have ears but cannot hear,
and noses but cannot smell.
They have hands but cannot feel,
and feet but cannot walk,
and throats but cannot make a sound.
And those who make idols are just like them,
as are all who trust in them.
O Israel, trust the Lord!
He is your helper and your shield.
O priests, descendants of Aaron, trust the Lord!
He is your helper and your shield.
All you who fear the Lord, trust the Lord!
He is your helper and your shield.
The Lord remembers us and will bless us.
He will bless the people of Israel
and bless the priests, the descendants of Aaron.
He will bless those who fear the Lord,
both great and lowly.
May the Lord richly bless
both you and your children.
May you be blessed by the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
The heavens belong to the Lord,
but he has given the earth to all humanity.
The dead cannot sing praises to the Lord,
for they have gone into the silence of the grave.
But we can praise the Lord
both now and forever!
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
The Beginning of Sin
Now the snake was the most clever of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day the snake said to the woman, “Did God really say that you must not eat fruit from any tree in the garden?”
The woman answered the snake, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden. But God told us, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden. You must not even touch it, or you will die.’”
But the snake said to the woman, “You will not die. God knows that if you eat the fruit from that tree, you will learn about good and evil and you will be like God!”
The woman saw that the tree was beautiful, that its fruit was good to eat, and that it would make her wise. So she took some of its fruit and ate it. She also gave some of the fruit to her husband who was with her, and he ate it.
Then, it was as if their eyes were opened. They realized they were naked, so they sewed fig leaves together and made something to cover themselves.
Then they heard the Lord God walking in the garden during the cool part of the day, and the man and his wife hid from the Lord God among the trees in the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said, “Where are you?”
The man answered, “I heard you walking in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.”
God asked, “Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat fruit from the tree from which I commanded you not to eat?”
The man said, “You gave this woman to me and she gave me fruit from the tree, so I ate it.”
Then the Lord God said to the woman, “How could you have done such a thing?”
She answered, “The snake tricked me, so I ate the fruit.”
The Lord God said to the snake,
“Because you did this,
a curse will be put on you.
You will be cursed as no other animal, tame or wild, will ever be.
You will crawl on your stomach,
and you will eat dust all the days of your life.
I will make you and the woman
enemies to each other.
Your descendants and her descendants
will be enemies.
One of her descendants will crush your head,
and you will bite his heel.”
Then God said to the woman,
“I will cause you to have much trouble
when you are pregnant,
and when you give birth to children,
you will have great pain.
You will greatly desire your husband,
but he will rule over you.”
Then God said to the man, “You listened to what your wife said, and you ate fruit from the tree from which I commanded you not to eat.
“So I will put a curse on the ground,
and you will have to work very hard for your food.
In pain you will eat its food
all the days of your life.
The ground will produce thorns and weeds for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
You will sweat and work hard for your food.
Later you will return to the ground,
because you were taken from it.
You are dust,
and when you die, you will return to the dust.”
The man named his wife Eve, because she was the mother of all the living.
The Lord God made clothes from animal skins for the man and his wife and dressed them. Then the Lord God said, “Humans have become like one of us; they know good and evil. We must keep them from eating some of the fruit from the tree of life, or they will live forever.” So the Lord God forced Adam out of the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. After God forced humans out of the garden, he placed angels and a sword of fire that flashed around in every direction on its eastern border. This kept people from getting to the tree of life.
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
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 in Bold – Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved
All other Psalms – Scripture quotations are taken from The Living Bible copyright © 1971. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
All other Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.