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, particularly at his baptism in the Jordan and his first miracle at Cana. 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
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
For the choir director: A psalm of David, to be accompanied by an eight-stringed instrument.
O Lord, don’t rebuke me in your anger
or discipline me in your rage.
Have compassion on me, Lord, for I am weak.
Heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.
I am sick at heart.
How long, O Lord, until you restore me?
Return, O Lord, and rescue me.
Save me because of your unfailing love.
For the dead do not remember you.
Who can praise you from the grave?
I am worn out from sobbing.
All night I flood my bed with weeping,
drenching it with my tears.
My vision is blurred by grief;
my eyes are worn out because of all my enemies.
Go away, all you who do evil,
for the Lord has heard my weeping.
The Lord has heard my plea;
the Lord will answer my prayer.
May all my enemies be disgraced and terrified.
May they suddenly turn back in shame.
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
God Calls Abram
The Lord said to Abram, “Leave your country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land I will show you.
I will make you a great nation,
and I will bless you.
I will make you famous,
and you will be a blessing to others.
I will bless those who bless you,
and I will place a curse on those who harm you.
And all the people on earth
will be blessed through you.”
So Abram left Haran as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. At this time Abram was 75 years old. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, and everything they owned, as well as all the servants they had gotten in Haran. They set out from Haran, planning to go to the land of Canaan, and in time they arrived there.
Abram traveled through that land as far as the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. The Canaanites were living in the land at that time. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your descendants.” So Abram built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him. Then he traveled from Shechem to the mountain east of Bethel and set up his tent there. Bethel was to the west, and Ai was to the east. There Abram built another altar to the Lord and worshiped him. After this, he traveled on toward southern Canaan.
Abram Goes to Egypt
At this time there was not much food in the land, so Abram went down to Egypt to live because there was so little food. Just before they arrived in Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know you are a very beautiful woman. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This woman is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but let you live. Tell them you are my sister so that things will go well with me and I may be allowed to live because of you.”
When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that Sarai was very beautiful. The Egyptian officers saw her and told the king of Egypt how beautiful she was. They took her to the king’s palace, and the king was kind to Abram because he thought Abram was her brother. He gave Abram sheep, cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels.
But the Lord sent terrible diseases on the king and all the people in his house because of Abram’s wife Sarai. So the king sent for Abram and said, “What have you done to me? Why didn’t you tell me Sarai was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister’ so that I made her my wife? Now, here is your wife. Take her and leave!” Then the king commanded his men to make Abram leave Egypt; so Abram and his wife left with everything they owned.
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.