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
A psalm of David, which he sang to the Lord concerning Cush of the tribe of Benjamin.
I come to you for protection, O Lord my God.
Save me from my persecutors—rescue me!
If you don’t, they will maul me like a lion,
tearing me to pieces with no one to rescue me.
O Lord my God, if I have done wrong
or am guilty of injustice,
if I have betrayed a friend
or plundered my enemy without cause,
then let my enemies capture me.
Let them trample me into the ground
and drag my honor in the dust. Interlude
Arise, O Lord, in anger!
Stand up against the fury of my enemies!
Wake up, my God, and bring justice!
Gather the nations before you.
Rule over them from on high.
The Lord judges the nations.
Declare me righteous, O Lord,
for I am innocent, O Most High!
End the evil of those who are wicked,
and defend the righteous.
For you look deep within the mind and heart,
O righteous God.
God is my shield,
saving those whose hearts are true and right.
God is an honest judge.
He is angry with the wicked every day.
If a person does not repent,
God will sharpen his sword;
he will bend and string his bow.
He will prepare his deadly weapons
and shoot his flaming arrows.
The wicked conceive evil;
they are pregnant with trouble
and give birth to lies.
They dig a deep pit to trap others,
then fall into it themselves.
The trouble they make for others backfires on them.
The violence they plan falls on their own heads.
I will thank the Lord because he is just;
I will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.
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
Abram and Lot Separate
So Abram, his wife, and Lot left Egypt, taking everything they owned, and traveled to southern Canaan. Abram was very rich in cattle, silver, and gold.
He left southern Canaan and went back to Bethel where he had camped before, between Bethel and Ai, and where he had built an altar. So he worshiped the Lord there.
During this time Lot was traveling with Abram, and Lot also had flocks, herds, and tents. Abram and Lot had so many animals that the land could not support both of them together, so Abram’s herdsmen and Lot’s herdsmen began to argue. The Canaanites and the Perizzites were living in the land at this time.
Abram said to Lot, “There should be no arguing between you and me, or between your herdsmen and mine, because we are brothers. We should separate. The whole land is there in front of you. If you go to the left, I will go to the right. If you go to the right, I will go to the left.”
Lot looked all around and saw the whole Jordan Valley and that there was much water there. It was like the Lord’s garden, like the land of Egypt in the direction of Zoar. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) So Lot chose to move east and live in the Jordan Valley. In this way Abram and Lot separated. Abram lived in the land of Canaan, but Lot lived among the cities in the Jordan Valley, very near to Sodom. Now the people of Sodom were very evil and were always sinning against the Lord.
After Lot left, the Lord said to Abram, “Look all around you—to the north and south and east and west. All this land that you see I will give to you and your descendants forever. I will make your descendants as many as the dust of the earth. If anyone could count the dust on the earth, he could count your people. Get up! Walk through all this land because I am now giving it to you.”
So Abram moved his tents and went to live near the great trees of Mamre at the city of Hebron. There he built an altar to the Lord.
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…)
Holy Spirit, guide us through the rest of our day.
May we know your wisdom in our hearts,
Your strength in our bodies,
And your peace in our lives. 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.