Year V: Week 3 of Epiphany

Sunday: 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 100 (Jubilate Deo)

All:

A Song of Praise for the Lord’s Faithfulness to His People
A Psalm of Thanksgiving.

Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.

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 29

A psalm of David.

Honor the Lord, you heavenly beings;
    honor the Lord for his glory and strength.
Honor the Lord for the glory of his name.
    Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.

The voice of the Lord echoes above the sea.
    The God of glory thunders.
    The Lord thunders over the mighty sea.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
    the voice of the Lord is majestic.
The voice of the Lord splits the mighty cedars;
    the Lord shatters the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon’s mountains skip like a calf;
    he makes Mount Hermon leap like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord strikes
    with bolts of lightning.
The voice of the Lord makes the barren wilderness quake;
    the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord twists mighty oaks
    and strips the forests bare.
In his Temple everyone shouts, “Glory!”

The Lord rules over the floodwaters.
    The Lord reigns as king forever.
The Lord gives his people strength.
    The Lord blesses them with peace.

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

  • Almighty God, we praise you for bringing us to another day in your House! We pray for blessing upon your church, refreshment in our families and encouragement to our souls. Open the windows of heaven over our lives we pray!
             – For the Lord is good, and his mercy endures forever…
  • For generous, attentive hearts as we minister to you, and compassionate, patient hearts as we minister to others.
             – For the Lord is good, and his mercy endures forever…
  • For a greater outpouring of your Spirit and the manifestation of your presence.
             – For the Lord is good, and his mercy endures forever…

Family & Friends

  • Father of all, may our families know peace and love and happiness today. Restore children who have wandered, bring refreshment to our relationships and let our homes be at rest as we enjoy this Sabbath.
             – For the Lord is good, and his mercy endures forever…
  • May our lives reflect your life and our words reflect your wisdom.
             – For the Lord is good, and his mercy endures forever…
  • Bring speedy healing to the sick, and wholeness to the broken.
             – For the Lord is good, and his mercy endures forever…

The Church

  • Lord Jesus, we pray for our beloved church; for those who come in need, for those who serve and for those who lead. Let it be even as the Kingdom of Heaven upon earth, and may even the sparrow find a home in the courts of our God.
             – For the Lord is good, and his mercy endures forever…
  • For those who lead your people nationally and globally. Keep them from the attacks of the Enemy and strengthen them in their ministry.
             – For the Lord is good, and his mercy endures forever…
  • For children’s ministries operating in churches today. May they see great fruit for their labours and encouragement in their work.
             – For the Lord is good, and his mercy endures forever…
  • For those who come and who are searching. May they find what they are looking for today.
             – For the Lord is good, and his mercy endures forever…

The World

  • God of grace we present to you our broken world, with all its pain, sorrow and suffering. As we gather to worship today let your church bear witness to a Kingdom that is one of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
             – For the Lord is good, and his mercy endures forever…
  • For the leaders of the nations of the world – grant them strength to endure, courage to do what’s right and wisdom to understand each other.
             – For the Lord is good, and his mercy endures forever…
  • For those who struggle alone, that they might find a home in the community of the saints.
             – For the Lord is good, and his mercy endures forever…

 

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 13:1-23

A Story About Planting Seed

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Large crowds gathered around him, so he got into a boat and sat down, while the people stood on the shore. Then Jesus used stories to teach them many things. He said: “A farmer went out to plant his seed. While he was planting, some seed fell by the road, and the birds came and ate it all up. Some seed fell on rocky ground, where there wasn’t much dirt. That seed grew very fast, because the ground was not deep. But when the sun rose, the plants dried up, because they did not have deep roots. Some other seed fell among thorny weeds, which grew and choked the good plants. Some other seed fell on good ground where it grew and produced a crop. Some plants made a hundred times more, some made sixty times more, and some made thirty times more. Let those with ears use them and listen.”

Why Jesus Used Stories to Teach

The followers came to Jesus and asked, “Why do you use stories to teach the people?”

Jesus answered, “You have been chosen to know the secrets about the kingdom of heaven, but others cannot know these secrets. Those who have understanding will be given more, and they will have all they need. But those who do not have understanding, even what they have will be taken away from them. This is why I use stories to teach the people: They see, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really hear or understand. So they show that the things Isaiah said about them are true:

‘You will listen and listen, but you will not understand.
    You will look and look, but you will not learn.
For the minds of these people have become stubborn.
    They do not hear with their ears,
    and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might really understand
    what they see with their eyes
    and hear with their ears.
They might really understand in their minds
    and come back to me and be healed.’

But you are blessed, because you see with your eyes and hear with your ears. I tell you the truth, many prophets and good people wanted to see the things that you now see, but they did not see them. And they wanted to hear the things that you now hear, but they did not hear them.

Jesus Explains the Seed Story

“So listen to the meaning of that story about the farmer. What is the seed that fell by the road? That seed is like the person who hears the message about the kingdom but does not understand it. The Evil One comes and takes away what was planted in that person’s heart. And what is the seed that fell on rocky ground? That seed is like the person who hears the teaching and quickly accepts it with joy. But he does not let the teaching go deep into his life, so he keeps it only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the teaching he accepted, he quickly gives up. And what is the seed that fell among the thorny weeds? That seed is like the person who hears the teaching but lets worries about this life and the temptation of wealth stop that teaching from growing. So the teaching does not produce fruit in that person’s life. But what is the seed that fell on the good ground? That seed is like the person who hears the teaching and understands it. That person grows and produces fruit, sometimes a hundred times more, sometimes sixty times more, and sometimes thirty times more.”

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 Community: The Principle of Forgiveness.

Aware that without constant diligence all humans are prone to conflict, I make it my solemn commitment to walk in forgiveness with my brothers and sisters. As a follower of the Way of Community, I would rather be wronged than break the bond of love and rather turn the other cheek than retaliate.

All:
This is The Way of Community: The Principle of Forgiveness.


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.)

Almighty God,
Whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ,
Is the light of the world:
Grant that your people, illumined by your Word,
May shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory,
That he may be known, worshiped,
And obeyed to the ends of the earth;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord,
Who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns,
One God, now and for ever. Amen.


BLESSING

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

And may the light of the glorious gospel of Christ,
Shine in your hearts and fill your lives,
With His joy and peace. 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.

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