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
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.
Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor!
The Lord rescues them when they are in trouble.
The Lord protects them
and keeps them alive.
He gives them prosperity in the land
and rescues them from their enemies.
The Lord nurses them when they are sick
and restores them to health.
“O Lord,” I prayed, “have mercy on me.
Heal me, for I have sinned against you.”
But my enemies say nothing but evil about me.
“How soon will he die and be forgotten?” they ask.
They visit me as if they were my friends,
but all the while they gather gossip,
and when they leave, they spread it everywhere.
All who hate me whisper about me,
imagining the worst.
“He has some fatal disease,” they say.
“He will never get out of that bed!”
Even my best friend, the one I trusted completely,
the one who shared my food, has turned against me.
Lord, have mercy on me.
Make me well again, so I can pay them back!
I know you are pleased with me,
for you have not let my enemies triumph over me.
You have preserved my life because I am innocent;
you have brought me into your presence forever.
Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
who lives from everlasting to everlasting.
Amen and amen!
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
This is the family history of Isaac. Abraham had a son named Isaac. When Isaac was forty years old, he married Rebekah, who came from Northwest Mesopotamia. She was Bethuel’s daughter and the sister of Laban the Aramean. Isaac’s wife could not have children, so Isaac prayed to the Lord for her. The Lord heard Isaac’s prayer, and Rebekah became pregnant.
While she was pregnant, the babies struggled inside her. She asked, “Why is this happening to me?” Then she went to get an answer from the Lord.
The Lord said to her,
“Two nations are in your body,
and two groups of people will be taken from you.
One group will be stronger than the other,
and the older will serve the younger.”
When the time came, Rebekah gave birth to twins. The first baby was born red. Since his skin was like a hairy robe, he was named Esau. When the second baby was born, he was holding on to Esau’s heel, so that baby was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when they were born.
When the boys grew up, Esau became a skilled hunter. He loved to be out in the fields. But Jacob was a quiet man and stayed among the tents. Isaac loved Esau because he hunted the wild animals that Isaac enjoyed eating. But Rebekah loved Jacob.
One day Jacob was boiling a pot of vegetable soup. Esau came in from hunting in the fields, weak from hunger. So Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red soup, because I am weak with hunger.” (That is why people call him Edom.)
But Jacob said, “You must sell me your rights as the firstborn son.”
Esau said, “I am almost dead from hunger. If I die, all of my father’s wealth will not help me.”
But Jacob said, “First, promise me that you will give it to me.” So Esau made a promise to Jacob and sold his part of their father’s wealth to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and vegetable soup, and he ate and drank, and then left. So Esau showed how little he cared about his rights as the firstborn son.
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.