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’s.
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 the descendants of Korah.
Listen to this, all you people!
Pay attention, everyone in the world!
High and low,
rich and poor—listen!
For my words are wise,
and my thoughts are filled with insight.
I listen carefully to many proverbs
and solve riddles with inspiration from a harp.
Why should I fear when trouble comes,
when enemies surround me?
They trust in their wealth
and boast of great riches.
Yet they cannot redeem themselves from death
by paying a ransom to God.
Redemption does not come so easily,
for no one can ever pay enough
to live forever
and never see the grave.
Those who are wise must finally die,
just like the foolish and senseless,
leaving all their wealth behind.
The grave is their eternal home,
where they will stay forever.
They may name their estates after themselves,
but their fame will not last.
They will die, just like animals.
This is the fate of fools,
though they are remembered as being wise. Interlude
Like sheep, they are led to the grave,
where death will be their shepherd.
In the morning the godly will rule over them.
Their bodies will rot in the grave,
far from their grand estates.
But as for me, God will redeem my life.
He will snatch me from the power of the grave. Interlude
So don’t be dismayed when the wicked grow rich
and their homes become ever more splendid.
For when they die, they take nothing with them.
Their wealth will not follow them into the grave.
In this life they consider themselves fortunate
and are applauded for their success.
But they will die like all before them
and never again see the light of day.
People who boast of their wealth don’t understand;
they will die, just like animals.
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
Isaac finished blessing Jacob. Then, just as Jacob left his father Isaac, Esau came in from hunting. He also prepared some tasty food and brought it to his father. He said, “Father, rise and eat the food that your son killed for you and then bless me.”
Isaac asked, “Who are you?”
He answered, “I am your son—your firstborn son—Esau.”
Then Isaac trembled greatly and said, “Then who was it that hunted the animals and brought me food before you came? I ate it, and I blessed him, and it is too late now to take back my blessing.”
When Esau heard the words of his father, he let out a loud and bitter cry. He said to his father, “Bless me—me, too, my father!”
But Isaac said, “Your brother came and tricked me. He has taken your blessing.”
Esau said, “Jacob is the right name for him. He has tricked me these two times. He took away my share of everything you own, and now he has taken away my blessing.” Then Esau asked, “Haven’t you saved a blessing for me?”
Isaac answered, “I gave Jacob the power to be master over you, and all his brothers will be his servants. And I kept him strong with grain and new wine. There is nothing left to give you, my son.”
But Esau continued, “Do you have only one blessing, Father? Bless me, too, Father!” Then Esau began to cry out loud.
Isaac said to him,
“You will live far away from the best land,
far from the rain.
You will live by using your sword,
and you will be a slave to your brother.
But when you struggle,
you will break free from him.”
After that Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing from Isaac. He thought to himself, “My father will soon die, and I will be sad for him. Then I will kill Jacob.”
Rebekah heard about Esau’s plan to kill Jacob. So she sent for Jacob and said to him, “Listen, your brother Esau is comforting himself by planning to kill you. So, my son, do what I say. My brother Laban is living in Haran. Go to him at once! Stay with him for a while, until your brother is not so angry. In time, your brother will not be angry, and he will forget what you did to him. Then I will send a servant to bring you back. I don’t want to lose both of my sons on the same day.”
Then Rebekah said to Isaac, “I am tired of Hittite women. If Jacob marries one of these Hittite women here in this land, I want to die.”
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 we thank you for the many blessings of this day,
Give us eyes to see the path ahead,
And faith to reach towards the prize. 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.