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
Psalm 37:21-40 (Continued from Morning)
The wicked borrow and never repay,
but the godly are generous givers.
Those the Lord blesses will possess the land,
but those he curses will die.
The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.
Though they stumble, they will never fall,
for the Lord holds them by the hand.
Once I was young, and now I am old.
Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned
or their children begging for bread.
The godly always give generous loans to others,
and their children are a blessing.
Turn from evil and do good,
and you will live in the land forever.
For the Lord loves justice,
and he will never abandon the godly.
He will keep them safe forever,
but the children of the wicked will die.
The godly will possess the land
and will live there forever.
The godly offer good counsel;
they teach right from wrong.
They have made God’s law their own,
so they will never slip from his path.
The wicked wait in ambush for the godly,
looking for an excuse to kill them.
But the Lord will not let the wicked succeed
or let the godly be condemned when they are put on trial.
Put your hope in the Lord.
Travel steadily along his path.
He will honor you by giving you the land.
You will see the wicked destroyed.
I have seen wicked and ruthless people
flourishing like a tree in its native soil.
But when I looked again, they were gone!
Though I searched for them, I could not find them!
Look at those who are honest and good,
for a wonderful future awaits those who love peace.
But the rebellious will be destroyed;
they have no future.
The Lord rescues the godly;
he is their fortress in times of trouble.
The Lord helps them,
rescuing them from the wicked.
He saves them,
and they find shelter in him.
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
Jacob Searches for a Wife
Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and commanded him, “You must not marry a Canaanite woman. Go to the house of Bethuel, your mother’s father, in Northwest Mesopotamia. Laban, your mother’s brother, lives there. Marry one of his daughters. May God Almighty bless you and give you many children, and may you become a group of many peoples. May he give you and your descendants the blessing of Abraham so that you may own the land where you are now living as a stranger, the land God gave to Abraham.” So Isaac sent Jacob to Northwest Mesopotamia, to Laban the brother of Rebekah. Bethuel the Aramean was the father of Laban and Rebekah, and Rebekah was the mother of Jacob and Esau.
Esau learned that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him to Northwest Mesopotamia to find a wife there. He also learned that Isaac had commanded Jacob not to marry a Canaanite woman and that Jacob had obeyed his father and mother and had gone to Northwest Mesopotamia. So Esau saw that his father Isaac did not want his sons to marry Canaanite women. Now Esau already had wives, but he went to Ishmael son of Abraham, and he married Mahalath, Ishmael’s daughter. Mahalath was the sister of Nebaioth.
Jacob’s Dream at Bethel
Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran. When he came to a place, he spent the night there because the sun had set. He found a stone and laid his head on it to go to sleep. Jacob dreamed that there was a ladder resting on the earth and reaching up into heaven, and he saw angels of God going up and coming down the ladder. Then Jacob saw the Lord standing above the ladder, and he said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your grandfather, and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are now sleeping. Your descendants will be as many as the dust of the earth. They will spread west and east, north and south, and all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants. I am with you and will protect you everywhere you go and will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, but I did not know it.” He was afraid and said, “This place frightens me! It is surely the house of God and the gate of heaven.”
Jacob rose early in the morning and took the stone he had slept on and set it up on its end. Then he poured olive oil on the top of it. At first, the name of that city was Luz, but Jacob named it Bethel.
Then Jacob made a promise. He said, “I want God to be with me and to protect me on this journey. I want him to give me food to eat and clothes to wear so I will be able to return in peace to my father’s house. If the Lord does these things, he will be my God. This stone which I have set up on its end will be the house of God. And I will give God one-tenth of all he gives me.”
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 another morning in Your House,
For the Word as pronounced to your people,
For the Worship as presented by your people,
For the Witness as proclaimed through your people,
And for the gathering of your Bride all over the world.
We ask your blessings upon the rest of this day,
May we enjoy Sabbath rest, renewed strength and a firmer hope,
As we run the race and stretch forth 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.