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 David, regarding the time Doeg the Edomite said to Saul, “David has gone to see Ahimelech.”
Why do you boast about your crimes, great warrior?
Don’t you realize God’s justice continues forever?
All day long you plot destruction.
Your tongue cuts like a sharp razor;
you’re an expert at telling lies.
You love evil more than good
and lies more than truth. Interlude
You love to destroy others with your words,
But God will strike you down once and for all.
He will pull you from your home
and uproot you from the land of the living. Interlude
The righteous will see it and be amazed.
They will laugh and say,
“Look what happens to mighty warriors
who do not trust in God.
They trust their wealth instead
and grow more and more bold in their wickedness.”
But I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God.
I will always trust in God’s unfailing love.
I will praise you forever, O God,
for what you have done.
I will trust in your good name
in the presence of your faithful people.
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
Genesis 29:31 – 30:24
Jacob’s Family Grows
When the Lord saw that Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah, he made it possible for Leah to have children, but not Rachel. Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, because she said, “The Lord has seen my troubles. Surely now my husband will love me.”
Leah became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She named him Simeon and said, “The Lord has heard that I am not loved, so he has given me this son.”
Leah became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She named him Levi and said, “Now, surely my husband will be close to me, because I have given him three sons.”
Then Leah gave birth to another son. She named him Judah, because she said, “Now I will praise the Lord.” Then Leah stopped having children.
When Rachel saw that she was not having children for Jacob, she envied her sister Leah. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!” Jacob became angry with her and said, “Can I do what only God can do? He is the one who has kept you from having children.”
Then Rachel said, “Here is my slave girl Bilhah. Have sexual relations with her so she can give birth to a child for me. Then I can have my own family through her.”
So Rachel gave Bilhah, her slave girl, to Jacob as a wife, and he had sexual relations with her. She became pregnant and gave Jacob a son. Rachel said, “God has judged me innocent. He has listened to my prayer and has given me a son,” so she named him Dan.
Bilhah became pregnant again and gave Jacob a second son. Rachel said, “I have struggled hard with my sister, and I have won.” So she named that son Naphtali.
Leah saw that she had stopped having children, so she gave her slave girl Zilpah to Jacob as a wife. When Zilpah had a son, Leah said, “I am lucky,” so she named him Gad. Zilpah gave birth to another son, and Leah said, “I am very happy! Now women will call me happy,” so she named him Asher.
During the wheat harvest Reuben went into the field and found some mandrake plants and brought them to his mother Leah. But Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.”
Leah answered, “You have already taken away my husband, and now you are trying to take away my son’s mandrakes.”
But Rachel answered, “If you will give me your son’s mandrakes, you may sleep with Jacob tonight.”
When Jacob came in from the field that night, Leah went out to meet him. She said, “You will have sexual relations with me tonight because I have paid for you with my son’s mandrakes.” So Jacob slept with her that night.
Then God answered Leah’s prayer, and she became pregnant again. She gave birth to a fifth son and said, “God has given me what I paid for, because I gave my slave girl to my husband.” So Leah named her son Issachar.
Leah became pregnant again and gave birth to a sixth son. She said, “God has given me a fine gift. Now surely Jacob will honor me, because I have given him six sons,” so she named him Zebulun. Later Leah gave birth to a daughter and named her Dinah.
Then God remembered Rachel and answered her prayer, making it possible for her to have children. When she became pregnant and gave birth to a son, she said, “God has taken away my shame,” and she named him Joseph. Rachel said, “I wish the Lord would give me another 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…)
Lord Jesus, you worked with your hands as a carpenter.
May we who labour upon the earth never cease to give you praise,
And know your loving presence with us.
We ask this for your glory. 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.