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 meditation; a psalm of David.
Only fools say in their hearts,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt, and their actions are evil;
not one of them does good!
God looks down from heaven
on the entire human race;
he looks to see if anyone is truly wise,
if anyone seeks God.
But no, all have turned away;
all have become corrupt.
No one does good,
not a single one!
Will those who do evil never learn?
They eat up my people like bread
and wouldn’t think of praying to God.
Terror will grip them,
terror like they have never known before.
God will scatter the bones of your enemies.
You will put them to shame, for God has rejected them.
Who will come from Mount Zion to rescue Israel?
When God restores his people,
Jacob will shout with joy, and Israel will rejoice.
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 Tricks Laban
After the birth of Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Now let me go to my own home and country. Give me my wives and my children and let me go. I have earned them by working for you, and you know that I have served you well.”
Laban said to him, “If I have pleased you, please stay. I know the Lord has blessed me because of you. Tell me what I should pay you, and I will give it to you.”
Jacob answered, “You know that I have worked hard for you, and your flocks have grown while I cared for them. When I came, you had little, but now you have much. Every time I did something for you, the Lord blessed you. But when will I be able to do something for my own family?”
Laban asked, “Then what should I give you?”
Jacob answered, “I don’t want you to give me anything. Just do this one thing, and I will come back and take care of your flocks. Today let me go through all your flocks. I will take every speckled or spotted sheep, every black lamb, and every spotted or speckled goat. That will be my pay. In the future you can easily see if I am honest. When you come to look at my flocks, if I have any goat that isn’t speckled or spotted or any lamb that isn’t black, you will know I stole it.”
Laban answered, “Agreed! We will do what you ask.” But that day Laban took away all the male goats that had streaks or spots, all the speckled and spotted female goats (all those that had white on them), and all the black sheep. He told his sons to watch over them. Then he took these animals to a place that was three days’ journey away from Jacob. Jacob took care of all the flocks that were left.
So Jacob cut green branches from poplar, almond, and plane trees and peeled off some of the bark so that the branches had white stripes on them. He put the branches in front of the flocks at the watering places. When the animals came to drink, they also mated there, so the flocks mated in front of the branches. Then the young that were born were streaked, speckled, or spotted. Jacob separated the young animals from the others, and he made them face the streaked and dark animals in Laban’s flock. Jacob kept his animals separate from Laban’s. When the stronger animals in the flock were mating, Jacob put the branches before their eyes so they would mate near the branches. But when the weaker animals mated, Jacob did not put the branches there. So the animals born from the weaker animals were Laban’s, and those born from the stronger animals were Jacob’s. In this way Jacob became very rich. He had large flocks, many male and female servants, camels, and donkeys.
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.