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 the Ziphites came and said to Saul, “We know where David is hiding.” To be accompanied by stringed instruments.
Come with great power, O God, and rescue me!
Defend me with your might.
Listen to my prayer, O God.
Pay attention to my plea.
For strangers are attacking me;
violent people are trying to kill me.
They care nothing for God. Interlude
But God is my helper.
The Lord keeps me alive!
May the evil plans of my enemies be turned against them.
Do as you promised and put an end to them.
I will sacrifice a voluntary offering to you;
I will praise your name, O Lord,
for it is good.
For you have rescued me from my troubles
and helped me to triumph over my enemies.
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 Runs Away
One day Jacob heard Laban’s sons talking. They said, “Jacob has taken everything our father owned, and in this way he has become rich.” Then Jacob noticed that Laban was not as friendly as he had been before. The Lord said to Jacob, “Go back to the land where your ancestors lived, and I will be with you.”
So Jacob told Rachel and Leah to meet him in the field where he kept his flocks. He said to them, “I have seen that your father is not as friendly with me as he used to be, but the God of my father has been with me. You both know that I have worked as hard as I could for your father, but he cheated me and changed my pay ten times. But God has not allowed your father to harm me. When Laban said, ‘You can have all the speckled animals as your pay,’ all the animals gave birth to speckled young ones. But when he said, ‘You can have all the streaked animals as your pay,’ all the flocks gave birth to streaked babies. So God has taken the animals away from your father and has given them to me.
“I had a dream during the season when the flocks were mating. I saw that the only male goats who were mating were streaked, speckled, or spotted. The angel of God spoke to me in that dream and said, ‘Jacob!’ I answered, ‘Yes!’ The angel said, ‘Look! Only the streaked, speckled, or spotted male goats are mating. I have seen all the wrong things Laban has been doing to you. I am the God who appeared to you at Bethel, where you poured olive oil on the stone you set up on end and where you made a promise to me. Now I want you to leave here and go back to the land where you were born.’”
Rachel and Leah answered Jacob, “Our father has nothing to give us when he dies. He has treated us like strangers. He sold us to you, and then he spent all of the money you paid for us. God took all this wealth from our father, and now it belongs to us and our children. So do whatever God has told you to do.”
So Jacob put his children and his wives on camels, and they began their journey back to Isaac, his father, in the land of Canaan. All the flocks of animals that Jacob owned walked ahead of them. He carried everything with him that he had gotten while he lived in Northwest Mesopotamia.
While Laban was gone to cut the wool from his sheep, Rachel stole the idols that belonged to him. And Jacob tricked Laban the Aramean by not telling him he was leaving. Jacob and his family left quickly, crossed the Euphrates River, and traveled toward the mountains of Gilead.
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 Father, we commit to you the work already done today,
Bless the work of our hands and forgive our many errors,
That we may we be empowered to serve you ever more fully. 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.