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 Saul sent soldiers to watch David’s house in order to kill him. To be sung to the tune “Do Not Destroy!”
Rescue me from my enemies, O God.
Protect me from those who have come to destroy me.
Rescue me from these criminals;
save me from these murderers.
They have set an ambush for me.
Fierce enemies are out there waiting, Lord,
though I have not sinned or offended them.
I have done nothing wrong,
yet they prepare to attack me.
Wake up! See what is happening and help me!
O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel,
wake up and punish those hostile nations.
Show no mercy to wicked traitors. Interlude
They come out at night,
snarling like vicious dogs
as they prowl the streets.
Listen to the filth that comes from their mouths;
their words cut like swords.
“After all, who can hear us?” they sneer.
But Lord, you laugh at them.
You scoff at all the hostile nations.
You are my strength; I wait for you to rescue me,
for you, O God, are my fortress.
In his unfailing love, my God will stand with me.
He will let me look down in triumph on all my enemies.
Don’t kill them, for my people soon forget such lessons;
stagger them with your power, and bring them to their knees,
O Lord our shield.
Because of the sinful things they say,
because of the evil that is on their lips,
let them be captured by their pride,
their curses, and their lies.
Destroy them in your anger!
Wipe them out completely!
Then the whole world will know
that God reigns in Israel. Interlude
My enemies come out at night,
snarling like vicious dogs
as they prowl the streets.
They scavenge for food
but go to sleep unsatisfied.
But as for me, I will sing about your power.
Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love.
For you have been my refuge,
a place of safety when I am in distress.
O my Strength, to you I sing praises,
for you, O God, are my refuge,
the God who shows me unfailing love.
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 Shows His Bravery
Jacob looked up and saw Esau coming, and with him were four hundred men. So Jacob divided his children among Leah, Rachel, and the two slave girls. Jacob put the slave girls with their children first, then Leah and her children behind them, and Rachel and Joseph last. Jacob himself went out in front of them and bowed down flat on the ground seven times as he was walking toward his brother.
But Esau ran to meet Jacob and put his arms around him and hugged him. Then Esau kissed him, and they both cried. When Esau looked up and saw the women and children, he asked, “Who are these people with you?”
Jacob answered, “These are the children God has given me. God has been good to me, your servant.”
Then the two slave girls and their children came up to Esau and bowed down flat on the earth before him. Leah and her children also came up to Esau and also bowed down flat on the earth. Last of all, Joseph and Rachel came up to Esau, and they, too, bowed down flat before him.
Esau said, “I saw many herds as I was coming here. Why did you bring them?”
Jacob answered, “They were to please you, my master.”
But Esau said, “I already have enough, my brother. Keep what you have.”
Jacob said, “No! Please! If I have pleased you, then accept the gift I give you. I am very happy to see your face again. It is like seeing the face of God, because you have accepted me. So I beg you to accept the gift I give you. God has been very good to me, and I have more than I need.” And because Jacob begged, Esau accepted the gift.
Then Esau said, “Let us be going. I will travel with you.”
But Jacob said to him, “My master, you know that the children are weak. And I must be careful with my flocks and their young ones. If I force them to go too far in one day, all the animals will die. So, my master, you go on ahead of me, your servant. I will follow you slowly and let the animals and the children set the speed at which we travel. I will meet you, my master, in Edom.”
So Esau said, “Then let me leave some of my people with you.”
“No, thank you,” said Jacob. “I only want to please you, my master.” So that day Esau started back to Edom. But Jacob went to Succoth, where he built a house for himself and shelters for his animals. That is why the place was named Succoth.
Jacob left Northwest Mesopotamia and arrived safely at the city of Shechem in the land of Canaan. There he camped east of the city. He bought a part of the field where he had camped from the sons of Hamor father of Shechem for one hundred pieces of silver. He built an altar there and named it after God, the God of Israel.
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 work of the morning,
For the challenges faced and the obstacles overcome.
Grant that the rest of this day be used for your glory,
As we offer ourselves afresh to you. 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.