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 the latter half of the New Testament.
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
A psalm of Asaph.
God presides over heaven’s court;
he pronounces judgment on the heavenly beings:
“How long will you hand down unjust decisions
by favoring the wicked? Interlude
“Give justice to the poor and the orphan;
uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute.
Rescue the poor and helpless;
deliver them from the grasp of evil people.
But these oppressors know nothing;
they are so ignorant!
They wander about in darkness,
while the whole world is shaken to the core.
I say, ‘You are gods;
you are all children of the Most High.
But you will die like mere mortals
and fall like every other ruler.’”
Rise up, O God, and judge the earth,
for all the nations belong to you.
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
Joseph Interprets Two Dreams
After these things happened, two of the king’s officers displeased the king—the man who served wine to the king and the king’s baker. The king became angry with his officer who served him wine and his baker, so he put them in the prison of the captain of the guard, the same prison where Joseph was kept. The captain of the guard put the two prisoners in Joseph’s care, and they stayed in prison for some time.
One night both the king’s officer who served him wine and the baker had a dream. Each had his own dream with its own meaning. When Joseph came to them the next morning, he saw they were worried. He asked the king’s officers who were with him, “Why do you look so unhappy today?”
The two men answered, “We both had dreams last night, but no one can explain their meaning to us.”
Joseph said to them, “God is the only One who can explain the meaning of dreams. Tell me your dreams.”
So the man who served wine to the king told Joseph his dream. He said, “I dreamed I saw a vine, and on the vine were three branches. I watched the branches bud and blossom, and then the grapes ripened. I was holding the king’s cup, so I took the grapes and squeezed the juice into the cup. Then I gave it to the king.”
Then Joseph said, “I will explain the dream to you. The three branches stand for three days. Before the end of three days the king will free you, and he will allow you to return to your work. You will serve the king his wine just as you did before. But when you are free, remember me. Be kind to me, and tell the king about me so I can get out of this prison. I was taken by force from the land of the Hebrews, and I have done nothing here to deserve being put in prison.”
The baker saw that Joseph’s explanation of the dream was good, so he said to him, “I also had a dream. I dreamed there were three bread baskets on my head. In the top basket were all kinds of baked food for the king, but the birds were eating this food out of the basket on my head.”
Joseph answered, “I will tell you what the dream means. The three baskets stand for three days. Before the end of three days, the king will cut off your head! He will hang your body on a pole, and the birds will eat your flesh.”
Three days later, on his birthday, the king gave a feast for all his officers. In front of his officers, he released from prison the chief officer who served his wine and the chief baker. The king gave his chief officer who served wine his old position, and once again he put the king’s cup of wine into the king’s hand. But the king hanged the baker on a pole. Everything happened just as Joseph had said it would, but the officer who served wine did not remember Joseph. He forgot all about him.
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 many blessings of this day,
Give us eyes to see the path ahead,
And faith to reach 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.