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
To the faithful you show yourself faithful;
to those with integrity you show integrity.
To the pure you show yourself pure,
but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd.
You rescue the humble,
but you humiliate the proud.
You light a lamp for me.
The Lord, my God, lights up my darkness.
In your strength I can crush an army;
with my God I can scale any wall.
God’s way is perfect.
All the Lord’s promises prove true.
He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.
For who is God except the Lord?
Who but our God is a solid rock?
God arms me with strength,
and he makes my way perfect.
He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
enabling me to stand on mountain heights.
He trains my hands for battle;
he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow.
You have given me your shield of victory.
Your right hand supports me;
your help has made me great.
You have made a wide path for my feet
to keep them from slipping.
I chased my enemies and caught them;
I did not stop until they were conquered.
I struck them down so they could not get up;
they fell beneath my feet.
You have armed me with strength for the battle;
you have subdued my enemies under my feet.
You placed my foot on their necks.
I have destroyed all who hated me.
They called for help, but no one came to their rescue.
They even cried to the Lord, but he refused to answer.
I ground them as fine as dust in the wind.
I swept them into the gutter like dirt.
You gave me victory over my accusers.
You appointed me ruler over nations;
people I don’t even know now serve me.
As soon as they hear of me, they submit;
foreign nations cringe before me.
They all lose their courage
and come trembling from their strongholds.
The Lord lives! Praise to my Rock!
May the God of my salvation be exalted!
He is the God who pays back those who harm me;
he subdues the nations under me
and rescues me from my enemies.
You hold me safe beyond the reach of my enemies;
you save me from violent opponents.
For this, O Lord, I will praise you among the nations;
I will sing praises to your name.
You give great victories to your king;
you show unfailing love to your anointed,
to David and all his descendants forever.
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 Is Made Ruler over Egypt
This seemed like a very good idea to the king, and all his officers agreed. And the king asked them, “Can we find a better man than Joseph to take this job? God’s spirit is truly in him!”
So the king said to Joseph, “God has shown you all this. There is no one as wise and understanding as you are, so I will put you in charge of my palace. All the people will obey your orders, and only I will be greater than you.”
Then the king said to Joseph, “Look! I have put you in charge of all the land of Egypt.” Then the king took off from his own finger his ring with the royal seal on it, and he put it on Joseph’s finger. He gave Joseph fine linen clothes to wear, and he put a gold chain around Joseph’s neck. The king had Joseph ride in the second royal chariot, and people walked ahead of his chariot calling, “Bow down!” By doing these things, the king put Joseph in charge of all of Egypt.
The king said to him, “I am the king, and I say that no one in all the land of Egypt may lift a hand or a foot without your permission.” The king gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah. He also gave Joseph a wife named Asenath, who was the daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. So Joseph traveled through all the land of Egypt.
Joseph was thirty years old when he began serving the king of Egypt. And he left the king’s court and traveled through all the land of Egypt. During the seven good years, the crops in the land grew well. And Joseph gathered all the food produced in Egypt during those seven years of good crops and stored the food in the cities. In every city he stored grain that had been grown in the fields around that city. Joseph stored much grain, as much as the sand of the seashore—so much that he could not measure it.
Joseph’s wife was Asenath daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On. Before the years of hunger came, Joseph and Asenath had two sons. Joseph named the first son Manasseh and said, “God has made me forget all the troubles I have had and all my father’s family.” Joseph named the second son Ephraim and said, “God has given me children in the land of my troubles.”
The seven years of good crops came to an end in the land of Egypt. Then the seven years of hunger began, just as Joseph had said. In all the lands people had nothing to eat, but in Egypt there was food. The time of hunger became terrible in all of Egypt, and the people cried to the king for food. He said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph and do whatever he tells you.”
The hunger was everywhere in that part of the world. And Joseph opened the storehouses and sold grain to the people of Egypt, because the time of hunger became terrible in Egypt. And all the people in that part of the world came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain because the hunger was terrible everywhere in that part of the world.
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.