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 David.
The Lord is my light and my salvation—
so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
so why should I tremble?
When evil people come to devour me,
when my enemies and foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.
Though a mighty army surrounds me,
my heart will not be afraid.
Even if I am attacked,
I will remain confident.
The one thing I ask of the Lord—
the thing I seek most—
is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
delighting in the Lord’s perfections
and meditating in his Temple.
For he will conceal me there when troubles come;
he will hide me in his sanctuary.
He will place me out of reach on a high rock.
Then I will hold my head high
above my enemies who surround me.
At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy,
singing and praising the Lord with music.
Hear me as I pray, O Lord.
Be merciful and answer me!
My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”
Do not turn your back on me.
Do not reject your servant in anger.
You have always been my helper.
Don’t leave me now; don’t abandon me,
O God of my salvation!
Even if my father and mother abandon me,
the Lord will hold me close.
Teach me how to live, O Lord.
Lead me along the right path,
for my enemies are waiting for me.
Do not let me fall into their hands.
For they accuse me of things I’ve never done;
with every breath they threaten me with violence.
Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness
while I am here in the land of the living.
Wait patiently for the Lord.
Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.
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 Reveals Who He Is
Joseph could not control himself in front of his servants any longer, so he cried out, “Have everyone leave me.” When only the brothers were left with Joseph, he told them who he was. Joseph cried so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and the people in the king’s palace heard about it. He said to his brothers, “I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?” But the brothers could not answer him, because they were very afraid of him.
So Joseph said to them, “Come close to me.” When the brothers came close to him, he said to them, “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold as a slave to go to Egypt. Now don’t be worried or angry with yourselves because you sold me here. God sent me here ahead of you to save people’s lives. No food has grown on the land for two years now, and there will be five more years without planting or harvest. So God sent me here ahead of you to make sure you have some descendants left on earth and to keep you alive in an amazing way. So it was not you who sent me here, but God. God has made me the highest officer of the king of Egypt. I am in charge of his palace, and I am the master of all the land of Egypt.
“So leave quickly and go to my father. Tell him, ‘Your son Joseph says: God has made me master over all Egypt. Come down to me quickly. Live in the land of Goshen where you will be near me. Your children, your grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all that you have will also be near me. I will care for you during the next five years of hunger so that you and your family and all that you have will not starve.’
“Now you can see for yourselves, and so can my brother Benjamin, that the one speaking to you is really Joseph. So tell my father about how powerful I have become in Egypt. Tell him about everything you have seen. Now hurry and bring him back to me.” Then Joseph hugged his brother Benjamin and cried, and Benjamin cried also. And Joseph kissed all his brothers and cried as he hugged them. After this, his brothers talked with him.
When the king of Egypt and his officers learned that Joseph’s brothers had come, they were very happy. So the king said to Joseph, “Tell your brothers to load their animals and go back to the land of Canaan and bring their father and their families back here to me. I will give them the best land in Egypt, and they will eat the best food we have here. Tell them to take some wagons from Egypt for their children and their wives and to bring their father back also. Tell them not to worry about bringing any of their things with them, because we will give them the best of what we have in Egypt.”
So the sons of Israel did this. Joseph gave them wagons as the king had ordered and food for their trip. He gave each brother a change of clothes, but he gave Benjamin five changes of clothes and about seven and one-half pounds of silver. Joseph also sent his father ten donkeys loaded with the best things from Egypt and ten female donkeys loaded with grain, bread, and other food for his father on his trip back. Then Joseph told his brothers to go. As they were leaving, he said to them, “Don’t quarrel on the way home.”
So the brothers left Egypt and went to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan. They told him, “Joseph is still alive and is the ruler over all the land of Egypt.” Their father was shocked and did not believe them. But when the brothers told him everything Joseph had said, and when Jacob saw the wagons Joseph had sent to carry him back to Egypt, he felt better. Israel said, “Now I believe you. My son Joseph is still alive, and I will go and see him before I die.”
Jacob Goes to Egypt
So Israel took all he had and started his trip. He went to Beersheba, where he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. During the night God spoke to Israel in a vision and said, “Jacob, Jacob.”
And Jacob answered, “Here I am.”
Then God said, “I am God, the God of your father. Don’t be afraid to go to Egypt, because I will make your descendants a great nation there. I will go to Egypt with you, and I will bring you out of Egypt again. Joseph’s own hands will close your eyes when you die.”
Then Jacob left Beersheba. The sons of Israel loaded their father, their children, and their wives in the wagons the king of Egypt had sent. They also took their farm animals and everything they had gotten in Canaan. So Jacob went to Egypt with all his descendants— his sons and grandsons, his daughters and granddaughters. He took all his family to Egypt with 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…)
Mighty God, as we come to the end of our week,
Grant your blessings over all we love and your increase upon all we do,
We ask this in Jesus name. 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.