We are currently in the season of Lent, which is the traditional 40 days of prayer, fasting, reflection and repentance that precedes the great Easter celebrations. Just as Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness learning to overcome the Enemy, so we set this time aside for spiritual warfare and renewal. It is common during this time to imitate the simplicity of Jesus in the wilderness by abstaining from rich foods and strong drink during this season, and to devote extra time to the practice of the spiritual disciplines.
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.
O God, why have you rejected us so long?
Why is your anger so intense against the sheep of your own pasture?
Remember that we are the people you chose long ago,
the tribe you redeemed as your own special possession!
And remember Jerusalem, your home here on earth.
Walk through the awful ruins of the city;
see how the enemy has destroyed your sanctuary.
There your enemies shouted their victorious battle cries;
there they set up their battle standards.
They swung their axes
like woodcutters in a forest.
With axes and picks,
they smashed the carved paneling.
They burned your sanctuary to the ground.
They defiled the place that bears your name.
Then they thought, “Let’s destroy everything!”
So they burned down all the places where God was worshiped.
We no longer see your miraculous signs.
All the prophets are gone,
and no one can tell us when it will end.
How long, O God, will you allow our enemies to insult you?
Will you let them dishonor your name forever?
Why do you hold back your strong right hand?
Unleash your powerful fist and destroy them.
You, O God, are my king from ages past,
bringing salvation to the earth.
You split the sea by your strength
and smashed the heads of the sea monsters.
You crushed the heads of Leviathan
and let the desert animals eat him.
You caused the springs and streams to gush forth,
and you dried up rivers that never run dry.
Both day and night belong to you;
you made the starlight and the sun.
You set the boundaries of the earth,
and you made both summer and winter.
See how these enemies insult you, Lord.
A foolish nation has dishonored your name.
Don’t let these wild beasts destroy your turtledoves.
Don’t forget your suffering people forever.
Remember your covenant promises,
for the land is full of darkness and violence!
Don’t let the downtrodden be humiliated again.
Instead, let the poor and needy praise your name.
Arise, O God, and defend your cause.
Remember how these fools insult you all day long.
Don’t overlook what your enemies have said
or their growing uproar.
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 the Dreamer
Jacob lived in the land of Canaan, where his father had lived. This is the family history of Jacob:
Joseph was a young man, seventeen years old. He and his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives, cared for the flocks. Joseph gave his father bad reports about his brothers. Since Joseph was born when his father Israel was old, Israel loved him more than his other sons. He made Joseph a special robe with long sleeves. When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father loved him more than he loved them, they hated their brother and could not speak to him politely.
One time Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers about it, they hated him even more. Joseph said, “Listen to the dream I had. We were in the field tying bundles of wheat together. My bundle stood up, and your bundles of wheat gathered around it and bowed down to it.”
His brothers said, “Do you really think you will be king over us? Do you truly think you will rule over us?” His brothers hated him even more because of his dreams and what he had said.
Then Joseph had another dream, and he told his brothers about it also. He said, “Listen, I had another dream. I saw the sun, moon, and eleven stars bowing down to me.”
Joseph also told his father about this dream, but his father scolded him, saying, “What kind of dream is this? Do you really believe that your mother, your brothers, and I will bow down to you?” Joseph’s brothers were jealous of him, but his father thought about what all these things could mean.
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, you worked with your hands as a carpenter.
May we who labour upon the earth never cease to give you praise,
And know your loving presence with us.
We ask this for your glory. 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.