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 prayer of Moses, the man of God.
Lord, through all the generations
you have been our home!
Before the mountains were born,
before you gave birth to the earth and the world,
from beginning to end, you are God.
You turn people back to dust, saying,
“Return to dust, you mortals!”
For you, a thousand years are as a passing day,
as brief as a few night hours.
You sweep people away like dreams that disappear.
They are like grass that springs up in the morning.
In the morning it blooms and flourishes,
but by evening it is dry and withered.
We wither beneath your anger;
we are overwhelmed by your fury.
You spread out our sins before you—
our secret sins—and you see them all.
We live our lives beneath your wrath,
ending our years with a groan.
Seventy years are given to us!
Some even live to eighty.
But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble;
soon they disappear, and we fly away.
Who can comprehend the power of your anger?
Your wrath is as awesome as the fear you deserve.
Teach us to realize the brevity of life,
so that we may grow in wisdom.
O Lord, come back to us!
How long will you delay?
Take pity on your servants!
Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love,
so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives.
Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery!
Replace the evil years with good.
Let us, your servants, see you work again;
let our children see your glory.
And may the Lord our God show us his approval
and make our efforts successful.
Yes, make our efforts successful!
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
A Funeral Song for Tyre
The Lord spoke his word to me, saying: “Human, sing a funeral song for the city of Tyre. Speak to Tyre, which has ports for the Mediterranean Sea and is a place for trade for the people of many lands along the seacoast. ‘This is what the Lord God says:
Tyre, you have said,
“I am like a beautiful ship.”
You were at home on the high seas.
Your builders made your beauty perfect.
They made all your boards
of fir trees from Mount Hermon.
They took a cedar tree from Lebanon
to make a ship’s mast for you.
They made your oars
from oak trees from Bashan.
They made your deck
from cypress trees from the coast of Cyprus
and set ivory into it.
Your sail of linen with designs sewed on it came from Egypt
and became like a flag for you.
Your cloth shades over the deck were blue and purple
and came from the island of Cyprus.
Men from Sidon and Arvad used oars to row you.
Tyre, your skilled men were the sailors on your deck.
Workers of Byblos were with you,
putting caulk in your ship’s seams.
All the ships of the sea and their sailors
came alongside to trade with you.
“‘Men of Persia, Lydia, and Put
were warriors in your navy
and hung their shields and helmets on your sides.
They made you look beautiful.
Men of Arvad and Cilicia
guarded your city walls all around.
Men of Gammad
were in your watchtowers
and hung their shields around your walls.
They made your beauty perfect.
“‘People of Tarshish became traders for you because of your great wealth. They traded your goods for silver, iron, tin, and lead.
“‘People of Greece, Tubal, and Meshech became merchants for you. They traded your goods for slaves and items of bronze.
“‘People of Beth Togarmah traded your goods for work horses, war horses, and mules.
“‘People of Rhodes became merchants for you, selling your goods on many coastlands. They brought back ivory tusks and valuable black wood as your payment.
“‘People of Aram became traders for you, because you had so many good things to sell. They traded your goods for turquoise, purple cloth, cloth with designs sewed on, fine linen, coral, and rubies.
“‘People of Judah and Israel became merchants for you. They traded your goods for wheat from Minnith, and for honey, olive oil, and balm.
“‘People of Damascus became traders for you because you have many good things and great wealth. They traded your goods for wine from Helbon, wool from Zahar, and barrels of wine from Izal. They received wrought iron, cassia, and sugar cane in payment for your good things.
“‘People of Dedan became merchants for you, trading saddle blankets for riding.
“‘People of Arabia and all the rulers of Kedar became traders for you. They received lambs, male sheep, and goats in payment for you.
“‘The merchants of Sheba and Raamah became merchants for you. They traded your goods for all the best spices, valuable gems, and gold.
“‘People of Haran, Canneh, Eden, and the traders of Sheba, Asshur, and Kilmad became merchants for you. They were paid with the best clothes, blue cloth, cloth with designs sewed on, carpets of many colors, and tightly wound ropes.
carried the things you sold.
You were like a ship full of heavy cargo
in the middle of the sea.
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.