We are currently in the season of Eastertide. Easter is the annual celebration of the resurrection of the Lord, and has been observed from the earliest days of the church. In the Jewish calendar, Jesus died during the Passover Feast, and the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Day of Pentecost, 50 days later. The church follows this sequence of events, with the season of Eastertide occupying the 50 days between the two great festivals.
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
O Lord, I have come to you for protection;
don’t let me be disgraced.
Save me and rescue me,
for you do what is right.
Turn your ear to listen to me,
and set me free.
Be my rock of safety
where I can always hide.
Give the order to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
My God, rescue me from the power of the wicked,
from the clutches of cruel oppressors.
O Lord, you alone are my hope.
I’ve trusted you, O Lord, from childhood.
Yes, you have been with me from birth;
from my mother’s womb you have cared for me.
No wonder I am always praising you!
My life is an example to many,
because you have been my strength and protection.
That is why I can never stop praising you;
I declare your glory all day long.
And now, in my old age, don’t set me aside.
Don’t abandon me when my strength is failing.
For my enemies are whispering against me.
They are plotting together to kill me.
They say, “God has abandoned him.
Let’s go and get him,
for no one will help him now.”
O God, don’t stay away.
My God, please hurry to help me.
Bring disgrace and destruction on my accusers.
Humiliate and shame those who want to harm me.
But I will keep on hoping for your help;
I will praise you more and more.
I will tell everyone about your righteousness.
All day long I will proclaim your saving power,
though I am not skilled with words.
I will praise your mighty deeds, O Sovereign Lord.
I will tell everyone that you alone are just.
O God, you have taught me from my earliest childhood,
and I constantly tell others about the wonderful things you do.
Now that I am old and gray,
do not abandon me, O God.
Let me proclaim your power to this new generation,
your mighty miracles to all who come after me.
Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the highest heavens.
You have done such wonderful things.
Who can compare with you, O God?
You have allowed me to suffer much hardship,
but you will restore me to life again
and lift me up from the depths of the earth.
You will restore me to even greater honor
and comfort me once again.
Then I will praise you with music on the harp,
because you are faithful to your promises, O my God.
I will sing praises to you with a lyre,
O Holy One of Israel.
I will shout for joy and sing your praises,
for you have ransomed me.
I will tell about your righteous deeds
all day long,
for everyone who tried to hurt me
has been shamed and humiliated.
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
“If a man steals a bull or a sheep and kills or sells it, he must pay back five bulls for the one bull he stole and four sheep for the one sheep he stole.
“The robber who is caught must pay back what he stole. If he owns nothing, he must be sold as a slave to pay for what he stole. If the stolen animal is found alive with the robber, he must give the owner two animals for every animal he stole, whether it was a bull, donkey, or sheep.
“If a thief is killed while breaking into a house at night, the one who killed him is not guilty of murder. But if this happens during the day, he is guilty of murder.
“If a man lets his farm animal graze in his field or vineyard, and it wanders into another man’s field or vineyard, the owner of the animal must pay back the loss from the best of his crop.
“Suppose a man starts a fire that spreads through the thornbushes to his neighbor’s field. If the fire burns his neighbor’s growing grain or grain that has been stacked, or if it burns his whole field, the person who started the fire must pay for what was burned.
“Suppose a man gives his neighbor money or other things to keep for him and those things are stolen from the neighbor’s house. If the thief is caught, he must pay back twice as much as he stole. But if the thief is never found, the owner of the house must make a promise before God that he has not stolen his neighbor’s things.
“Suppose two men disagree about who owns something—whether ox, donkey, sheep, clothing, or something else that is lost. If each says, ‘This is mine,’ each man must bring his case to God. God’s judges will decide who is guilty, and that person must pay the other man twice as much as the object is worth.
“Suppose a man asks his neighbor to keep his donkey, ox, sheep, or some other animal for him, and that animal dies, gets hurt, or is taken away, without anyone seeing what happened. That neighbor must promise before the Lord that he did not harm or kill the other man’s animal, and the owner of the animal must accept his promise made before God. The neighbor does not have to pay the owner for the animal. But if the animal was stolen from the neighbor, he must pay the owner for it. If wild animals killed it, the neighbor must bring the body as proof, and he will not have to pay for the animal that was killed.
“If a man borrows an animal from his neighbor, and it gets hurt or dies while the owner is not there, the one who borrowed it must pay the owner for the animal. But if the owner is with the animal, the one who borrowed it does not have to pay. If the animal was rented, the rental price covers the loss.
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.