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
For the choir director: A psalm of Asaph. A song to be accompanied by stringed instruments.
God is honored in Judah;
his name is great in Israel.
Jerusalem is where he lives;
Mount Zion is his home.
There he has broken the fiery arrows of the enemy,
the shields and swords and weapons of war. Interlude
You are glorious and more majestic
than the everlasting mountains.
Our boldest enemies have been plundered.
They lie before us in the sleep of death.
No warrior could lift a hand against us.
At the blast of your breath, O God of Jacob,
their horses and chariots lay still.
No wonder you are greatly feared!
Who can stand before you when your anger explodes?
From heaven you sentenced your enemies;
the earth trembled and stood silent before you.
You stand up to judge those who do evil, O God,
and to rescue the oppressed of the earth. Interlude
Human defiance only enhances your glory,
for you use it as a weapon.
Make vows to the Lord your God, and keep them.
Let everyone bring tribute to the Awesome One.
For he breaks the pride of princes,
and the kings of the earth fear him.
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
God Will Help Israel
“I am sending an angel ahead of you, who will protect you as you travel. He will lead you to the place I have prepared. Pay attention to the angel and obey him. Do not turn against him; he will not forgive such turning against him because my power is in him. If you listen carefully to all he says and do everything that I tell you, I will be an enemy to your enemies. I will fight all who fight against you. My angel will go ahead of you and take you into the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites, and Jebusites, and I will destroy them.
“You must not bow down to their gods or worship them. You must not live the way those people live. You must destroy their idols, breaking into pieces the stone pillars they use in worship. If you worship the Lord your God, I will bless your bread and your water. I will take away sickness from you. None of your women will have her baby die before it is born, and all women will have children. I will allow you to live long lives.
“I will make your enemies afraid of me. I will confuse any people you fight against, and I will make all your enemies run away from you. I will send terror ahead of you that will force the Hivites, Canaanites, and Hittites out of your way. But I will not force all those people out in only one year. If I did, the land would become a desert and the wild animals would become too many for you. Instead, I will force those people out slowly, until there are enough of you to take over the land.
“I will give you the land from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, and from the desert to the Euphrates River. I will give you power over the people who now live in the land, and you will force them out ahead of you. You must not make an agreement with those people or with their gods. You must not let them live in your land, or they will make you sin against me. If you worship their gods, you will be caught in a trap.”
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…)
Holy Father, we commit to you the work already done today,
Bless the work of our hands and forgive our many errors,
That we may we be empowered to serve you ever more fully. 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.