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
Some went off to sea in ships,
plying the trade routes of the world.
They, too, observed the Lord’s power in action,
his impressive works on the deepest seas.
He spoke, and the winds rose,
stirring up the waves.
Their ships were tossed to the heavens
and plunged again to the depths;
the sailors cringed in terror.
They reeled and staggered like drunkards
and were at their wits’ end.
“Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.
He calmed the storm to a whisper
and stilled the waves.
What a blessing was that stillness
as he brought them safely into harbor!
Let them praise the Lord for his great love
and for the wonderful things he has done for them.
Let them exalt him publicly before the congregation
and before the leaders of the nation.
He changes rivers into deserts,
and springs of water into dry, thirsty land.
He turns the fruitful land into salty wastelands,
because of the wickedness of those who live there.
But he also turns deserts into pools of water,
the dry land into springs of water.
He brings the hungry to settle there
and to build their cities.
They sow their fields, plant their vineyards,
and harvest their bumper crops.
How he blesses them!
They raise large families there,
and their herds of livestock increase.
When they decrease in number and become impoverished
through oppression, trouble, and sorrow,
the Lord pours contempt on their princes,
causing them to wander in trackless wastelands.
But he rescues the poor from trouble
and increases their families like flocks of sheep.
The godly will see these things and be glad,
while the wicked are struck silent.
Those who are wise will take all this to heart;
they will see in our history the faithful love of 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
The Bronze Bowl
The Lord said to Moses, “Make a bronze bowl, on a bronze stand, for washing. Put the bowl and stand between the Meeting Tent and the altar, and put water in the bowl. Aaron and his sons must wash their hands and feet with the water from this bowl. Each time they enter the Meeting Tent they must wash with water so they will not die. Whenever they approach the altar to serve as priests and offer a sacrifice to the Lord by fire, they must wash their hands and their feet so they will not die. This is a rule which Aaron and his descendants are to keep from now on.”
Oil for Appointing
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Take the finest spices: twelve pounds of liquid myrrh, half that amount (that is, six pounds) of sweet-smelling cinnamon, six pounds of sweet-smelling cane, and twelve pounds of cassia. Weigh all these by the Holy Place measure. Also take four quarts of olive oil, and mix all these things like a perfume to make a holy olive oil. This special oil must be put on people and things to make them ready for service to God. Put this oil on the Meeting Tent and the Ark of the Agreement, on the table and all its dishes, on the lampstand and all its tools, and on the incense altar. Also, put the oil on the altar for burnt offerings and on all its tools, as well as on the bowl and the stand under the bowl. You will prepare all these things for service to God, and they will be very holy. Anything that touches these things must be holy.
“Put the oil on Aaron and his sons to give them for service to me, that they may serve me as priests. Tell the Israelites, ‘This is to be my holy olive oil from now on. It is to be put on people and things to make them ready for service to God. Do not pour it on the bodies of ordinary people, and do not make perfume the same way you make this oil. It is holy, and you must treat it as holy. If anyone makes perfume like it or puts it on someone who is not a priest, that person must be cut off from his people.’”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Take these sweet-smelling spices: resin, onycha, galbanum, and pure frankincense. Be sure that you have equal amounts of each. Make incense as a person who makes perfume would do. Add salt to it to keep it pure and holy. Beat some of the incense into a fine powder, and put it in front of the Ark of the Agreement in the Meeting Tent, where I will meet with you. You must use this incense powder only for its very special purpose. Do not make incense for yourselves the same way you make this incense. Treat it as holy to the Lord. Whoever makes incense like this to use as perfume must be cut off from his people.”
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.