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
Praise the Lord!
Yes, give praise, O servants of the Lord.
Praise the name of the Lord!
Blessed be the name of the Lord
now and forever.
Everywhere—from east to west—
praise the name of the Lord.
For the Lord is high above the nations;
his glory is higher than the heavens.
Who can be compared with the Lord our God,
who is enthroned on high?
He stoops to look down
on heaven and on earth.
He lifts the poor from the dust
and the needy from the garbage dump.
He sets them among princes,
even the princes of his own people!
He gives the childless woman a family,
making her a happy mother.
Praise 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
Then Moses went down the mountain, and in his hands he had the two stone tablets with the Agreement on them. The commands were written on both sides of each stone, front and back. God himself had made the tablets, and God himself had written the commands on the tablets.
When Joshua heard the sound of the people shouting, he said to Moses, “It sounds like war down in the camp.”
“It is not a shout of victory;
it is not a cry of defeat.
It is the sound of singing that I hear.”
When Moses came close to the camp, he saw the gold calf and the dancing, and he became very angry. He threw down the stone tablets that he was carrying and broke them at the bottom of the mountain. Then he took the calf that the people had made and melted it in the fire. He ground it into powder. Then he threw the powder into the water and forced the Israelites to drink it.
Moses said to Aaron, “What did these people do to you? Why did you cause them to do such a terrible sin?”
Aaron answered, “Don’t be angry, master. You know that these people are always ready to do wrong. The people said to me, ‘Moses led us out of Egypt, but we don’t know what has happened to him. Make us gods who will lead us.’ So I told the people, ‘Take off your gold jewelry.’ When they gave me the gold, I threw it into the fire and out came this calf!”
Moses saw that the people were acting wildly. Aaron had let them get out of control and become fools in front of their enemies. So Moses stood at the entrance to the camp and said, “Let anyone who wants to follow the Lord come to me.” And all the people from the family of Levi gathered around Moses.
Then Moses said to them, “The Lord, the God of Israel, says this: ‘Every man must put on his sword and go through the camp from one end to the other. Each man must kill his brother, his friend, and his neighbor.’” The people from the family of Levi obeyed Moses, and that day about three thousand of the Israelites died. Then Moses said, “Today you have been given for service to the Lord. You were willing to kill your own sons and brothers, and God has blessed you for this.”
The next day Moses told the people, “You have done a terrible sin. But now I will go up to the Lord. Maybe I can do something so your sins will be removed.” So Moses went back to the Lord and said, “How terribly these people have sinned! They have made for themselves gods from gold. Now, please forgive them of this sin. If you will not, then erase my name from the book in which you have written the names of your people.”
But the Lord told Moses, “I will erase from my book the names of the people who sin against me. So now, go. Lead the people where I have told you, and my angel will lead you. When the time comes to punish, I will punish them for their sin.”
So the Lord caused terrible things to happen to the people because of what they did with the calf Aaron had made.
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…)
Mighty God, as we come to the end of our week,
Grant your blessings over all we love and your increase upon all we do,
We ask this in Jesus name. 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.