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
A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem. A psalm of David.
What if the Lord had not been on our side?
Let all Israel repeat:
What if the Lord had not been on our side
when people attacked us?
They would have swallowed us alive
in their burning anger.
The waters would have engulfed us;
a torrent would have overwhelmed us.
Yes, the raging waters of their fury
would have overwhelmed our very lives.
Praise the Lord,
who did not let their teeth tear us apart!
We escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap.
The trap is broken, and we are free!
Our help is from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
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 Time of Rest for the Land
The Lord said to Moses at Mount Sinai, “Tell the people of Israel this: ‘When you enter the land I will give you, let it have a special time of rest, to honor the Lord. You may plant seed in your field for six years, and you may trim your vineyards for six years and bring in their fruits. But during the seventh year, you must let the land rest. This will be a special time to honor the Lord. You must not plant seed in your field or trim your vineyards. You must not cut the crops that grow by themselves after harvest, or gather the grapes from your vines that are not trimmed. The land will have a year of rest.
“‘You may eat whatever the land produces during that year of rest. It will be food for your men and women servants, for your hired workers, and for the foreigners living in your country. It will also be food for your cattle and the wild animals of your land. Whatever the land produces may be eaten.
The Year of Jubilee
“‘Count off seven groups of seven years, or forty-nine years. During that time there will be seven years of rest for the land. On the Day of Cleansing, you must blow the horn of a male sheep; this will be on the tenth day of the seventh month. You must blow the horn through the whole country. Make the fiftieth year a special year, and announce freedom for all the people living in your country. This time will be called Jubilee. You will each go back to your own property, each to your own family and family group. The fiftieth year will be a special time for you to celebrate. Don’t plant seeds, or harvest the crops that grow by themselves, or gather grapes from the vines that are not trimmed. That year is Jubilee; it will be a holy time for you. You may eat only the crops that come from the field. In the year of Jubilee you each must go back to your own property.
“‘If you sell your land to your neighbor, or if you buy land from your neighbor, don’t cheat each other. If you want to buy your neighbor’s land, count the number of years since the last Jubilee, and use that number to decide the right price. If your neighbor sells the land to you, count the number of years left for harvesting crops, and use that number to decide the right price. If there are many years, the price will be high. But if there are only a few years, lower the price, because your neighbor is really selling only a few crops to you. You must not cheat each other, but you must respect your God. I am the Lord your God.
“‘Remember my laws and rules, and obey them so that you will live safely in the land. The land will give good crops to you, and you will eat as much as you want and live safely in the land.
“‘But you might ask, “If we don’t plant seeds or gather crops, what will we eat the seventh year?” I will send you such a great blessing during the sixth year that the land will produce enough crops for three years. When you plant in the eighth year, you will still be eating from the old crop; you will eat the old crop until the harvest of the ninth year.
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.