In the church calendar the long stretch of time between Pentecost and the beginning of Advent is known as ‘Ordinary Time.’ Inasmuch as we have celebrated to birth, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus and the subsequent descent of the Holy Spirit; so this time is often seen as representative of the long ‘Church Age’ when the gospel is preached to all creation.
CALL TO WORSHIP
God, come to my assistance.
Lord, make haste to help me.
All glory to God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
As it has been from the beginning, is today and forever! Amen
A prayer of David.
O Lord, hear my plea for justice.
Listen to my cry for help.
Pay attention to my prayer,
for it comes from honest lips.
Declare me innocent,
for you see those who do right.
You have tested my thoughts and examined my heart in the night.
You have scrutinized me and found nothing wrong.
I am determined not to sin in what I say.
I have followed your commands,
which keep me from following cruel and evil people.
My steps have stayed on your path;
I have not wavered from following you.
I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God.
Bend down and listen as I pray.
Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways.
By your mighty power you rescue
those who seek refuge from their enemies.
Guard me as you would guard your own eyes.
Hide me in the shadow of your wings.
Protect me from wicked people who attack me,
from murderous enemies who surround me.
They are without pity.
Listen to their boasting!
They track me down and surround me,
watching for the chance to throw me to the ground.
They are like hungry lions, eager to tear me apart—
like young lions hiding in ambush.
Arise, O Lord!
Stand against them, and bring them to their knees!
Rescue me from the wicked with your sword!
By the power of your hand, O Lord,
destroy those who look to this world for their reward.
But satisfy the hunger of your treasured ones.
May their children have plenty,
leaving an inheritance for their descendants.
Because I am righteous, I will see you.
When I awake, I will see you face to face and be satisfied.
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 Levites Are Given to God
The Lord said to Moses, “Take the Levites away from the other Israelites and make them clean. This is what you should do to make them clean: Sprinkle the cleansing water on them, and have them shave their bodies and wash their clothes so they will be clean. They must take a young bull and the grain offering of flour mixed with oil that goes with it. Then take a second young bull for a sin offering. Bring the Levites to the front of the Meeting Tent, and gather all the Israelites around. When you bring the Levites before the Lord, the Israelites should put their hands on them. Aaron will present the Levites before the Lord as an offering presented from the Israelites. Then the Levites will be ready to do the work of the Lord.
“The Levites will put their hands on the bulls’ heads—one bull will be a sin offering to the Lord, and the other will be a burnt offering, to remove the sins of the Levites so they will belong to the Lord. Make the Levites stand in front of Aaron and his sons and present the Levites as an offering to the Lord. In this way you must set apart the Levites from the other Israelites; the Levites will be mine.
“Make the Levites pure, and present them as an offering so that they may come to work at the Meeting Tent. They will be given completely to me from the Israelites; I have taken them for myself instead of the firstborn of every Israelite woman. All the firstborn in Israel—people or animals—are mine. When I killed all the firstborn in Egypt, I set the firstborn in Israel aside for myself. But I have taken the Levites instead of all the firstborn in Israel. From all the Israelites I have given the Levites to Aaron and his sons so that they may serve the Israelites at the Meeting Tent. They will help remove the Israelites’ sins so they will belong to the Lord and so that no disaster will strike the Israelites when they approach the Holy Place.”
So Moses, Aaron, and all the Israelites obeyed and did with the Levites what the Lord commanded Moses. The Levites made themselves clean and washed their clothes. Then Aaron presented them as an offering to the Lord. He also removed their sins so they would be pure. After that, the Levites came to the Meeting Tent to work, and Aaron and his sons told them what to do. They did with the Levites what the Lord commanded Moses.
The Lord said to Moses, “This command is for the Levites. Everyone twenty-five years old or older must come to the Meeting Tent, because they all have jobs to do there. At the age of fifty, they must retire from their jobs and not work again. They may help their fellow Levites with their work at the Meeting Tent, but they must not do the work themselves. This is the way you are to give the Levites their jobs.”
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.