Year V: Week 12 of Ordinary Time

Wednesday: Afternoon Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

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 the 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. Because of that, our intercessions during this period will include prayers for every single nation of the world by name.


CALL TO WORSHIP

Reader:
God, come to my assistance.
All: 
Lord, make haste to help me.

Reader:
All glory to God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
All:
As it has been from the beginning, is today and forever! Amen


AFTERNOON PSALM

Psalm 131

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem. A psalm of David.

Lord, my heart is not proud;
    my eyes are not haughty.
I don’t concern myself with matters too great
    or too awesome for me to grasp.
Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself,
    like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk.
    Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.

O Israel, put your hope in the Lord
    now and always.

All:  
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


WORSHIP 
(Optional)

All:  
(A short time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous.  Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)


OLD TESTAMENT READING

Numbers 16:1-35

Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and On

Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and On turned against Moses. (Korah was the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi; Dathan and Abiram were brothers, the sons of Eliab; and On was the son of Peleth; Dathan, Abiram, and On were from the tribe of Reuben.) These men gathered two hundred fifty other Israelite men, well-known leaders chosen by the community, and challenged Moses. They came as a group to speak to Moses and Aaron and said, “You have gone too far. All the people are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. So why do you put yourselves above all the people of the Lord?”

When Moses heard this, he bowed facedown. Then he said to Korah and all his followers: “Tomorrow morning the Lord will show who belongs to him. He will bring the one who is holy near to him; he will bring to himself the person he chooses. So Korah, you and all your followers do this: Get some pans for burning incense. Tomorrow put fire and incense in them and take them before the Lord. He will choose the man who is holy. You Levites have gone too far.”

Moses also said to Korah, “Listen, you Levites. The God of Israel has separated you from the rest of the Israelites. He brought you near to himself to do the work in the Lord’s Holy Tent and to stand before all the Israelites and serve them. Isn’t that enough? He has brought you and all your fellow Levites near to himself, yet now you want to be priests. You and your followers have joined together against the Lord. Your complaint is not against Aaron.”

Then Moses called Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, but they said, “We will not come! You have brought us out of a fertile land to this desert to kill us, and now you want to order us around. You haven’t brought us into a fertile land; you haven’t given us any land with fields and vineyards. Will you put out the eyes of these men? No! We will not come!”

Then Moses became very angry and said to the Lord, “Don’t accept their gifts. I have not taken anything from them, not even a donkey, and I have not done wrong to any of them.”

Then Moses said to Korah, “You and all your followers must stand before the Lord tomorrow. And Aaron will stand there with you and them. Each of you must take your pan and put incense in it; present these two hundred fifty pans before the Lord. You and Aaron must also present your pans.” So each man got his pan and put burning incense in it and stood with Moses and Aaron at the entrance to the Meeting Tent. Korah gathered all his followers who were against Moses and Aaron, and they stood at the entrance to the Meeting Tent. Then the glory of the Lord appeared to everyone.

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Move away from these men so I can destroy them quickly.”

But Moses and Aaron bowed facedown and cried out, “God, you are the God over the spirits of all people. Please don’t be angry with this whole group. Only one man has really sinned.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell everyone to move away from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.”

Moses stood and went to Dathan and Abiram; the elders of Israel followed him. Moses warned the people, “Move away from the tents of these evil men! Don’t touch anything of theirs, or you will be destroyed because of their sins.” So they moved away from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. Dathan and Abiram were standing outside their tents with their wives, children, and little babies.

Then Moses said, “Now you will know that the Lord has sent me to do all these things; it was not my idea. If these men die a normal death—the way men usually die—then the Lord did not really send me. But if the Lord does something new, you will know they have insulted the Lord. The ground will open and swallow them. They will be buried alive and will go to the place of the dead, and everything that belongs to them will go with them.”

When Moses finished saying these things, the ground under the men split open. The earth opened and swallowed them and all their families. All Korah’s men and everything they owned went down. They were buried alive, going to the place of the dead, and everything they owned went with them. Then the earth covered them. They died and were gone from the community. The people of Israel around them heard their screams and ran away, saying, “The earth will swallow us, too!”

Then a fire came down from the Lord and destroyed the two hundred fifty men who had presented the incense.

Reader:      
The Word of the Lord.
All:  
Thanks be to God.


Pause for Reflection……


PRAYER 

(Take a moment to bring to God any issues that have arisen during the morning.  You may like to end with the following prayer…)

Reader:
Holy Spirit, guide us through the rest of our day.
May we know your wisdom in our hearts,
Your strength in our bodies,
And your peace in our lives.  Amen

 

GRACE (Optional)

Reader:

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.

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