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.
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
For the choir director: A psalm of David.
O Lord, rescue me from evil people.
Protect me from those who are violent,
those who plot evil in their hearts
and stir up trouble all day long.
Their tongues sting like a snake;
the venom of a viper drips from their lips. Interlude
O Lord, keep me out of the hands of the wicked.
Protect me from those who are violent,
for they are plotting against me.
The proud have set a trap to catch me;
they have stretched out a net;
they have placed traps all along the way. Interlude
I said to the Lord, “You are my God!”
Listen, O Lord, to my cries for mercy!
O Sovereign Lord, the strong one who rescued me,
you protected me on the day of battle.
Lord, do not let evil people have their way.
Do not let their evil schemes succeed,
or they will become proud. Interlude
Let my enemies be destroyed
by the very evil they have planned for me.
Let burning coals fall down on their heads.
Let them be thrown into the fire
or into watery pits from which they can’t escape.
Don’t let liars prosper here in our land.
Cause great disasters to fall on the violent.
But I know the Lord will help those they persecute;
he will give justice to the poor.
Surely righteous people are praising your name;
the godly will live in your presence.
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
Aaron’s Walking Stick Buds
The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the people of Israel and get twelve walking sticks from them—one from the leader of each tribe. Write the name of each man on his stick, and on the stick from Levi, write Aaron’s name. There must be one stick for the head of each tribe. Put them in the Meeting Tent in front of the Ark of the Agreement, where I meet with you. I will choose one man whose walking stick will begin to grow leaves; in this way I will stop the Israelites from always complaining against you.”
So Moses spoke to the Israelites. Each of the twelve leaders gave him a walking stick—one from each tribe—and Aaron’s walking stick was among them. Moses put them before the Lord in the Tent of the Agreement.
The next day, when Moses entered the Tent, he saw that Aaron’s stick (which stood for the family of Levi) had grown leaves. It had even budded, blossomed, and produced almonds. So Moses brought out to the Israelites all the walking sticks from the Lord’s presence. They all looked, and each man took back his stick.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Put Aaron’s walking stick back in front of the Ark of the Agreement. It will remind these people who are always turning against me to stop their complaining against me so they won’t die.” So Moses obeyed what the Lord commanded him.
The people of Israel said to Moses, “We are going to die! We are destroyed. We are all destroyed! Anyone who even comes near the Holy Tent of the Lord will die. Will we all die?”
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.