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
A psalm of David.
O Lord, I am calling to you. Please hurry!
Listen when I cry to you for help!
Accept my prayer as incense offered to you,
and my upraised hands as an evening offering.
Take control of what I say, O Lord,
and guard my lips.
Don’t let me drift toward evil
or take part in acts of wickedness.
Don’t let me share in the delicacies
of those who do wrong.
Let the godly strike me!
It will be a kindness!
If they correct me, it is soothing medicine.
Don’t let me refuse it.
But I pray constantly
against the wicked and their deeds.
When their leaders are thrown down from a cliff,
the wicked will listen to my words and find them true.
Like rocks brought up by a plough,
the bones of the wicked will lie scattered without burial.
I look to you for help, O Sovereign Lord.
You are my refuge; don’t let them kill me.
Keep me from the traps they have set for me,
from the snares of those who do wrong.
Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
but let me escape.
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 Work of the Priests and Levites
The Lord said to Aaron, “You, your sons, and your family are now responsible for any wrongs done against the Holy Place; you and your sons are responsible for any wrongs done against the priests. Bring with you your fellow Levites from your tribe, and they will help you and your sons serve in the Tent of the Agreement. They are under your control, to do all the work that needs to be done in the Tent. But they must not go near the things in the Holy Place or near the altar. If they do, both you and they will die. They will join you in taking care of the Meeting Tent. They must do the work at the Tent, and no one else may come near you.
“You must take care of the Holy Place and the altar so that I won’t become angry with the Israelites again. I myself chose your fellow Levites from among the Israelites as a gift given for you to the Lord, to work at the Meeting Tent. But only you and your sons may serve as priests. Only you may serve at the altar or go behind the curtain. I am giving you this gift of serving as a priest, and anyone else who comes near the Holy Place will be put to death.”
Then the Lord said to Aaron, “I myself make you responsible for the offerings given to me. All the holy offerings that the Israelites give to me, I give to you and your sons as your share, your continual portion. Your share of the holy offerings is that part which is not burned. When the people bring me gifts as most holy offerings, whether they are grain or sin or penalty offerings, they will be set apart for you and your sons. You must eat the offering in a most holy place. Any male may eat it, but you must respect it as holy.
“I also give you the offerings the Israelites present to me. I give these to you and your sons and daughters as your continual share. Anyone in your family who is clean may eat it.
“And I give you all the best olive oil and all the best new wine and grain. This is what the Israelites give to me, the Lord, from the first crops they harvest. When they bring to the Lord all the first things they harvest, they will be yours. Anyone in your family who is clean may eat these things.
“Everything in Israel that is given to the Lord is yours. The first one born to any family, whether people or animals, will be offered to the Lord. And that will be yours. But you must make a payment for every firstborn child and every firstborn animal that is unclean. When they are one month old, you must make a payment for them of two ounces of silver, as set by the Holy Place measure.
“But you must not make a payment for the firstborn ox or sheep or goat. Those animals are holy. Sprinkle their blood on the altar and burn their fat as an offering made by fire. The smell is pleasing to the Lord. But the meat will be yours, just as the breast that is presented and the right thigh will be yours. Anything the Israelites present as holy gifts I, the Lord, give to you, your sons and daughters as your continual portion. This is a lasting agreement of salt before the Lord for you and your children forever.”
The Lord also said to Aaron, “You will not inherit any of the land, and you will not own any land among the other people. I will be yours. Out of all the Israelites, only you will inherit me.
“When the people of Israel give me a tenth of what they make, I will give that tenth to the Levites. This is their payment for the work they do serving at the Meeting Tent. But the other Israelites must never go near the Meeting Tent, or they will die for their sin. Only the Levites should work in the Meeting Tent and be responsible for any sins against it. This is a rule from now on. The Levites will not inherit any land among the other Israelites, but when the Israelites give a tenth of everything they make to me, I will give that tenth to the Levites as a reward. That is why I said about the Levites: ‘They will not inherit any land among the Israelites.’”
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 we thank you for the many blessings of this day,
Give us eyes to see the path ahead,
And faith to reach towards the prize. 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.