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 psalm of David, which he sang to the Lord concerning Cush of the tribe of Benjamin.
I come to you for protection, O Lord my God.
Save me from my persecutors—rescue me!
If you don’t, they will maul me like a lion,
tearing me to pieces with no one to rescue me.
O Lord my God, if I have done wrong
or am guilty of injustice,
if I have betrayed a friend
or plundered my enemy without cause,
then let my enemies capture me.
Let them trample me into the ground
and drag my honour in the dust. Interlude
Arise, O Lord, in anger!
Stand up against the fury of my enemies!
Wake up, my God, and bring justice!
Gather the nations before you.
Rule over them from on high.
The Lord judges the nations.
Declare me righteous, O Lord,
for I am innocent, O Most High!
End the evil of those who are wicked,
and defend the righteous.
For you look deep within the mind and heart,
O righteous God.
God is my shield,
saving those whose hearts are true and right.
God is an honest judge.
He is angry with the wicked every day.
If a person does not repent,
God will sharpen his sword;
he will bend and string his bow.
He will prepare his deadly weapons
and shoot his flaming arrows.
The wicked conceive evil;
they are pregnant with trouble
and give birth to lies.
They dig a deep pit to trap others,
then fall into it themselves.
The trouble they make for others backfires on them.
The violence they plan falls on their own heads.
I will thank the Lord because he is just;
I will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.
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
But God became angry because Balaam went, so the angel of the Lord stood in the road to stop Balaam. Balaam was riding his donkey, and he had two servants with him. When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with a sword in his hand, the donkey left the road and went into the field. Balaam hit the donkey to force her back on the road.
Later, the angel of the Lord stood on a narrow path between two vineyards, with walls on both sides. Again the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, and she walked close to one wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it. So he hit her again.
The angel of the Lord went ahead again and stood at a narrow place, too narrow to turn left or right. When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she lay down under Balaam. This made him so angry that he hit her with his stick. Then the Lord made the donkey talk, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to make you hit me three times?”
Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made me look foolish! I wish I had a sword in my hand! I would kill you right now!”
But the donkey said to Balaam, “I am your very own donkey, which you have ridden for years. Have I ever done this to you before?”
“No,” Balaam said.
Then the Lord let Balaam see the angel of the Lord, who was standing in the road with his sword drawn. Then Balaam bowed facedown on the ground.
The angel of the Lord asked Balaam, “Why have you hit your donkey three times? I have stood here to stop you, because what you are doing is wrong. The donkey saw me and turned away from me three times. If she had not turned away, I would have killed you by now, but I would have let her live.”
Then Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, “I have sinned; I did not know you were standing in the road to stop me. If I am wrong, I will go back.”
The angel of the Lord said to Balaam, “Go with these men, but say only what I tell you.” So Balaam went with Balak’s leaders.
When Balak heard that Balaam was coming, he went out to meet him at Ar in Moab, which was beside the Arnon, at the edge of his country. Balak said to Balaam, “I had asked you before to come quickly. Why didn’t you come to me? I am able to reward you well.”
But Balaam answered, “I have come to you now, but I can’t say just anything. I can only say what God tells me to say.”
Then Balaam went with Balak to Kiriath Huzoth. Balak offered cattle and sheep as a sacrifice and gave some meat to Balaam and the leaders with him.
The next morning Balak took Balaam to Bamoth Baal; from there he could see the edge of the Israelite camp.
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 work of the morning,
For the challenges faced and the obstacles overcome.
Grant that the rest of this day be used for your glory,
As we offer ourselves afresh to you. 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.