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, to be accompanied by an eight-stringed instrument.
Help, O Lord, for the godly are fast disappearing!
The faithful have vanished from the earth!
Neighbours lie to each other,
speaking with flattering lips and deceitful hearts.
May the Lord cut off their flattering lips
and silence their boastful tongues.
They say, “We will lie to our hearts’ content.
Our lips are our own—who can stop us?”
The Lord replies, “I have seen violence done to the helpless,
and I have heard the groans of the poor.
Now I will rise up to rescue them,
as they have longed for me to do.”
The Lord’s promises are pure,
like silver refined in a furnace,
purified seven times over.
Therefore, Lord, we know you will protect the oppressed,
preserving them forever from this lying generation,
even though the wicked strut about,
and evil is praised throughout the land.
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
Balaam saw that the Lord wanted to bless Israel, so he did not try to use any magic but looked toward the desert. When Balaam saw the Israelites camped in their tribes, the Spirit of God took control of him, and he gave this message:
“This is the message of Balaam son of Beor,
the message of a man who sees clearly;
this is the message of a man who hears the words of God.
I see a vision from the Almighty,
and my eyes are open as I fall before him.
Your tents are beautiful, people of Jacob!
So are your homes, Israel!
Your tents spread out like valleys,
like gardens beside a river.
They are like spices planted by the Lord,
like cedar trees growing by the water.
Israel’s water buckets will always be full,
and their crops will have plenty of water.
Their king will be greater than Agag;
their kingdom will be very great.
God brought them out of Egypt;
they are as strong as a wild ox.
They will defeat their enemies
and break their enemies’ bones;
they will shoot them with arrows.
Like a lion, they lie waiting to attack;
like a lioness, no one would be brave enough to wake them.
Anyone who blesses you will be blessed,
and anyone who curses you will be cursed.”
Then Balak was angry with Balaam, and he pounded his fist. He said to Balaam, “I called you here to curse my enemies, but you have continued to bless them three times. Now go home! I said I would pay you well, but the Lord has made you lose your reward.”
Balaam said to Balak, “When you sent messengers to me, I told them, ‘Balak could give me his palace filled with silver and gold, but I still cannot go against the Lord’s commands. I could not do anything, good or bad, on my own, but I must say what the Lord says.’ Now I am going back to my own people, but I will tell you what these people will do to your people in the future.”
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.