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, asking God to remember him.
O Lord, don’t rebuke me in your anger
or discipline me in your rage!
Your arrows have struck deep,
and your blows are crushing me.
Because of your anger, my whole body is sick;
my health is broken because of my sins.
My guilt overwhelms me—
it is a burden too heavy to bear.
My wounds fester and stink
because of my foolish sins.
I am bent over and racked with pain.
All day long I walk around filled with grief.
A raging fever burns within me,
and my health is broken.
I am exhausted and completely crushed.
My groans come from an anguished heart.
You know what I long for, Lord;
you hear my every sigh.
My heart beats wildly, my strength fails,
and I am going blind.
My loved ones and friends stay away, fearing my disease.
Even my own family stands at a distance.
Meanwhile, my enemies lay traps to kill me.
Those who wish me harm make plans to ruin me.
All day long they plan their treachery.
But I am deaf to all their threats.
I am silent before them as one who cannot speak.
I choose to hear nothing,
and I make no reply.
For I am waiting for you, O Lord.
You must answer for me, O Lord my God.
I prayed, “Don’t let my enemies gloat over me
or rejoice at my downfall.”
I am on the verge of collapse,
facing constant pain.
But I confess my sins;
I am deeply sorry for what I have done.
I have many aggressive enemies;
they hate me without reason.
They repay me evil for good
and oppose me for pursuing good.
Do not abandon me, O Lord.
Do not stand at a distance, my God.
Come quickly to help me,
O Lord my saviour.
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
Israel Attacks the Midianites
The Lord spoke to Moses and said, “Pay back the Midianites for what they did to the Israelites; after that you will die.”
So Moses said to the people, “Get some men ready for war. The Lord will use them to pay back the Midianites. Send to war a thousand men from each of the tribes of Israel.” So twelve thousand men got ready for war, a thousand men from each tribe. Moses sent those men to war; Phinehas son of Eleazar the priest was with them. He took with him the holy things and the trumpets for giving the alarm. They fought the Midianites as the Lord had commanded Moses, and they killed every Midianite man. Among those they killed were Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba, who were the five kings of Midian. They also killed Balaam son of Beor with a sword.
The Israelites captured the Midianite women and children, and they took all their flocks, herds, and goods. They burned all the Midianite towns where they had settled and all their camps, but they took all the people and animals and goods. Then they brought the captives, the animals, and the goods back to Moses and Eleazar the priest and all the Israelites. Their camp was on the plains of Moab near the Jordan River, across from Jericho.
Moses, Eleazar the priest, and all the leaders of the people went outside the camp to meet them. Moses was angry with the army officers, the commanders over a thousand men, and those over a hundred men, who returned from war.
He asked them, “Why did you let the women live? They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and turned the Israelites from the Lord at Peor. Then a terrible sickness struck the Lord’s people. Kill all the Midianite boys, and kill all the Midianite women who have had sexual relations. But save for yourselves the girls who have not had sexual relations with a man.
“All you men who killed anyone or touched a dead body must stay outside the camp for seven days. On the third and seventh days you and your captives must make yourselves clean. You must clean all your clothes and anything made of leather, goat hair, or wood.”
Then Eleazar the priest said to the soldiers who had gone to war, “These are the teachings that the Lord gave to Moses: Put any gold, silver, bronze, iron, tin, or lead— anything that will not burn—into the fire, and then it will be clean. But also purify those things with the cleansing water. Then they will be clean. If something cannot stand the fire, wash it with the water. On the seventh day wash your clothes, and you will be clean. After that you may come into the 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 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.