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 the descendants of Korah.
Listen to this, all you people!
Pay attention, everyone in the world!
High and low,
rich and poor—listen!
For my words are wise,
and my thoughts are filled with insight.
I listen carefully to many proverbs
and solve riddles with inspiration from a harp.
Why should I fear when trouble comes,
when enemies surround me?
They trust in their wealth
and boast of great riches.
Yet they cannot redeem themselves from death
by paying a ransom to God.
Redemption does not come so easily,
for no one can ever pay enough
to live forever
and never see the grave.
Those who are wise must finally die,
just like the foolish and senseless,
leaving all their wealth behind.
The grave is their eternal home,
where they will stay forever.
They may name their estates after themselves,
but their fame will not last.
They will die, just like animals.
This is the fate of fools,
though they are remembered as being wise. Interlude
Like sheep, they are led to the grave,
where death will be their shepherd.
In the morning the godly will rule over them.
Their bodies will rot in the grave,
far from their grand estates.
But as for me, God will redeem my life.
He will snatch me from the power of the grave. Interlude
So don’t be dismayed when the wicked grow rich
and their homes become ever more splendid.
For when they die, they take nothing with them.
Their wealth will not follow them into the grave.
In this life they consider themselves fortunate
and are applauded for their success.
But they will die like all before them
and never again see the light of day.
People who boast of their wealth don’t understand;
they will die, just like animals.
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 Levites’ Towns
The Lord spoke to Moses on the plains of Moab across from Jericho by the Jordan River. He said, “Command the Israelites to give the Levites cities to live in from the land they receive. Also give the Levites the pastureland around these cities. Then the Levites will have cities where they may live and pastureland for their cattle, flocks, and other animals. The pastureland you give the Levites will extend fifteen hundred feet from the city wall. Also measure three thousand feet in each direction outside the city wall—three thousand feet east of the city, three thousand feet south of the city, three thousand feet west of the city, and three thousand feet north of the city, with the city in the centre. This will be pastureland for the Levites’ cities.
Cities of Safety
“Six of the cities you give the Levites will be cities of safety. A person who accidentally kills someone may run to one of those cities for safety. You must also give forty-two other cities to the Levites; give the Levites a total of forty-eight cities and their pastures. The larger tribes of Israel must give more cities, and the smaller tribes must give fewer cities. Each tribe must give some of its cities to the Levites, but the number of cities they give will depend on the size of their land.”
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.