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 Asaph.
The Lord, the Mighty One, is God,
and he has spoken;
he has summoned all humanity
from where the sun rises to where it sets.
From Mount Zion, the perfection of beauty,
God shines in glorious radiance.
Our God approaches,
and he is not silent.
Fire devours everything in his way,
and a great storm rages around him.
He calls on the heavens above and earth below
to witness the judgment of his people.
“Bring my faithful people to me—
those who made a covenant with me by giving sacrifices.”
Then let the heavens proclaim his justice,
for God himself will be the judge. Interlude
“O my people, listen as I speak.
Here are my charges against you, O Israel:
I am God, your God!
I have no complaint about your sacrifices
or the burnt offerings you constantly offer.
But I do not need the bulls from your barns
or the goats from your pens.
For all the animals of the forest are mine,
and I own the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know every bird on the mountains,
and all the animals of the field are mine.
If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
for all the world is mine and everything in it.
Do I eat the meat of bulls?
Do I drink the blood of goats?
Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God,
and keep the vows you made to the Most High.
Then call on me when you are in trouble,
and I will rescue you,
and you will give me glory.”
But God says to the wicked:
“Why bother reciting my decrees
and pretending to obey my covenant?
For you refuse my discipline
and treat my words like trash.
When you see thieves, you approve of them,
and you spend your time with adulterers.
Your mouth is filled with wickedness,
and your tongue is full of lies.
You sit around and slander your brother—
your own mother’s son.
While you did all this, I remained silent,
and you thought I didn’t care.
But now I will rebuke you,
listing all my charges against you.
Repent, all of you who forget me,
or I will tear you apart,
and no one will help you.
But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honours me.
If you keep to my path,
I will reveal to you the salvation of God.”
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
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites these things: ‘When you cross the Jordan River and go into Canaan, you must choose cities to be cities of safety, so that a person who accidentally kills someone may run to them for safety. There the person will be safe from the dead person’s relative who has the duty of punishing the killer. He will not die before he receives a fair trial in court. The six cities you give will be cities of safety. Give three cities east of the Jordan River and three cities in Canaan as cities of safety. These six cities will be places of safety for citizens of Israel, as well as for foreigners and other people living with you. Any of these people who accidentally kills someone may run to one of these cities.
“‘Anyone who uses an iron weapon to kill someone is a murderer. He must be put to death. Anyone who takes a rock and kills a person with it is a murderer. He must be put to death. Anyone who picks up a piece of wood and kills someone with it is a murderer. He must be put to death. A relative of the dead person must put the murderer to death; when they meet, the relative must kill the murderer. A person might shove someone or throw something at someone and cause death. Or a person might hit someone with his hand and cause death. If it were done from hate, the person is a murderer and must be put to death. A relative of the dead person must kill the murderer when they meet.
“‘But a person might suddenly shove someone, and not from hatred. Or a person might accidentally throw something and hit someone. Or a person might drop a rock on someone he couldn’t see and kill that person. There was no plan to hurt anyone and no hatred for the one who was killed. If that happens, the community must judge between the relative of the dead person and the killer, according to these rules. They must protect the killer from the dead person’s relative, sending the killer back to the original city of safety, to stay there until the high priest dies (the high priest had the holy oil poured on him).
“‘Such a person must never go outside the limits of the city of safety. If a relative of the dead person finds the killer outside the city, the relative may kill that person and not be guilty of murder. The killer must stay in the city of safety until the high priest dies. After the high priest dies, the killer may go home.
“‘These laws are for you from now on, wherever you live.
“‘If anyone kills a person, the murderer may be put to death only if there are witnesses. No one may be put to death with only one witness.
“‘Don’t take money to spare the life of a murderer who should be put to death. A murderer must be put to death.
“‘If someone has run to a city of safety, don’t take money to let the person go back home before the high priest dies.
“‘Don’t let murder spoil your land. The only way to remove the sin of killing an innocent person is for the murderer to be put to death. I am the Lord, and I live among the Israelites. I live in that land with you, so do not spoil it with murder.’”
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…)
Mighty God, as we come to the end of our week,
Grant your blessings over all we love and your increase upon all we do,
We ask this in Jesus name. 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.