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. Because of that, our intercessions during this period will include prayers for every single nation of the world by name..
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 he remembered that they were merely mortal,
gone like a breath of wind that never returns.
Oh, how often they rebelled against him in the wilderness
and grieved his heart in that dry wasteland.
Again and again they tested God’s patience
and provoked the Holy One of Israel.
They did not remember his power
and how he rescued them from their enemies.
They did not remember his miraculous signs in Egypt,
his wonders on the plain of Zoan.
For he turned their rivers into blood,
so no one could drink from the streams.
He sent vast swarms of flies to consume them
and hordes of frogs to ruin them.
He gave their crops to caterpillars;
their harvest was consumed by locusts.
He destroyed their grapevines with hail
and shattered their sycamore-figs with sleet.
He abandoned their cattle to the hail,
their livestock to bolts of lightning.
He loosed on them his fierce anger—
all his fury, rage, and hostility.
He dispatched against them
a band of destroying angels.
He turned his anger against them;
he did not spare the Egyptians’ lives
but ravaged them with the plague.
He killed the oldest son in each Egyptian family,
the flower of youth throughout the land of Egypt.
But he led his own people like a flock of sheep,
guiding them safely through the wilderness.
He kept them safe so they were not afraid;
but the sea covered their enemies.
He brought them to the border of his holy land,
to this land of hills he had won for them.
He drove out the nations before them;
he gave them their inheritance by lot.
He settled the tribes of Israel into their homes.
But they kept testing and rebelling against God Most High.
They did not obey his laws.
They turned back and were as faithless as their parents.
They were as undependable as a crooked bow.
They angered God by building shrines to other gods;
they made him jealous with their idols.
When God heard them, he was very angry,
and he completely rejected Israel.
Then he abandoned his dwelling at Shiloh,
the Tabernacle where he had lived among the people.
He allowed the Ark of his might to be captured;
he surrendered his glory into enemy hands.
He gave his people over to be butchered by the sword,
because he was so angry with his own people—his special possession.
Their young men were killed by fire;
their young women died before singing their wedding songs.
Their priests were slaughtered,
and their widows could not mourn their deaths.
Then the Lord rose up as though waking from sleep,
like a warrior aroused from a drunken stupor.
He routed his enemies
and sent them to eternal shame.
But he rejected Joseph’s descendants;
he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim.
He chose instead the tribe of Judah,
and Mount Zion, which he loved.
There he built his sanctuary as high as the heavens,
as solid and enduring as the earth.
He chose his servant David,
calling him from the sheep pens.
He took David from tending the ewes and lambs
and made him the shepherd of Jacob’s descendants—
God’s own people, Israel.
He cared for them with a true heart
and led them with skilful hands.
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 Lord said to me, “I have watched these people, and they are very stubborn! Get away so that I may destroy them and make the whole world forget who they are. Then I will make another nation from you that will be bigger and stronger than they are.”
So I turned and came down the mountain that was burning with fire, and the two stone tablets with the Agreement were in my hands. When I looked, I saw you had sinned against the Lord your God and had made an idol in the shape of a calf. You had quickly turned away from what the Lord had told you to do. So I took the two stone tablets and threw them down, breaking them into pieces right in front of you.
Then I again bowed facedown on the ground before the Lord for forty days and forty nights; I did not eat bread or drink water. You had sinned by doing what the Lord said was evil, and you made him angry. I was afraid of the Lord’s anger and rage, because he was angry enough with you to destroy you, but the Lord listened to me again. And the Lord was angry enough with Aaron to destroy him, but then I prayed for Aaron, too. I took that sinful calf idol you had made and burned it in the fire. I crushed it into a powder like dust and threw the dust into a stream that flowed down the mountain.
You also made the Lord angry at Taberah, Massah, and Kibroth Hattaavah.
Then the Lord sent you away from Kadesh Barnea and said, “Go up and take the land I have given you.” But you rejected the command of the Lord your God. You did not trust him or obey him. You have refused to obey the Lord as long as I have known you.
The Lord had said he would destroy you, so I threw myself down in front of him for those forty days and forty nights. I prayed to the Lord and said, “Lord God, do not destroy your people, your own people, whom you freed and brought out of Egypt by your great power and strength. Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Don’t look at how stubborn these people are, and don’t look at their sin and evil. Otherwise, Egypt will say, ‘It was because the Lord was not able to take his people into the land he promised them, and it was because he hated them that he took them into the desert to kill them.’ But they are your people, Lord, your own people, whom you brought out of Egypt with your great power and strength.”
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 Spirit, guide us through the rest of our day.
May we know your wisdom in our hearts,
Your strength in our bodies,
And your peace in our lives. 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.