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
Beside the rivers of Babylon, we sat and wept
as we thought of Jerusalem.
We put away our harps,
hanging them on the branches of poplar trees.
For our captors demanded a song from us.
Our tormentors insisted on a joyful hymn:
“Sing us one of those songs of Jerusalem!”
But how can we sing the songs of the Lord
while in a pagan land?
If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
let my right hand forget how to play the harp.
May my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth
if I fail to remember you,
if I don’t make Jerusalem my greatest joy.
O Lord, remember what the Edomites did
on the day the armies of Babylon captured Jerusalem.
“Destroy it!” they yelled.
“Level it to the ground!”
O Babylon, you will be destroyed.
Happy is the one who pays you back
for what you have done to us.
Happy is the one who takes your babies
and smashes them against the rocks!
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
If a man marries a girl and has sexual relations with her but then decides he does not like her, he might talk badly about her and give her a bad name. He might say, “I married this woman, but when I had sexual relations with her, I did not find that she was a virgin.” Then the girl’s parents must bring proof that she was a virgin to the elders at the city gate. The girl’s father will say to the elders, “I gave my daughter to this man to be his wife, but now he does not want her. This man has told lies about my daughter. He has said, ‘I did not find your daughter to be a virgin,’ but here is the proof that my daughter was a virgin.” Then her parents are to show the sheet to the elders of the city, and the elders must take the man and punish him. They must make him pay about two and one-half pounds of silver to the girl’s father, because the man has given an Israelite virgin a bad name. The girl will continue to be the man’s wife, and he may not divorce her as long as he lives.
But if the things the husband said about his wife are true, and there is no proof that she was a virgin, the girl must be brought to the door of her father’s house. Then the men of the town must put her to death by throwing stones at her. She has done a disgraceful thing in Israel by having sexual relations before she was married. You must get rid of the evil among you.
If a man is found having sexual relations with another man’s wife, both the woman and the man who had sexual relations with her must die. Get rid of this evil from Israel.
If a man meets a virgin in a city and has sexual relations with her, but she is engaged to another man, you must take both of them to the city gate and put them to death by throwing stones at them. Kill the girl, because she was in a city and did not scream for help. And kill the man for having sexual relations with another man’s wife. You must get rid of the evil among you.
But if a man meets an engaged girl out in the country and forces her to have sexual relations with him, only the man who had sexual relations with her must be put to death. Don’t do anything to the girl, because she has not done a sin worthy of death. This is like the person who attacks and murders a neighbour; the man found the engaged girl in the country and she screamed, but no one was there to save her.
If a man meets a virgin who is not engaged to be married and forces her to have sexual relations with him and people find out about it, the man must pay the girl’s father about one and one-fourth pounds of silver. He must also marry the girl, because he has dishonoured her, and he may never divorce her for as long as he lives.
A man must not marry his father’s wife; he must not dishonour his father in this way.
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.