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
Your word is a lamp to guide my feet
and a light for my path.
I’ve promised it once, and I’ll promise it again:
I will obey your righteous regulations.
I have suffered much, O Lord;
restore my life again as you promised.
Lord, accept my offering of praise,
and teach me your regulations.
My life constantly hangs in the balance,
but I will not stop obeying your instructions.
The wicked have set their traps for me,
but I will not turn from your commandments.
Your laws are my treasure;
they are my heart’s delight.
I am determined to keep your decrees
to the very end.
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 First Harvest
When you go into the land the Lord your God is giving you as your own, to take it over and live in it, you must take some of the first harvest of crops that grow from the land the Lord your God is giving you. Put the food in a basket and go to the place where the Lord your God will choose to be worshiped. Say to the priest on duty at that time, “Today I declare before the Lord your God that I have come into the land the Lord promised our ancestors that he would give us.” The priest will take your basket and set it down in front of the altar of the Lord your God. Then you shall announce before the Lord your God: “My father was a wandering Aramean. He went down to Egypt with only a few people, but they became a great, powerful, and large nation there. But the Egyptians were cruel to us, making us suffer and work very hard. So we prayed to the Lord, the God of our ancestors, and he heard us. When he saw our trouble, hard work, and suffering, the Lord brought us out of Egypt with his great power and strength, using great terrors, signs, and miracles. Then he brought us to this place and gave us this fertile land. Now I bring part of the first harvest from this land that you, Lord, have given me.” Place the basket before the Lord your God and bow down before him. Then you and the Levites and foreigners among you should rejoice, because the Lord your God has given good things to you and your family.
Bring a tenth of all your harvest the third year (the year to give a tenth of your harvest). Give it to the Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows so that they may eat in your towns and be full. Then say to the Lord your God, “I have taken out of my house the part of my harvest that belongs to God, and I have given it to the Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows. I have done everything you commanded me; I have not broken your commands, and I have not forgotten any of them. I have not eaten any of the holy part while I was in sorrow. I have not removed any of it while I was unclean, and I have not offered it for dead people. I have obeyed you, the Lord my God, and have done everything you commanded me. So look down from heaven, your holy home. Bless your people Israel and bless the land you have given us, which you promised to our ancestors—a fertile land.”
Obey the Lord’s Commands
Today the Lord your God commands you to obey all these rules and laws; be careful to obey them with your whole being. Today you have said that the Lord is your God, and you have promised to do what he wants you to do—to keep his rules, commands, and laws. You have said you will obey him. And today the Lord has said that you are his very own people, as he has promised you. But you must obey his commands. He will make you greater than all the other nations he made. He will give you praise, fame, and honour, and you will be a holy people to the Lord your God, as he has said.
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.