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
O Lord, listen to my cry;
give me the discerning mind you promised.
Listen to my prayer;
rescue me as you promised.
Let praise flow from my lips,
for you have taught me your decrees.
Let my tongue sing about your word,
for all your commands are right.
Give me a helping hand,
for I have chosen to follow your commandments.
O Lord, I have longed for your rescue,
and your instructions are my delight.
Let me live so I can praise you,
and may your regulations help me.
I have wandered away like a lost sheep;
come and find me,
for I have not forgotten your commands.
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 will send you and your king away to a nation neither you nor your ancestors know, where you will serve other gods made of wood and stone. You will become a hated thing to the nations where the Lord sends you; they will laugh at you and make fun of you.
You will plant much seed in your field, but your harvest will be small, because locusts will eat the crop. You will plant vineyards and work hard in them, but you will not pick the grapes or drink the wine, because the worms will eat them. You will have olive trees in all your land, but you will not get any olive oil, because the olives will drop off the trees. You will have sons and daughters, but you will not be able to keep them, because they will be taken captive. Locusts will destroy all your trees and crops.
The foreigners who live among you will get stronger and stronger, and you will get weaker and weaker. Foreigners will lend money to you, but you will not be able to lend to them. They will be like the head, and you will be like the tail.
All these curses will come upon you. They will chase you and catch you and destroy you, because you did not obey the Lord your God and keep the commands and laws he gave you. The curses will be signs and miracles to you and your descendants forever. You had plenty of everything, but you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and a pure heart, so you will serve the enemies the Lord sends against you. You will be hungry, thirsty, naked, and poor, and the Lord will put a load on you until he has destroyed you.
The Curse of an Enemy Nation
The Lord will bring a nation against you from far away, from the end of the world, and it will swoop down like an eagle. You won’t understand their language, and they will look mean. They will not respect old people or feel sorry for the young. They will eat the calves from your herds and the harvest of your field, and you will be destroyed. They will not leave you any grain, new wine or oil, or any calves from your herds or lambs from your flocks. You will be ruined. That nation will surround and attack all your cities. You trust in your high, strong walls, but they will fall down. That nation will surround all your cities everywhere in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
Your enemy will surround you. Those people will make you starve so that you will eat your own babies, the bodies of the sons and daughters the Lord your God gave you. Even the most gentle and kind man among you will become cruel to his brother, his wife whom he loves, and his children who are still alive. He will not even give them any of the flesh of his children he is eating, because it will be all he has left. Your enemy will surround you and make you starve in all your cities. The most gentle and kind woman among you, so gentle and kind she would hardly even walk on the ground, will be cruel to her husband whom she loves and to her son and daughter. She will give birth to a baby, but she will plan to eat the baby and what comes after the birth itself. She will eat them secretly while the enemy surrounds the city. Those people will make you starve in all your cities.
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…)
Lord Jesus, we thank you for the work of the morning,
For the challenges faced and the obstacles overcome.
Grant that the rest of this day be used for your glory,
As we offer ourselves afresh to you. 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.