Year IV: Week 4 of Epiphany

Saturday: Compline

ABOUT COMPLINE

Compline (which comes from the Latin word for completion) follows a very ancient format that has been largely unchanged for many centuries. It is simple enough to memorise and it’s familiar rhythm helps to wonderfully settle the mind before sleep. It is a time of quietness and reflection and is best done as the very last thing you do before turning off the lights and going to sleep.


CALL TO WORSHIP

Reader:
God, come to my assistance
All:
Lord, make haste to help me.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
All:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen


EXAMINATION OF
CONSCIENCE

We are called to have a clear conscience towards God and towards men, in our hearts and in our minds, in our actions and inactions. To do so, it is vital that we examine our conscience daily and ask for God’s mercy as we fall short and to ask His strength to do better.


Pause for Reflection…

All: (When praying in community, use the words in parenthesis)

I confess to God almighty,
(and to you my brothers and sisters,)
that I have greatly sinned,
In my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done and in what I have failed to do.
Through my fault, through my foolishness,
And through my fear.

Almighty God, have mercy upon me.
Forgive me all my sins,
and deliver me from all evil.
Confirm and strengthen me in all goodness,
and bring me to life everlasting.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Pause for Reflection…

Reader:
Lord, Have mercy.
All:
Lord, have mercy.
Reader:
Christ, Have mercy.
All:
Christ, have mercy.
Reader:
Lord, Have mercy.
All:
Lord, have mercy.


EVENING PSALM

Psalm 51

A Prayer of Repentance
To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.

Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.

For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me.
Against You, You only, have I sinned,
And done this evil in Your sight—
That You may be found just when You speak,
And blameless when You judge.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me hear joy and gladness,
That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
Hide Your face from my sins,
And blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.

Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.

Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion;
Build the walls of Jerusalem.
Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness,
With burnt offering and whole burnt offering;
Then they shall offer bulls on Your altar.

All:
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


WORSHIP

All:
(A time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous. Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)


NEW TESTAMENT READING

Romans 15:1-13

The Example of Christ

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbour for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

Christ the Hope of Jews and Gentiles

For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,

“Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles,
    and sing to your name.”

And again it is said,

“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.”

And again,

“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles,
    and let all the peoples extol him.”

And again Isaiah says,

“The root of Jesse will come,
    even he who arises to rule the Gentiles;
in him will the Gentiles hope.”

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Reader:
The Word of the Lord.
All:
Thanks be to God.


Pause for Reflection…


RESPONSORY

Reader:
Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.
All:
Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.

Reader:
You have redeemed us, Lord God of truth.
All:
I commend my spirit.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
All:
Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.


SONG OF SIMEON
(Nunc Dimitis)

All:
Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake;
Watch over us as we sleep,
That awake, we may keep watch with Christ,
And asleep, may rest in his peace.

Luke 2:29-32

Lord, now let your servant depart in peace,
your word has been fulfilled:
My own eyes have seen the salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all people.
A light to reveal you to the nations,
and the glory of your people, Israel.

All:
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

All:
Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake;
Watch over us as we sleep,
That awake, we may keep watch with Christ,
And asleep, may rest in his peace.


PRAYER

(You might like to spend a few moments thanking God for the day or bringing to him any outstanding issues.)


COLLECT

Reader:
(Either this or an alternative closing prayer may be said.)

Be present, O God,
And protect us through the silent hours of this night,
So that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this fleeting world,
May rest upon your eternal changelessness.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, your son our Lord,
Who is alive and reigns with you,
In the unity of the Spirit,
One God, now and forever, Amen


BLESSING

Reader:
(When praying in community, this or a similar blessing may be used)

May the all-powerful Lord grant us a restful night and a peaceful end. Amen


Psalms taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Other Scripture taken from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Year IV: Week 4 of Epiphany

Saturday: Afternoon Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

We are currently in the Epiphany season; the time between Christmas and Lent. Epiphany celebrates the long awaited manifestation of Christ; no longer as a baby in a manger but as the Saviour of the World. The Epiphany season continues right through until the beginning of Lent and the gospel readings follow Jesus’ early ministry. The afternoon readings continue a chronological tour through the scriptures; whilst the readings at Compline continue to work their way through Paul’s letter to the Romans.


CALL TO WORSHIP

Reader:
God, come to my assistance.
All:
Lord, make haste to help me.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
All:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen


AFTERNOON PSALM

Psalm 49

The Confidence of the Foolish
To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of the sonc of Korah.

Hear this, all peoples;
Give ear, all inhabitants of the world,
Both low and high,
Rich and poor together.
My mouth shall speak wisdom,
And the meditation of my heart shall give understanding.
I will incline my ear to a proverb;
I will disclose my dark saying on the harp.

Why should I fear in the days of evil,
When the iniquity at my heels surrounds me?
Those who trust in their wealth
And boast in the multitude of their riches,
None of them can by any means redeem his brother,
Nor give to God a ransom for him—
For the redemption of their souls is costly,
And it shall cease forever—
That he should continue to live eternally,
And not see the Pit.

For he sees wise men die;
Likewise the fool and the senseless person perish,
And leave their wealth to others.
Their inner thought is that their houses will last forever,
Their dwelling places to all generations;
They call their lands after their own names.
Nevertheless man, though in honor, does not remain;
He is like the beasts that perish.

This is the way of those who are foolish,
And of their posterity who approve their sayings. Selah
Like sheep they are laid in the grave;
Death shall feed on them;
The upright shall have dominion over them in the morning;
And their beauty shall be consumed in the grave, far from their dwelling.
But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave,
For He shall receive me. Selah

Do not be afraid when one becomes rich,
When the glory of his house is increased;
For when he dies he shall carry nothing away;
His glory shall not descend after him.
Though while he lives he blesses himself
(For men will praise you when you do well for yourself),
He shall go to the generation of his fathers;
They shall never see light.
A man who is in honor, yet does not understand,
Is like the beasts that perish.

All:

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


WORSHIP
(Optional)

All:
(A short time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous. Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)


OLD TESTAMENT READING

Genesis 29:31-30:24

Jacob’s Children

When the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben, for she said, “Because the Lord has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.” She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the Lord has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon. Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will be attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi. And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” Therefore she called his name Judah. Then she ceased bearing.

When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I shall die!” Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel, and he said, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?” Then she said, “Here is my servant Bilhah; go in to her, so that she may give birth on my behalf, that even I may have children through her.” So she gave him her servant Bilhah as a wife, and Jacob went in to her. And Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son. Then Rachel said, “God has judged me, and has also heard my voice and given me a son.” Therefore she called his name Dan. Rachel’s servant Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. Then Rachel said, “With mighty wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister and have prevailed.” So she called his name Naphtali.

When Leah saw that she had ceased bearing children, she took her servant Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife. Then Leah’s servant Zilpah bore Jacob a son. And Leah said, “Good fortune has come!” so she called his name Gad. Leah’s servant Zilpah bore Jacob a second son. And Leah said, “Happy am I! For women have called me happy.” So she called his name Asher.

In the days of wheat harvest Reuben went and found mandrakes in the field and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.” But she said to her, “Is it a small matter that you have taken away my husband? Would you take away my son’s mandrakes also?” Rachel said, “Then he may lie with you tonight in exchange for your son’s mandrakes.” When Jacob came from the field in the evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, “You must come in to me, for I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So he lay with her that night. And God listened to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son. Leah said, “God has given me my wages because I gave my servant to my husband.” So she called his name Issachar.

And Leah conceived again, and she bore Jacob a sixth son. Then Leah said, “God has endowed me with a good endowment; now my husband will honour me, because I have borne him six sons.” So she called his name Zebulun. Afterwards she bore a daughter and called her name Dinah.

Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb. She conceived and bore a son and said, “God has taken away my reproach.” And she called his name Joseph, saying, “May the Lord add to me another son!”

Reader:
The Word of the Lord.
All:
Thanks be to God.


Pause for Reflection……


PRAYER

(Take a moment to bring to God any issues that have arisen during the morning. You may like to end with the following prayer…)

Reader:

Lord Jesus we thank you for the many blessings of this day,
Give us eyes to see the path ahead,
And faith to reach towards the prize. Amen

 

GRACE (Optional)

(If these prayers are taking place before food, you may like to say the Grace here instead.)

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 taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Other Scripture taken from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Year IV: Week 4 of Epiphany

Saturday: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

We are currently in the Epiphany season; the time between Christmas and Lent. Epiphany celebrates the long awaited manifestation of Christ; no longer as a baby in a manger but as the Saviour of the World. The Epiphany season continues right through until the beginning of Lent and the gospel readings follow Jesus’ early ministry. The afternoon readings continue a chronological tour through the scriptures; whilst the readings at Compline continue to work their way through Paul’s letter to the Romans.


CALL TO WORSHIP

Reader:
Lord, Open my lips.
All:
And my mouth will give you praise.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
All:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen


INVITATORY PSALM:

Psalm 95:1-7 (Venite, exultemus)

All:

A Call to Worship

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For the Lord is the great God,
And the great King above all gods.
In His hand are the deep places of the earth;
The heights of the hills are His also.
The sea is His, for He made it;
And His hands formed the dry land.

Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture,
And the sheep of His hand.

All:
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


MORNING PSALM

Psalm 36

Man’s Wickedness and God’s Perfections
To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David the servant of the Lord.

An oracle within my heart concerning the transgression of the wicked:
There is no fear of God before his eyes.
For he flatters himself in his own eyes,
When he finds out his iniquity and when he hates.
The words of his mouth are wickedness and deceit;
He has ceased to be wise and to do good.
He devises wickedness on his bed;
He sets himself in a way that is not good;
He does not abhor evil.

Your mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens;
Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the great mountains;
Your judgments are a great deep;
O Lord, You preserve man and beast.

How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!
Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.
They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house,
And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.
For with You is the fountain of life;
In Your light we see light.

Oh, continue Your lovingkindness to those who know You,
And Your righteousness to the upright in heart.
Let not the foot of pride come against me,
And let not the hand of the wicked drive me away.
There the workers of iniquity have fallen;
They have been cast down and are not able to rise.

All:

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


WORSHIP

All:
(A time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous. Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)


PRAYER & INTERCESSION

Reader:
Let us pray for the day and its tasks, for the church and her life, and for the world and its needs.

(You may use these prayers as written or use them as ‘prayer pointers’ for your own spontaneous petitions.

Personal Requests

  • Saviour and Friend, as we begin the weekend we ask for refreshment in our bodies and restoration to our spirits. Give us the ability in this frantic world to “come aside and rest awhile” and rediscover what it is to be the dwelling place of God.
             – For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…
  • May we know purpose in every moment and peace in every step.
             – For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…
  • For the ability to lay down the technology that distracts and the fears that disturb.
             – For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…
  • For spaces of solitude, moments of silence and time to stop and stare.
             – For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…

Family & Friends

  • Lord Jesus, you came to deliver us from self, sin and Satan in order that you might live in us by the power of your Spirit. We welcome your presence and are overawed at the humility of God.
             – For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…
  • Being mindful of your embrace, we reach out today to those on the lonely fringes of our community and welcome them into our world.
             – For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…
  • We bring before you our friends and family. May they be happy. May they be well. May they be wrapped in your loving embrace.
             – For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…

The Church

  • Lord Jesus, we ask that this weekend many will find sanctuary within your House. May your church be united in praise and awesome as an army with banners! May her numbers daily increase and her love for you be ever more fervent.
             – For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…
  • For those who bring your word to our streets, for Street Pastors, Street Evangelism Teams and all forms of outreach. May no one die without the offer of the gospel.
             – For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…
  • For those who bring mercy to our cities, for the work of Food Bank, Homeless Night Shelters, the agencies of practical aid and the many other expressions of Christian charity…
             – For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…

The World

  • Ever Living God, we ask for a renewed call to missions. Send forth your labourers into the harvest, for the harvest is ripe but the labourers are few! May thousands of hearts receive your transforming power today.
             – For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…
  • For those who can only witness with their lifestyle because their voices are silenced through persecution and oppression. May their lives speak powerfully of your love.
             – For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…
  • For the protection of your church when she is attacked, the provision of your church when she is deprived and the steadfastness of your church when she is derided.
             – For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…


THE LORD’S
PRAYER

Reader:
And so we pray…

All:
Our Father in heaven,
Holy is Your Name.
Your Kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
Forever and ever. Amen.


GOSPEL READING

Matthew 15:29-39

Jesus Heals Many

Jesus went on from there and walked beside the Sea of Galilee. And he went up on the mountain and sat down there. And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them, so that the crowd wondered, when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they glorified the God of Israel.

Jesus Feeds the Four Thousand

Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.” And the disciples said to him, “Where are we to get enough bread in such a desolate place to feed so great a crowd?” And Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven, and a few small fish.” And directing the crowd to sit down on the ground, he took the seven loaves and the fish, and having given thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up seven baskets full of the broken pieces left over. Those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children. And after sending away the crowds, he got into the boat and went to the region of Magadan.

Reader:
The Word of the Lord.
All:
Thanks be to God.


Pause for Reflection…

READING: THE WAY OF CHRIST (Optional)

Principle of discipleship drawn from the book, “The Way of Christ”

Reader:
The Way of Community: The Principle of Small Groups.

Mindful that the excitement of celebration must be balanced with the growth that can only happen in a smaller group, I commit myself to being part of a smaller midweek gathering. As a follower of the Way of Community, I dedicate myself to the support and encouragement of this group of like-minded pilgrims.

All:
This is The Way of Community: The Principle of Small Groups.


Pause for Reflection…


THE APOSTLES CREED

Reader:
And so we make our declaration of faith…

All:
We believe in God the Father, Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth:
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, dead, and buried:
He descended into the grave;
The third day he rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
And sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
From there he shall come to judge the living and the dead.
We believe in the Holy Spirit;
The Holy Worldwide Church;
The Communion of Saints;
The Forgiveness of sins;
The Resurrection of the body,
And the Life everlasting. Amen.


COLLECT

Reader:
(Either this or an alternative closing prayer may be said.)

Give us grace, O Lord,
To answer readily the call of our Savior Jesus Christ
And proclaim to all people the Good News of his salvation,
That we and the whole world may perceive,
The glory of his marvelous works;
Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
One God, for ever and ever. Amen.


BLESSING

Reader:
(When praying in community, this or a similar blessing may be used)

And may the light of the world shine in your heart,
Chasing the dark night of sin away,
And shedding over your world light unquenchable. Amen.


Psalms taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Other Scripture taken from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Year IV: Week 4 of Epiphany

Friday: Compline

ABOUT COMPLINE

Compline (which comes from the Latin word for completion) follows a very ancient format that has been largely unchanged for many centuries. It is simple enough to memorise and it’s familiar rhythm helps to wonderfully settle the mind before sleep. It is a time of quietness and reflection and is best done as the very last thing you do before turning off the lights and going to sleep.


CALL TO WORSHIP

Reader:
God, come to my assistance
All:
Lord, make haste to help me.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
All:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen


EXAMINATION OF
CONSCIENCE

We are called to have a clear conscience towards God and towards men, in our hearts and in our minds, in our actions and inactions. To do so, it is vital that we examine our conscience daily and ask for God’s mercy as we fall short and to ask His strength to do better.


Pause for Reflection…

All: (When praying in community, use the words in parenthesis)

I confess to God almighty,
(and to you my brothers and sisters,)
that I have greatly sinned,
In my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done and in what I have failed to do.
Through my fault, through my foolishness,
And through my fear.

Almighty God, have mercy upon me.
Forgive me all my sins,
and deliver me from all evil.
Confirm and strengthen me in all goodness,
and bring me to life everlasting.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Pause for Reflection…

Reader:
Lord, Have mercy.
All:
Lord, have mercy.
Reader:
Christ, Have mercy.
All:
Christ, have mercy.
Reader:
Lord, Have mercy.
All:
Lord, have mercy.


EVENING PSALM

Psalm 134

Praising the Lord in His House at Night
A Song of Ascents.

Behold, bless the Lord,
All you servants of the Lord,
Who by night stand in the house of the Lord!
Lift up your hands in the sanctuary,
And bless the Lord.

The Lord who made heaven and earth
Bless you from Zion!

All:
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


WORSHIP

All:
(A time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous. Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)


NEW TESTAMENT READING

Romans 14:13-23

Do Not Cause Another to Stumble

Therefore let us not pass judgement on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgement on himself for what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

Reader:
The Word of the Lord.
All:
Thanks be to God.


Pause for Reflection…


RESPONSORY

Reader:
Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.
All:
Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.

Reader:
You have redeemed us, Lord God of truth.
All:
I commend my spirit.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
All:
Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.


SONG OF SIMEON
(Nunc Dimitis)

All:
Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake;
Watch over us as we sleep,
That awake, we may keep watch with Christ,
And asleep, may rest in his peace.

Luke 2:29-32

Lord, now let your servant depart in peace,
your word has been fulfilled:
My own eyes have seen the salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all people.
A light to reveal you to the nations,
and the glory of your people, Israel.

All:
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

All:
Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake;
Watch over us as we sleep,
That awake, we may keep watch with Christ,
And asleep, may rest in his peace.


PRAYER

(You might like to spend a few moments thanking God for the day or bringing to him any outstanding issues.)


COLLECT

Reader:
(Either this or an alternative closing prayer may be said.)

Be present, O God,
And protect us through the silent hours of this night,
So that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this fleeting world,
May rest upon your eternal changelessness.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, your son our Lord,
Who is alive and reigns with you,
In the unity of the Spirit,
One God, now and forever, Amen


BLESSING

Reader:
(When praying in community, this or a similar blessing may be used)

May the all-powerful Lord grant us a restful night and a peaceful end. Amen


Psalms taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Other Scripture taken from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Year IV: Week 4 of Epiphany

Friday: Afternoon Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

We are currently in the Epiphany season; the time between Christmas and Lent. Epiphany celebrates the long awaited manifestation of Christ; no longer as a baby in a manger but as the Saviour of the World. The Epiphany season continues right through until the beginning of Lent and the gospel readings follow Jesus’ early ministry. The afternoon readings continue a chronological tour through the scriptures; whilst the readings at Compline continue to work their way through Paul’s letter to the Romans.


CALL TO WORSHIP

Reader:
God, come to my assistance.
All:
Lord, make haste to help me.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
All:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen


AFTERNOON PSALM

Psalm 44

Redemption Remembered in Present Dishonour
To the Chief Musician. A Contemplation of the sons of Korah.

We have heard with our ears, O God,
Our fathers have told us,
The deeds You did in their days,
In days of old:
You drove out the nations with Your hand,
But them You planted;
You afflicted the peoples, and cast them out.
For they did not gain possession of the land by their own sword,
Nor did their own arm save them;
But it was Your right hand, Your arm, and the light of Your countenance,
Because You favored them.

You are my King, O God;
Command victories for Jacob.
Through You we will push down our enemies;
Through Your name we will trample those who rise up against us.
For I will not trust in my bow,
Nor shall my sword save me.
But You have saved us from our enemies,
And have put to shame those who hated us.
In God we boast all day long,
And praise Your name forever. Selah

But You have cast us off and put us to shame,
And You do not go out with our armies.
You make us turn back from the enemy,
And those who hate us have taken spoil for themselves.
You have given us up like sheep intended for food,
And have scattered us among the nations.
You sell Your people for next to nothing,
And are not enriched by selling them.

You make us a reproach to our neighbors,
A scorn and a derision to those all around us.
You make us a byword among the nations,
A shaking of the head among the peoples.
My dishonor is continually before me,
And the shame of my face has covered me,
Because of the voice of him who reproaches and reviles,
Because of the enemy and the avenger.

All this has come upon us;
But we have not forgotten You,
Nor have we dealt falsely with Your covenant.
Our heart has not turned back,
Nor have our steps departed from Your way;
But You have severely broken us in the place of jackals,
And covered us with the shadow of death.

If we had forgotten the name of our God,
Or stretched out our hands to a foreign god,
Would not God search this out?
For He knows the secrets of the heart.
Yet for Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

Awake! Why do You sleep, O Lord?
Arise! Do not cast us off forever.
Why do You hide Your face,
And forget our affliction and our oppression?
For our soul is bowed down to the dust;
Our body clings to the ground.
Arise for our help,
And redeem us for Your mercies’ sake.

All:

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


WORSHIP
(Optional)

All:
(A short time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous. Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)


OLD TESTAMENT READING

Genesis 29:1-30

Jacob Marries Leah and Rachel

Then Jacob went on his journey and came to the land of the people of the east. As he looked, he saw a well in the field, and behold, three flocks of sheep lying beside it, for out of that well the flocks were watered. The stone on the well’s mouth was large, and when all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone from the mouth of the well and water the sheep, and put the stone back in its place over the mouth of the well.

Jacob said to them, “My brothers, where do you come from?” They said, “We are from Haran.” He said to them, “Do you know Laban the son of Nahor?” They said, “We know him.” He said to them, “Is it well with him?” They said, “It is well; and see, Rachel his daughter is coming with the sheep!” He said, “Behold, it is still high day; it is not time for the livestock to be gathered together. Water the sheep and go, pasture them.” But they said, “We cannot until all the flocks are gathered together and the stone is rolled from the mouth of the well; then we water the sheep.”

While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep, for she was a shepherdess. Now as soon as Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, Jacob came near and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother. Then Jacob kissed Rachel and wept aloud. And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s kinsman, and that he was Rebekah’s son, and she ran and told her father.

As soon as Laban heard the news about Jacob, his sister’s son, he ran to meet him and embraced him and kissed him and brought him to his house. Jacob told Laban all these things, and Laban said to him, “Surely you are my bone and my flesh!” And he stayed with him for a month.

Then Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my kinsman, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?” Now Laban had two daughters. The name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance. Jacob loved Rachel. And he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.” Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to any other man; stay with me.” So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her.

Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife that I may go in to her, for my time is completed.” So Laban gathered together all the people of the place and made a feast. But in the evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and he went in to her. (Laban gave his female servant Zilpah to his daughter Leah to be her servant.) And in the morning, behold, it was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?” Laban said, “It is not so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me another seven years.” Jacob did so, and completed her week. Then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. (Laban gave his female servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel to be her servant.) So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah, and served Laban for another seven years.

Reader:
The Word of the Lord.
All:
Thanks be to God.


Pause for Reflection……


PRAYER

(Take a moment to bring to God any issues that have arisen during the morning. You may like to end with the following prayer…)

Reader:

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

 

GRACE (Optional)

(If these prayers are taking place before food, you may like to say the Grace here instead.)

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 taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Other Scripture taken from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Year IV: Week 4 of Epiphany

Friday: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

We are currently in the Epiphany season; the time between Christmas and Lent. Epiphany celebrates the long awaited manifestation of Christ; no longer as a baby in a manger but as the Saviour of the World. The Epiphany season continues right through until the beginning of Lent and the gospel readings follow Jesus’ early ministry. The afternoon readings continue a chronological tour through the scriptures; whilst the readings at Compline continue to work their way through Paul’s letter to the Romans.


CALL TO WORSHIP

Reader:
Lord, Open my lips.
All:
And my mouth will give you praise.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
All:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen


INVITATORY PSALM:

Psalm 95:1-7 (Venite, exultemus)

All:

A Call to Worship

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For the Lord is the great God,
And the great King above all gods.
In His hand are the deep places of the earth;
The heights of the hills are His also.
The sea is His, for He made it;
And His hands formed the dry land.

Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture,
And the sheep of His hand.

All:
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


MORNING PSALM

Psalm 35

The Lord the Avenger of His People
A Psalm of David.

Plead my cause, O Lord, with those who strive with me;
Fight against those who fight against me.
Take hold of shield and buckler,
And stand up for my help.
Also draw out the spear,
And stop those who pursue me.
Say to my soul,
“I am your salvation.”

Let those be put to shame and brought to dishonor
Who seek after my life;
Let those be turned back and brought to confusion
Who plot my hurt.
Let them be like chaff before the wind,
And let the angel of the Lord chase them.
Let their way be dark and slippery,
And let the angel of the Lord pursue them.
For without cause they have hidden their net for me in a pit,
Which they have dug without cause for my life.
Let destruction come upon him unexpectedly,
And let his net that he has hidden catch himself;
Into that very destruction let him fall.

And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord;
It shall rejoice in His salvation.
All my bones shall say,
Lord, who is like You,
Delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him,
Yes, the poor and the needy from him who plunders him?”

Fierce witnesses rise up;
They ask me things that I do not know.
They reward me evil for good,
To the sorrow of my soul.
But as for me, when they were sick,
My clothing was sackcloth;
I humbled myself with fasting;
And my prayer would return to my own heart.
I paced about as though he were my friend or brother;
I bowed down heavily, as one who mourns for his mother.

But in my adversity they rejoiced
And gathered together;
Attackers gathered against me,
And I did not know it;
They tore at me and did not cease;
With ungodly mockers at feasts
They gnashed at me with their teeth.

Lord, how long will You look on?
Rescue me from their destructions,
My precious life from the lions.
I will give You thanks in the great assembly;
I will praise You among many people.

Let them not rejoice over me who are wrongfully my enemies;
Nor let them wink with the eye who hate me without a cause.
For they do not speak peace,
But they devise deceitful matters
Against the quiet ones in the land.
They also opened their mouth wide against me,
And said, “Aha, aha!
Our eyes have seen it.”

This You have seen, O Lord;
Do not keep silence.
O Lord, do not be far from me.
Stir up Yourself, and awake to my vindication,
To my cause, my God and my Lord.
Vindicate me, O Lord my God, according to Your righteousness;
And let them not rejoice over me.
Let them not say in their hearts, “Ah, so we would have it!”
Let them not say, “We have swallowed him up.”

Let them be ashamed and brought to mutual confusion
Who rejoice at my hurt;
Let them be clothed with shame and dishonor
Who exalt themselves against me.

Let them shout for joy and be glad,
Who favor my righteous cause;
And let them say continually,
“Let the Lord be magnified,
Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.”
And my tongue shall speak of Your righteousness
And of Your praise all the day long.

All:
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


WORSHIP

All:
(A time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous. Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)


PRAYER & INTERCESSION

Reader:
Let us pray for the day and its tasks, for the church and her life, and for the world and its needs.

(You may use these prayers as written or use them as ‘prayer pointers’ for your own spontaneous petitions.

Personal Requests

  • Mighty Lord, we offer this new day as a gift to you even as you have given it freely to us. Fill our hearts with joy and our path with peace as we enter upon the business of the day, and may your presence go with us to bring us rest.
             – For we are the sheep of your pasture…
  • May we be messengers of love to this world today. Knowing that the words of the wise are few; may only that which is true, kind and necessary pass from our lips.
             – For we are the sheep of your pasture…
  • For insight to untangle what is knotted and wisdom to straighten that which is crooked.
             – For we are the sheep of your pasture…
  • For calmness to accept that which cannot be changed and grace to accept that which shouldn’t be altered.
             – For we are the sheep of your pasture…

Family & Friends

  • Lord Jesus, you call us your friends and consider us your disciples. May our friendships lead us more deeply in devotion to you and may the lonely find shelter in our homes and hearts.
             – For we are the sheep of your pasture…
  • Comfort those who have been broken by abuse or abandonment; or consider themselves unloved and unlovely.
             – For we are the sheep of your pasture…
  • For those at the beginning of life’s journey, that they may be deeply loved and cared for. Keep the children of our community from all harm. May they find happiness and joy.
             – For we are the sheep of your pasture…
  • For those who are nearing the end of their race; may their fears be transformed into anticipation and their faith bear much fruit in the latter day.
             – For we are the sheep of your pasture…

The Church

  • Lord Jesus, we call those who are wandering back into your fold, even as you came “to seek and to save that which was lost.” Let the prodigals return and the confused find rest.
             – For we are the sheep of your pasture…
  • For those who are sick in mind, body and spirit, speak your word and heal their disease.
             – For we are the sheep of your pasture…
  • Bless the work of those in pastoral ministries, tending the flock and restoring the bruised and broken…
             – For we are the sheep of your pasture…
  • For the grace to be subject to one another in love, preferring the other before ourselves.
             – For we are the sheep of your pasture…

The World

  • Ever-living God, we stand in the place of intercession and ask for your mercy upon our nation. If you remembered our transgressions, then who could stand? Show yourself strong in compassion and forgive us our sins.
             – For we are the sheep of your pasture…
  • For those living on the streets, without family or home. Empower your church, that none may sleep rough without the offer of shelter.
             – For we are the sheep of your pasture…
  • For your people working in education, social services, law enforcement and the judiciary, that their light may shine brightly…
             – For we are the sheep of your pasture…
  • For our Queen and Royal family. May she defend your cause, be protected from her enemies and know your peace.
             – For we are the sheep of your pasture


THE LORD’S
PRAYER

Reader:
And so we pray…

All:
Our Father in heaven,
Holy is Your Name.
Your Kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
Forever and ever. Amen.


GOSPEL READING

Matthew 15:21-28

The Faith of a Canaanite Woman

And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

Reader:
The Word of the Lord.
All:
Thanks be to God.


Pause for Reflection…

READING: THE WAY OF CHRIST (Optional)

Principle of discipleship drawn from the book, “The Way of Christ”

Reader:
The Way of Community: The Principle of Celebration.

Recognising the power of corporate witness and worship, I prioritise the Sunday gatherings of my church, committing to being a contributor and not just a consumer. As a follower of the Way of Community, I will find a place to serve within the church and arrive on time, with an expectant heart and a cheerful spirit.

All:
This is The Way of Community: The Principle of Celebration.


Pause for Reflection…


THE APOSTLES CREED

Reader:
And so we make our declaration of faith…

All:
We believe in God the Father, Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth:
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, dead, and buried:
He descended into the grave;
The third day he rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
And sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
From there he shall come to judge the living and the dead.
We believe in the Holy Spirit;
The Holy Worldwide Church;
The Communion of Saints;
The Forgiveness of sins;
The Resurrection of the body,
And the Life everlasting. Amen.


COLLECT

Reader:
(Either this or an alternative closing prayer may be said.)

Most loving Father,
Whose will it is for us to give thanks for all things,
To fear nothing but the loss of you,
And to cast all our care on you who care for us:
Preserve us from faithless fears and worldly anxieties,
That no clouds of this mortal life may hide from us
The light of that love which is immortal,
And which you have manifested to us,
In your Son Jesus Christ our Lord;
Who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God, now and for ever. Amen.


BLESSING

Reader:
(When praying in community, this or a similar blessing may be used)

And may the light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,
Give light to your path and banish all fear and doubt. Amen.


Psalms taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Other Scripture taken from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Year IV: Week 4 of Epiphany

Thursday: Compline

ABOUT COMPLINE

Compline (which comes from the Latin word for completion) follows a very ancient format that has been largely unchanged for many centuries. It is simple enough to memorise and it’s familiar rhythm helps to wonderfully settle the mind before sleep. It is a time of quietness and reflection and is best done as the very last thing you do before turning off the lights and going to sleep.


CALL TO WORSHIP

Reader:
God, come to my assistance
All:
Lord, make haste to help me.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
All:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen


EXAMINATION OF
CONSCIENCE

We are called to have a clear conscience towards God and towards men, in our hearts and in our minds, in our actions and inactions. To do so, it is vital that we examine our conscience daily and ask for God’s mercy as we fall short and to ask His strength to do better.


Pause for Reflection…

 

All: (When praying in community, use the words in parenthesis)

I confess to God almighty,
(and to you my brothers and sisters,)
that I have greatly sinned,
In my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done and in what I have failed to do.
Through my fault, through my foolishness,
And through my fear.

Almighty God, have mercy upon me.
Forgive me all my sins,
and deliver me from all evil.
Confirm and strengthen me in all goodness,
and bring me to life everlasting.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Pause for Reflection…

Reader:
Lord, Have mercy.
All:
Lord, have mercy.
Reader:
Christ, Have mercy.
All:
Christ, have mercy.
Reader:
Lord, Have mercy.
All:
Lord, have mercy.


EVENING PSALM

Psalm 91

Safety of Abiding in the Presence of God

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.

“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”

All:
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


WORSHIP

All:
(A time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous. Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)


NEW TESTAMENT READING

Romans 14:1-12

Do Not Pass Judgement on One Another

As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgement on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgement on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honour of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honour of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honour of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

Why do you pass judgement on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgement seat of God; for it is written,

“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
    and every tongue shall confess to God.”

So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

Reader:
The Word of the Lord.
All:
Thanks be to God.


Pause for Reflection…


RESPONSORY

Reader:
Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.
All:
Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.

Reader:
You have redeemed us, Lord God of truth.
All:
I commend my spirit.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
All:
Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.


SONG OF SIMEON
(Nunc Dimitis)

All:
Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake;
Watch over us as we sleep,
That awake, we may keep watch with Christ,
And asleep, may rest in his peace.

Luke 2:29-32

Lord, now let your servant depart in peace,
your word has been fulfilled:
My own eyes have seen the salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all people.
A light to reveal you to the nations,
and the glory of your people, Israel.

All:
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

All:
Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake;
Watch over us as we sleep,
That awake, we may keep watch with Christ,
And asleep, may rest in his peace.


PRAYER

(You might like to spend a few moments thanking God for the day or bringing to him any outstanding issues.)


COLLECT

Reader:
(Either this or an alternative closing prayer may be said.)

Be present, O God,
And protect us through the silent hours of this night,
So that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this fleeting world,
May rest upon your eternal changelessness.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, your son our Lord,
Who is alive and reigns with you,
In the unity of the Spirit,
One God, now and forever, Amen


BLESSING

Reader:
(When praying in community, this or a similar blessing may be used)

May the all-powerful Lord grant us a restful night and a peaceful end. Amen


Psalms taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Other Scripture taken from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Year IV: Week 4 of Epiphany

Thursday: Afternoon Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

We are currently in the Epiphany season; the time between Christmas and Lent. Epiphany celebrates the long awaited manifestation of Christ; no longer as a baby in a manger but as the Saviour of the World. The Epiphany season continues right through until the beginning of Lent and the gospel readings follow Jesus’ early ministry. The afternoon readings continue a chronological tour through the scriptures; whilst the readings at Compline continue to work their way through Paul’s letter to the Romans.


CALL TO WORSHIP

Reader:
God, come to my assistance.
All:
Lord, make haste to help me.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
All:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen


AFTERNOON PSALM

Psalm 43

Prayer to God in Time of Trouble

Vindicate me, O God,
And plead my cause against an ungodly nation;
Oh, deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man!
For You are the God of my strength;
Why do You cast me off?
Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

Oh, send out Your light and Your truth!
Let them lead me;
Let them bring me to Your holy hill
And to Your tabernacle.
Then I will go to the altar of God,
To God my exceeding joy;
And on the harp I will praise You,
O God, my God.

Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.

All:

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


WORSHIP
(Optional)

All:
(A short time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous. Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)


OLD TESTAMENT READING

Genesis 28

Jacob Sent to Laban

Then Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and directed him, “You must not take a wife from the Canaanite women. Arise, go to Paddan-aram to the house of Bethuel your mother’s father, and take as your wife from there one of the daughters of Laban your mother’s brother. God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples. May he give the blessing of Abraham to you and to your offspring with you, that you may take possession of the land of your sojournings that God gave to Abraham!” Thus Isaac sent Jacob away. And he went to Paddan-aram, to Laban, the son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob’s and Esau’s mother.

Esau Marries an Ishmaelite

Now Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Paddan-aram to take a wife from there, and that as he blessed him he directed him, “You must not take a wife from the Canaanite women”, and that Jacob had obeyed his father and his mother and gone to Paddan-aram. So when Esau saw that the Canaanite women did not please Isaac his father, Esau went to Ishmael and took as his wife, besides the wives he had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebaioth.

Jacob’s Dream

Jacob left Beersheba and went towards Haran. And he came to a certain place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”

So early in the morning Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. He called the name of that place Bethel, but the name of the city was Luz at the first. Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God, and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.”

Reader:
The Word of the Lord.
All:
Thanks be to God.


Pause for Reflection……


PRAYER

(Take a moment to bring to God any issues that have arisen during the morning. You may like to end with the following prayer…)

Reader:

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

 

GRACE (Optional)

(If these prayers are taking place before food, you may like to say the Grace here instead.)

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 taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Other Scripture taken from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Year IV: Week 4 of Epiphany

Thursday: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

We are currently in the Epiphany season; the time between Christmas and Lent.  Epiphany celebrates the long awaited manifestation of Christ; no longer as a baby in a manger but as the Saviour of the World.  The Epiphany season continues right through until the beginning of Lent and the gospel readings follow Jesus’ early ministry.  The afternoon readings continue a chronological tour through the scriptures; whilst the readings at Compline continue to work their way through Paul’s letter to the Romans.


CALL TO WORSHIP

Reader:
Lord, Open my lips.
All:
And my mouth will give you praise.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
All:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen


INVITATORY PSALM:

Psalm 95:1-7 (Venite, exultemus)

All:

A Call to Worship

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For the Lord is the great God,
And the great King above all gods.
In His hand are the deep places of the earth;
The heights of the hills are His also.
The sea is His, for He made it;
And His hands formed the dry land.

Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture,
And the sheep of His hand.

All:
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


MORNING PSALM

Psalm 34

The Happiness of Those Who Trust in God
A Psalm of David when he pretended madness before Abinelech, who drove him away, and he departed.

I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make its boast in the Lord;
The humble shall hear of it and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together.

I sought the Lord, and He heard me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces were not ashamed.
This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him,
And saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him,
And delivers them.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints!
There is no want to those who fear Him.
The young lions lack and suffer hunger;
But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.

Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Who is the man who desires life,
And loves many days, that he may see good?
Keep your tongue from evil,
And your lips from speaking deceit.
Depart from evil and do good;
Seek peace and pursue it.

The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their cry.
The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
To cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears,
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the Lord delivers him out of them all.
He guards all his bones;
Not one of them is broken.
Evil shall slay the wicked,
And those who hate the righteous shall be condemned.
The Lord redeems the soul of His servants,
And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.

All:
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


WORSHIP

All:
(A time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous. Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)


PRAYER & INTERCESSION

Reader:
Let us pray for the day and its tasks, for the church and her life, and for the world and its needs.

(You may use these prayers as written or use them as ‘prayer pointers’ for your own spontaneous petitions.

Personal Requests

  • King of all, our lives are open before you and our hearts are laid bare. Renew us to the tasks set before us and restore us in your presence. Come, Holy Spirit and empower us for another day in your service as we cry…
             – Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord…
  • May we have freedom from lack, deliverance from debt and a hand open and ready to distribute, as we declare…
             – Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord…
  • For bodies that are whole and free from sickness, wisdom in eating and exercise, and courage to endure physical trials as we proclaim…
             – Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord…
  • For courage to deal with the ageing process that ever brings us one step closer to the day we shall join the angels around the throne singing…
             – Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord…

Family & Friends

  • Father of Jesus, may our families come to the knowledge of God and our friends to the salvation that you bring! May our witness be full of wisdom, our words be seasoned with salt and our care for them be shown by our actions as we say…
             – Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord…
  • Keep our children and young people in their school. May they be free from bullying and blessed with good friendships. May they find joy in your presence and sing…
             – Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord…
  • For those struggling with family conflict, crisis or who are faithfully caring for family members. May they ever know your song in their hearts…
             – Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord…

The Church

  • Lord Jesus, your Church is the most persecuted organism on the planet today. In the midst of her pain and the terrible price she must pay to continue her testimony, may her people be strong in adversity and kept by the power of God, as she joins heaven’s chorus singing…
             – Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord…
  • For Christians fleeing oppressive regimes and those who have lost their homes and belongings. Restore, O God that which the locust has eaten as we declare…
             – Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord…
  • For places where your people are being systematically persecuted and exterminated. For North Korea, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Sudan. May the Lion of Judah roar as we exclaim
             – Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord…

The World

  • Lord Jesus, you revealed yourself to the world as the prince of peace, who would, Judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.” Amen. So let it be…
             – Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord…
  • For all those involved in bringing peace to places of war and terror. Let the voice of the peacemaker be heard above the voice of the warmonger…
             – Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord…
  • For the peace of Jerusalem, the salvation of the Jews and the restoration of your people we pray…
             – Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord…


THE LORD’S
PRAYER

Reader:
And so we pray…

All:
Our Father in heaven,
Holy is Your Name.
Your Kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
Forever and ever. Amen.


GOSPEL READING

Matthew 15:1-20

Traditions and Commandments

Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, ‘Honour your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,” he need not honour his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:

“‘This people honours me with their lips,
    but their heart is far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
    teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”

What Defiles a Person

And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” But Peter said to him, “Explain the parable to us.” And he said, “Are you also still without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.”

Reader:
The Word of the Lord.
All:
Thanks be to God.


Pause for Reflection…

READING: THE WAY OF CHRIST (Optional)

Principle of discipleship drawn from the book, “The Way of Christ”

Reader:
The Way of Simplicity: The Principle of Moderation.

Recognising that my body is a temple, and that a simple life lived at a sustainable speed is deeply beneficial, I choose to be mindful of my habits of diet and exercise, and to dress simply and modestly. As a follower of the Way of Simplicity, I will not overeat, consume excess intoxicating substances, pollute my mind with impure thoughts or neglect my body through lack of adequate exercise.

All:
This is The Way of Simplicity: The Principle of Moderation.


Pause for Reflection…


THE APOSTLES CREED

Reader:
And so we make our declaration of faith…

All:
We believe in God the Father, Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth:
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, dead, and buried:
He descended into the grave;
The third day he rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
And sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
From there he shall come to judge the living and the dead.
We believe in the Holy Spirit;
The Holy Worldwide Church;
The Communion of Saints;
The Forgiveness of sins;
The Resurrection of the body,
And the Life everlasting. Amen.


COLLECT

Reader:
(Either this or an alternative closing prayer may be said.)

O Lord, you have taught us that without love whatever we do is meaningless;
Send your Holy Spirit and pour into our hearts your greatest gift of love,
The true bond of peace and of all virtue,
Without which whoever lives is accounted dead before you.
Grant this for the sake of your only Son Jesus Christ,
Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
One God, now and for ever. Amen


BLESSING

Reader:
(When praying in community, this or a similar blessing may be used)

And may God the Holy Spirit breathe life to your spirit,
Illumine your mind and bring peace to your heart. Amen.


Psalms taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Other Scripture taken from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Year IV: Week 4 of Epiphany

Wednesday: Compline

ABOUT COMPLINE

Compline (which comes from the Latin word for completion) follows a very ancient format that has been largely unchanged for many centuries. It is simple enough to memorise and it’s familiar rhythm helps to wonderfully settle the mind before sleep. It is a time of quietness and reflection and is best done as the very last thing you do before turning off the lights and going to sleep.


CALL TO WORSHIP

Reader:
God, come to my assistance
All:
Lord, make haste to help me.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
All:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen


EXAMINATION OF
CONSCIENCE

We are called to have a clear conscience towards God and towards men, in our hearts and in our minds, in our actions and inactions. To do so, it is vital that we examine our conscience daily and ask for God’s mercy as we fall short and to ask His strength to do better.


Pause for Reflection…

All: (When praying in community, use the words in parenthesis)

I confess to God almighty,
(and to you my brothers and sisters,)
that I have greatly sinned,
In my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done and in what I have failed to do.
Through my fault, through my foolishness,
And through my fear.

Almighty God, have mercy upon me.
Forgive me all my sins,
and deliver me from all evil.
Confirm and strengthen me in all goodness,
and bring me to life everlasting.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Pause for Reflection…

Reader:
Lord, Have mercy.
All:
Lord, have mercy.
Reader:
Christ, Have mercy.
All:
Christ, have mercy.
Reader:
Lord, Have mercy.
All:
Lord, have mercy.


EVENING PSALM

Psalm 31:1-5

The Lord a Fortress in Adversity
To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

In You, O Lord, I put my trust;
Let me never be ashamed;
Deliver me in Your righteousness.
Bow down Your ear to me,
Deliver me speedily;
Be my rock of refuge,
A fortress of defense to save me.

For You are my rock and my fortress;
Therefore, for Your name’s sake,
Lead me and guide me.
Pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me,
For You are my strength.
Into Your hand I commit my spirit;
You have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.

All:
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


WORSHIP

All:
(A time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous. Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)


NEW TESTAMENT READING

Romans 13:8-14

Fulfilling the Law Through Love

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet”, and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarrelling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

Reader:
The Word of the Lord.
All:
Thanks be to God.


Pause for Reflection…


RESPONSORY

Reader:
Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.
All:
Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.

Reader:
You have redeemed us, Lord God of truth.
All:
I commend my spirit.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
All:
Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.


SONG OF SIMEON
(Nunc Dimitis)

All:
Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake;
Watch over us as we sleep,
That awake, we may keep watch with Christ,
And asleep, may rest in his peace.

Luke 2:29-32

Lord, now let your servant depart in peace,
your word has been fulfilled:
My own eyes have seen the salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all people.
A light to reveal you to the nations,
and the glory of your people, Israel.

All:
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

All:
Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake;
Watch over us as we sleep,
That awake, we may keep watch with Christ,
And asleep, may rest in his peace.


PRAYER

(You might like to spend a few moments thanking God for the day or bringing to him any outstanding issues.)


COLLECT

Reader:
(Either this or an alternative closing prayer may be said.)

Be present, O God,
And protect us through the silent hours of this night,
So that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this fleeting world,
May rest upon your eternal changelessness.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, your son our Lord,
Who is alive and reigns with you,
In the unity of the Spirit,
One God, now and forever, Amen


BLESSING

Reader:
(When praying in community, this or a similar blessing may be used)

May the all-powerful Lord grant us a restful night and a peaceful end. Amen


Psalms taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Other Scripture taken from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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