Year V: Week 3 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

For the choir director: A psalm of David, regarding the time Nathan the prophet came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.

Have mercy on me, O God,
because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
blot out the stain of my sins.
Wash me clean from my guilt.
Purify me from my sin.
For I recognize my rebellion;
it haunts me day and night.
Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in your sight.
You will be proved right in what you say,
and your judgment against me is just.
For I was born a sinner—
yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.
But you desire honesty from the womb,
teaching me wisdom even there.

Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Oh, give me back my joy again;
you have broken me—
now let me rejoice.
Don’t keep looking at my sins.
Remove the stain of my guilt.
Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.
Do not banish me from your presence,
and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you.
Then I will teach your ways to rebels,
and they will return to you.
Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves;
then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness.
Unseal my lips, O Lord,
that my mouth may praise you.

You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one.
You do not want a burnt offering.
The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.
You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
Look with favor on Zion and help her;
rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
Then you will be pleased with sacrifices offered in the right spirit—
with burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings.
Then bulls will again be sacrificed 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

Colossians 1:1-14

From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus. I am an apostle because that is what God wanted. Also from Timothy, our brother.

To the holy and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ that live in Colossae:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father.

In our prayers for you we always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, because we have heard about the faith you have in Christ Jesus and the love you have for all of God’s people. You have this faith and love because of your hope, and what you hope for is kept safe for you in heaven. You learned about this hope when you heard the message about the truth, the Good News that was told to you. Everywhere in the world that Good News is bringing blessings and is growing. This has happened with you, too, since you heard the Good News and understood the truth about the grace of God. You learned about God’s grace from Epaphras, whom we love. He works together with us and is a faithful servant of Christ for us. He also told us about the love you have from the Holy Spirit.

Because of this, since the day we heard about you, we have continued praying for you, asking God that you will know fully what he wants. We pray that you will also have great wisdom and understanding in spiritual things so that you will live the kind of life that honors and pleases the Lord in every way. You will produce fruit in every good work and grow in the knowledge of God. God will strengthen you with his own great power so that you will not give up when troubles come, but you will be patient. And you will joyfully give thanks to the Father who has made you able to have a share in all that he has prepared for his people in the kingdom of light. God has freed us from the power of darkness, and he brought us into the kingdom of his dear Son. The Son paid for our sins, and in him we have forgiveness.

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 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.

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Year V: Week 3 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’s.


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

For the choir director: A psalm of the descendants of Korah.

Listen to this, all you people!
    Pay attention, everyone in the world!
High and low,
    rich and poor—listen!
For my words are wise,
    and my thoughts are filled with insight.
I listen carefully to many proverbs
    and solve riddles with inspiration from a harp.

Why should I fear when trouble comes,
    when enemies surround me?
They trust in their wealth
    and boast of great riches.
Yet they cannot redeem themselves from death
    by paying a ransom to God.
Redemption does not come so easily,
    for no one can ever pay enough
to live forever
    and never see the grave.

Those who are wise must finally die,
    just like the foolish and senseless,
    leaving all their wealth behind.
The grave is their eternal home,
    where they will stay forever.
They may name their estates after themselves,
    but their fame will not last.
    They will die, just like animals.
This is the fate of fools,
    though they are remembered as being wise. Interlude

Like sheep, they are led to the grave,
    where death will be their shepherd.
In the morning the godly will rule over them.
    Their bodies will rot in the grave,
    far from their grand estates.
But as for me, God will redeem my life.
    He will snatch me from the power of the grave. Interlude

So don’t be dismayed when the wicked grow rich
    and their homes become ever more splendid.
For when they die, they take nothing with them.
    Their wealth will not follow them into the grave.
In this life they consider themselves fortunate
    and are applauded for their success.
But they will die like all before them
    and never again see the light of day.
People who boast of their wealth don’t understand;
    they will die, just like animals.

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 27:30-46

Isaac finished blessing Jacob. Then, just as Jacob left his father Isaac, Esau came in from hunting. He also prepared some tasty food and brought it to his father. He said, “Father, rise and eat the food that your son killed for you and then bless me.”

Isaac asked, “Who are you?”

He answered, “I am your son—your firstborn son—Esau.”

Then Isaac trembled greatly and said, “Then who was it that hunted the animals and brought me food before you came? I ate it, and I blessed him, and it is too late now to take back my blessing.”

When Esau heard the words of his father, he let out a loud and bitter cry. He said to his father, “Bless me—me, too, my father!”

But Isaac said, “Your brother came and tricked me. He has taken your blessing.”

Esau said, “Jacob is the right name for him. He has tricked me these two times. He took away my share of everything you own, and now he has taken away my blessing.” Then Esau asked, “Haven’t you saved a blessing for me?”

Isaac answered, “I gave Jacob the power to be master over you, and all his brothers will be his servants. And I kept him strong with grain and new wine. There is nothing left to give you, my son.”

But Esau continued, “Do you have only one blessing, Father? Bless me, too, Father!” Then Esau began to cry out loud.

Isaac said to him,

“You will live far away from the best land,
    far from the rain.
You will live by using your sword,
    and you will be a slave to your brother.
But when you struggle,
    you will break free from him.”

After that Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing from Isaac. He thought to himself, “My father will soon die, and I will be sad for him. Then I will kill Jacob.”

Rebekah heard about Esau’s plan to kill Jacob. So she sent for Jacob and said to him, “Listen, your brother Esau is comforting himself by planning to kill you. So, my son, do what I say. My brother Laban is living in Haran. Go to him at once! Stay with him for a while, until your brother is not so angry. In time, your brother will not be angry, and he will forget what you did to him. Then I will send a servant to bring you back. I don’t want to lose both of my sons on the same day.”

Then Rebekah said to Isaac, “I am tired of Hittite women. If Jacob marries one of these Hittite women here in this land, I want to die.”

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)

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.

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Year V: Week 3 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

For the choir director: A psalm of David, the servant of the Lord.

Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts.
    They have no fear of God at all.
In their blind conceit,
    they cannot see how wicked they really are.
Everything they say is crooked and deceitful.
    They refuse to act wisely or do good.
They lie awake at night, hatching sinful plots.
    Their actions are never good.
    They make no attempt to turn from evil.

Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens;
    your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
    your justice like the ocean depths.
You care for people and animals alike, O Lord.
    How precious is your unfailing love, O God!
All humanity finds shelter
    in the shadow of your wings.
You feed them from the abundance of your own house,
    letting them drink from your river of delights.
For you are the fountain of life,
    the light by which we see.

Pour out your unfailing love on those who love you;
    give justice to those with honest hearts.
Don’t let the proud trample me
    or the wicked push me around.
Look! Those who do evil have fallen!
    They are thrown down, never to rise again.

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 ti        me 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 People

After leaving there, Jesus went along the shore of Lake Galilee. He went up on a hill and sat there.

Great crowds came to Jesus, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, those who could not speak, and many others. They put them at Jesus’ feet, and he healed them. The crowd was amazed when they saw that people who could not speak before were now able to speak. The crippled were made strong. The lame could walk, and the blind could see. And they praised the God of Israel for this.

More than Four Thousand Fed

Jesus called his followers to him and said, “I feel sorry for these people, because they have already been with me three days, and they have nothing to eat. I don’t want to send them away hungry. They might faint while going home.”

His followers asked him, “How can we get enough bread to feed all these people? We are far away from any town.”

Jesus asked, “How many loaves of bread do you have?”

They answered, “Seven, and a few small fish.”

Jesus told the people to sit on the ground. He took the seven loaves of bread and the fish and gave thanks to God. Then he divided the food and gave it to his followers, and they gave it to the people. All the people ate and were satisfied. Then his followers filled seven baskets with the leftover pieces of food. There were about four thousand men there who ate, besides women and children. After sending the people home, Jesus got into the boat and went to the area 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 Peace: The Principle of Ecumenism Amongst the Churches.

Conscious of the terrible disfigurement to the face of Christ through the fragmenting of His body on earth, I will work for the fulfilment of Jesus’ Prayer “that they may be one.” As a follower of the Way of Peace, I will not engage in unprofitable theological controversy, or allow my personal opinions to break the bond of love with my brothers and sisters of other churches, but will humbly seek to learn from their experience of faith.

All:
This is The Way of Peace: The Principle of Ecumenism Amongst the Churches.


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 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.

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Year V: Week 3 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

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.

Oh, praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord,
you who serve at night in the house of the Lord.
Lift your hands toward the sanctuary,
and praise the Lord.

May the Lord, who made heaven and earth,
bless you from Jerusalem.

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 16:1-27

Greetings to the Christians

I recommend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a helper in the church in Cenchrea. I ask you to accept her in the Lord in the way God’s people should. Help her with anything she needs, because she has helped me and many other people also.

Give my greetings to Priscilla and Aquila, who work together with me in Christ Jesus and who risked their own lives to save my life. I am thankful to them, and all the non-Jewish churches are thankful as well. Also, greet for me the church that meets at their house.

Greetings to my dear friend Epenetus, who was the first person in Asia to follow Christ. Greetings to Mary, who worked very hard for you. Greetings to Andronicus and Junia, my relatives, who were in prison with me. They are very important apostles. They were believers in Christ before I was. Greetings to Ampliatus, my dear friend in the Lord. Greetings to Urbanus, a worker together with me for Christ. And greetings to my dear friend Stachys. Greetings to Apelles, who was tested and proved that he truly loves Christ. Greetings to all those who are in the family of Aristobulus. Greetings to Herodion, my fellow citizen. Greetings to all those in the family of Narcissus who belong to the Lord. Greetings to Tryphena and Tryphosa, women who work very hard for the Lord. Greetings to my dear friend Persis, who also has worked very hard for the Lord. Greetings to Rufus, who is a special person in the Lord, and to his mother, who has been like a mother to me also. Greetings to Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and all the brothers and sisters who are with them. Greetings to Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and to all God’s people with them. Greet each other with a holy kiss. All of Christ’s churches send greetings to you.

Brothers and sisters, I ask you to look out for those who cause people to be against each other and who upset other people’s faith. They are against the true teaching you learned, so stay away from them. Such people are not serving our Lord Christ but are only doing what pleases themselves. They use fancy talk and fine words to fool the minds of those who do not know about evil. All the believers have heard that you obey, so I am very happy because of you. But I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil.

The God who brings peace will soon defeat Satan and give you power over him.

The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

Timothy, a worker together with me, sends greetings, as well as Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater, my relatives.

I am Tertius, and I am writing this letter from Paul. I send greetings to you in the Lord.

Gaius is letting me and the whole church here use his home. He also sends greetings to you, as do Erastus, the city treasurer, and our brother Quartus. [The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you. Amen.]

Glory to God who can make you strong in faith by the Good News that I tell people and by the message about Jesus Christ. The message about Christ is the secret that was hidden for long ages past but is now made known. It has been made clear through the writings of the prophets. And by the command of the eternal God it is made known to all nations that they might believe and obey.

To the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.

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 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.

Standard
Year V: Week 3 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

For the choir director: A psalm of the descendants of Korah.

O God, we have heard it with our own ears—
    our ancestors have told us
of all you did in their day,
    in days long ago:
You drove out the pagan nations by your power
    and gave all the land to our ancestors.
You crushed their enemies
    and set our ancestors free.
They did not conquer the land with their swords;
    it was not their own strong arm that gave them victory.
It was your right hand and strong arm
    and the blinding light from your face that helped them,
    for you loved them.

You are my King and my God.
    You command victories for Israel.
Only by your power can we push back our enemies;
    only in your name can we trample our foes.
I do not trust in my bow;
    I do not count on my sword to save me.
You are the one who gives us victory over our enemies;
    you disgrace those who hate us.
O God, we give glory to you all day long
    and constantly praise your name. Interlude

But now you have tossed us aside in dishonor.
    You no longer lead our armies to battle.
You make us retreat from our enemies
    and allow those who hate us to plunder our land.
You have butchered us like sheep
    and scattered us among the nations.
You sold your precious people for a pittance,
    making nothing on the sale.
You let our neighbors mock us.
    We are an object of scorn and derision to those around us.
You have made us the butt of their jokes;
    they shake their heads at us in scorn.
We can’t escape the constant humiliation;
    shame is written across our faces.
All we hear are the taunts of our mockers.
    All we see are our vengeful enemies.

All this has happened though we have not forgotten you.
    We have not violated your covenant.
Our hearts have not deserted you.
    We have not strayed from your path.
Yet you have crushed us in the jackal’s desert home.
    You have covered us with darkness and death.
If we had forgotten the name of our God
    or spread our hands in prayer to foreign gods,
God would surely have known it,
    for he knows the secrets of every heart.
But for your sake we are killed every day;
    we are being slaughtered like sheep.

Wake up, O Lord! Why do you sleep?
    Get up! Do not reject us forever.
Why do you look the other way?
    Why do you ignore our suffering and oppression?
We collapse in the dust,
    lying face down in the dirt.
Rise up! Help us!
    Ransom us because of your unfailing love.

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 27:1-29

Jacob Tricks Isaac

When Isaac was old, his eyesight was poor, so he could not see clearly. One day he called his older son Esau to him and said, “Son.”

Esau answered, “Here I am.”

Isaac said, “I am old and don’t know when I might die. So take your bow and arrows and go hunting in the field for an animal for me to eat. When you prepare the tasty food that I love, bring it to me, and I will eat. Then I will bless you before I die.” So Esau went out in the field to hunt.

Rebekah was listening as Isaac said this to his son Esau. She said to her son Jacob, “Listen, I heard your father saying to your brother Esau, ‘Kill an animal and prepare some tasty food for me to eat. Then I will bless you in the presence of the Lord before I die.’ So obey me, my son, and do what I tell you. Go out to our goats and bring me two of the best young ones. I will prepare them just the way your father likes them. Then you will take the food to your father, and he will bless you before he dies.”

But Jacob said to his mother Rebekah, “My brother Esau is a hairy man, and I am smooth! If my father touches me, he will know I am not Esau. Then he will not bless me but will place a curse on me because I tried to trick him.”

So Rebekah said to him, “If your father puts a curse on you, I will accept the blame. Just do what I said. Go get the goats for me.”

So Jacob went out and got two goats and brought them to his mother, and she cooked them in the special way Isaac enjoyed. She took the best clothes of her older son Esau that were in the house and put them on the younger son Jacob. She also took the skins of the goats and put them on Jacob’s hands and neck. Then she gave Jacob the tasty food and the bread she had made.

Jacob went in to his father and said, “Father.”

And his father said, “Yes, my son. Who are you?”

Jacob said to him, “I am Esau, your first son. I have done what you told me. Now sit up and eat some meat of the animal I hunted for you. Then bless me.”

But Isaac asked his son, “How did you find and kill the animal so quickly?”

Jacob answered, “Because the Lord your God helped me to find it.”

Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Come near so I can touch you, my son. Then I will know if you are really my son Esau.”

So Jacob came near to Isaac his father. Isaac touched him and said, “Your voice sounds like Jacob’s voice, but your hands are hairy like the hands of Esau.” Isaac did not know it was Jacob, because his hands were hairy like Esau’s hands, so Isaac blessed him. Isaac asked, “Are you really my son Esau?”

Jacob answered, “Yes, I am.”

Then Isaac said, “Bring me the food, and I will eat it and bless you.” So Jacob gave him the food, and he ate. Jacob gave him wine, and he drank. Then Isaac said to him, “My son, come near and kiss me.” So Jacob went to his father and kissed him. When Isaac smelled Esau’s clothes, he blessed him and said,

“The smell of my son
    is like the smell of the field
    that the Lord has blessed.
May God give you plenty of rain
    and good soil
    so that you will have plenty of grain and new wine.
May nations serve you
    and peoples bow down to you.
May you be master over your brothers,
    and may your mother’s sons bow down to you.
May everyone who curses you be cursed,
    and may everyone who blesses you be blessed.”

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)

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.

Standard
Year V: Week 3 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

A psalm of David.

O Lord, oppose those who oppose me.
    Fight those who fight against me.
Put on your armor, and take up your shield.
    Prepare for battle, and come to my aid.
Lift up your spear and javelin
    against those who pursue me.
Let me hear you say,
    “I will give you victory!”
Bring shame and disgrace on those trying to kill me;
    turn them back and humiliate those who want to harm me.
Blow them away like chaff in the wind—
    a wind sent by the angel of the Lord.
Make their path dark and slippery,
    with the angel of the Lord pursuing them.
I did them no wrong, but they laid a trap for me.
    I did them no wrong, but they dug a pit to catch me.
So let sudden ruin come upon them!
    Let them be caught in the trap they set for me!
    Let them be destroyed in the pit they dug for me.

Then I will rejoice in the Lord.
    I will be glad because he rescues me.
With every bone in my body I will praise him:
    Lord, who can compare with you?
Who else rescues the helpless from the strong?
    Who else protects the helpless and poor from those who rob them?”

Malicious witnesses testify against me.
    They accuse me of crimes I know nothing about.
They repay me evil for good.
    I am sick with despair.
Yet when they were ill, I grieved for them.
    I denied myself by fasting for them,
    but my prayers returned unanswered.
I was sad, as though they were my friends or family,
    as if I were grieving for my own mother.
But they are glad now that I am in trouble;
    they gleefully join together against me.
I am attacked by people I don’t even know;
    they slander me constantly.
They mock me and call me names;
    they snarl at me.

How long, O Lord, will you look on and do nothing?
    Rescue me from their fierce attacks.
    Protect my life from these lions!
Then I will thank you in front of the great assembly.
    I will praise you before all the people.
Don’t let my treacherous enemies rejoice over my defeat.
    Don’t let those who hate me without cause gloat over my sorrow.
They don’t talk of peace;
    they plot against innocent people who mind their own business.
They shout, “Aha! Aha!
    With our own eyes we saw him do it!”

O Lord, you know all about this.
    Do not stay silent.
    Do not abandon me now, O Lord.
Wake up! Rise to my defense!
    Take up my case, my God and my Lord.
Declare me not guilty, O Lord my God, for you give justice.
    Don’t let my enemies laugh about me in my troubles.
Don’t let them say, “Look, we got what we wanted!
    Now we will eat him alive!”

May those who rejoice at my troubles
    be humiliated and disgraced.
May those who triumph over me
    be covered with shame and dishonor.
But give great joy to those who came to my defense.
    Let them continually say, “Great is the Lord,
    who delights in blessing his servant with peace!”
Then I will proclaim your justice,
    and I will praise you all 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

Jesus Helps a Non-Jewish Woman

Jesus left that place and went to the area of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that area came to Jesus and cried out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter has a demon, and she is suffering very much.”

But Jesus did not answer the woman. So his followers came to Jesus and begged him, “Tell the woman to go away. She is following us and shouting.”

Jesus answered, “God sent me only to the lost sheep, the people of Israel.”

Then the woman came to Jesus again and bowed before him and said, “Lord, help me!”

Jesus answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and give it to the dogs.”

The woman said, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”

Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! I will do what you asked.” And at that moment the woman’s daughter was healed.

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 Peace: The Principle of Harmony Amongst the Saints.

Admitting that at best I only see dimly and understand incompletely, I determine to live in unity with my brothers and sisters, maintaining at all times the unity of the spirit. As a follower of the Way of Peace, I will quickly forgive perceived wrongs committed against me, and not allow anger, resentment or unkind words to abide in my heart or on my lips.

All:
This is The Way of Peace: The Principle of Harmony Amongst the Saints.


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 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.

Standard
Year V: Week 3 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

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.
He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor the arrow that flies in the day.
Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you.
Just open your eyes,
and see how the wicked are punished.

If you make the Lord your refuge,
if you make the Most High your shelter,
no evil will conquer you;
no plague will come near your home.
For he will order his angels
to protect you wherever you go.
They will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
You will trample upon lions and cobras;
you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!

The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them.
I will reward them with a long life
and give them 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 15:14-33

Paul Talks About His Work

My brothers and sisters, I am sure that you are full of goodness. I know that you have all the knowledge you need and that you are able to teach each other. But I have written to you very openly about some things I wanted you to remember. I did this because God gave me this special gift: to be a minister of Christ Jesus to those who are not Jews. I served God by teaching his Good News, so that the non-Jewish people could be an offering that God would accept—an offering made holy by the Holy Spirit.

So I am proud of what I have done for God in Christ Jesus. I will not talk about anything except what Christ has done through me in leading those who are not Jews to obey God. They have obeyed God because of what I have said and done, because of the power of miracles and the great things they saw, and because of the power of the Holy Spirit. I preached the Good News from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, and so I have finished that part of my work. I always want to preach the Good News in places where people have never heard of Christ, because I do not want to build on the work someone else has already started. But it is written in the Scriptures:

“Those who were not told about him will see,
    and those who have not heard about him will understand.”

Paul’s Plan to Visit Rome

This is the reason I was stopped many times from coming to you. Now I have finished my work here. Since for many years I have wanted to come to you, I hope to visit you on my way to Spain. After I enjoy being with you for a while, I hope you can help me on my trip. Now I am going to Jerusalem to help God’s people. The believers in Macedonia and Southern Greece were happy to give their money to help the poor among God’s people at Jerusalem. They were happy to do this, and really they owe it to them. These who are not Jews have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, so they should use their material possessions to help the Jews. After I am sure the poor in Jerusalem get the money that has been given for them, I will leave for Spain and stop and visit you. I know that when I come to you I will bring Christ’s full blessing.

Brothers and sisters, I beg you to help me in my work by praying to God for me. Do this because of our Lord Jesus and the love that the Holy Spirit gives us. Pray that I will be saved from the nonbelievers in Judea and that this help I bring to Jerusalem will please God’s people there. Then, if God wants me to, I will come to you with joy, and together you and I will have a time of rest. The God who gives peace be with you all. Amen.

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 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.

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Year V: Week 3 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

Declare me innocent, O God!
    Defend me against these ungodly people.
    Rescue me from these unjust liars.
For you are God, my only safe haven.
    Why have you tossed me aside?
Why must I wander around in grief,
    oppressed by my enemies?
Send out your light and your truth;
    let them guide me.
Let them lead me to your holy mountain,
    to the place where you live.
There I will go to the altar of God,
    to God—the source of all my joy.
I will praise you with my harp,
    O God, my God!

Why am I discouraged?
    Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
    I will praise him again—
    my Savior 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 26:1-35

Isaac Lies to Abimelech

Now there was a time of hunger in the land, besides the time of hunger that happened during Abraham’s life. So Isaac went to the town of Gerar to see Abimelech king of the Philistines. The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, “Don’t go down to Egypt, but live in the land where I tell you to live. Stay in this land, and I will be with you and bless you. I will give you and your descendants all these lands, and I will keep the oath I made to Abraham your father. I will give you many descendants, as hard to count as the stars in the sky, and I will give them all these lands. Through your descendants all the nations on the earth will be blessed. I will do this because your father Abraham obeyed me. He did what I said and obeyed my commands, my teachings, and my rules.”

So Isaac stayed in Gerar. His wife Rebekah was very beautiful, and the men of that place asked Isaac about her. Isaac said, “She is my sister,” because he was afraid to tell them she was his wife. He thought they might kill him so they could have her.

Isaac lived there a long time. One day as Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out his window, he saw Isaac holding his wife Rebekah tenderly. Abimelech called for Isaac and said, “This woman is your wife. Why did you say she was your sister?”

Isaac said to him, “I was afraid you would kill me so you could have her.”

Abimelech said, “What have you done to us? One of our men might have had sexual relations with your wife. Then we would have been guilty of a great sin.”

So Abimelech warned everyone, “Anyone who touches this man or his wife will be put to death.”

Isaac Becomes Rich

Isaac planted seed in that land, and that year he gathered a great harvest. The Lord blessed him very much, and he became rich. He gathered more wealth until he became a very rich man. He had so many slaves and flocks and herds that the Philistines envied him. So they stopped up all the wells the servants of Isaac’s father Abraham had dug. (They had dug them when Abraham was alive.) The Philistines filled those wells with dirt. And Abimelech said to Isaac, “Leave our country because you have become much more powerful than we are.”

So Isaac left that place and camped in the Valley of Gerar and lived there. Long before this time Abraham had dug many wells, but after he died, the Philistines filled them with dirt. So Isaac dug those wells again and gave them the same names his father had given them. Isaac’s servants dug a well in the valley, from which a spring of water flowed. But the herdsmen of Gerar argued with them and said, “This water is ours.” So Isaac named that well Argue because they argued with him. Then his servants dug another well. When the people also argued about it, Isaac named that well Fight. He moved from there and dug another well. No one argued about this one, so he named it Room Enough. Isaac said, “Now the Lord has made room for us, and we will be successful in this land.”

From there Isaac went to Beersheba. The Lord appeared to him that night and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham. Don’t be afraid, because I am with you. I will bless you and give you many descendants because of my servant Abraham.” So Isaac built an altar and worshiped the Lord there. He also made a camp there, and his servants dug a well.

Abimelech came from Gerar to see Isaac. He brought with him Ahuzzath, who advised him, and Phicol, the commander of his army. Isaac asked them, “Why have you come to see me? You were my enemy and forced me to leave your country.”

They answered, “Now we know that the Lord is with you. Let us swear an oath to each other. Let us make an agreement with you that since we did not hurt you, you will not hurt us. We were good to you and sent you away in peace. Now the Lord has blessed you.”

So Isaac prepared food for them, and they all ate and drank. Early the next morning the men swore an oath to each other. Then Isaac sent them away, and they left in peace.

That day Isaac’s servants came and told him about the well they had dug, saying, “We found water in that well.” So Isaac named it Shibah and that city is called Beersheba even now.

When Esau was forty years old, he married two Hittite women—Judith daughter of Beeri and Basemath daughter of Elon. These women brought much sorrow to Isaac and Rebekah.

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)

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.

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Year V: Week 3 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

A psalm of David, regarding the time he pretended to be insane in front of Abimelech, who sent him away.

I will praise the Lord at all times.
    I will constantly speak his praises.
I will boast only in the Lord;
    let all who are helpless take heart.
Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness;
    let us exalt his name together.

I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.
    He freed me from all my fears.
Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;
    no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened;
    he saved me from all my troubles.
For the angel of the Lord is a guard;
    he surrounds and defends all who fear him.

Taste and see that the Lord is good.
    Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
Fear the Lord, you his godly people,
    for those who fear him will have all they need.
Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,
    but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.

Come, my children, and listen to me,
    and I will teach you to fear the Lord.
Does anyone want to live a life
    that is long and prosperous?
Then keep your tongue from speaking evil
    and your lips from telling lies!
Turn away from evil and do good.
    Search for peace, and work to maintain it.

The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right;
    his ears are open to their cries for help.
But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil;
    he will erase their memory from the earth.
The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.
    He rescues them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
    he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

The righteous person faces many troubles,
    but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.
For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous;
    not one of them is broken!

Calamity will surely destroy the wicked,
    and those who hate the righteous will be punished.
But the Lord will redeem those who serve him.
    No one who takes refuge in him will 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, India, China 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

Obey God’s Law

Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem. They asked him, “Why don’t your followers obey the unwritten laws which have been handed down to us? They don’t wash their hands before they eat.”

Jesus answered, “And why do you refuse to obey God’s command so that you can follow your own teachings? God said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and ‘Anyone who says cruel things to his father or mother must be put to death.’ But you say a person can tell his father or mother, ‘I have something I could use to help you, but I have given it to God already.’ You teach that person not to honor his father or his mother. You rejected what God said for the sake of your own rules. You are hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he said about you:

‘These people show honor to me with words,
    but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me is worthless.
    The things they teach are nothing but human rules.’”

After Jesus called the crowd to him, he said, “Listen and understand what I am saying. It is not what people put into their mouths that makes them unclean. It is what comes out of their mouths that makes them unclean.”

Then his followers came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees are angry because of what you said?”

Jesus answered, “Every plant that my Father in heaven has not planted himself will be pulled up by the roots. Stay away from the Pharisees; they are blind leaders. And if a blind person leads a blind person, both will fall into a ditch.”

Peter said, “Explain the example to us.”

Jesus said, “Do you still not understand? Surely you know that all the food that enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then goes out of the body. But what people say with their mouths comes from the way they think; these are the things that make people unclean. Out of the mind come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual sins, stealing, lying, and speaking evil of others. These things make people unclean; eating with unwashed hands does not make them unclean.”

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 Peace: The Principle of Cultivation of a Tranquil Heart.

Recognising that only a heart that is at peace can minister peace to a broken world, I determine to keep myself in the love of God. As a follower of the Way of Peace, I establish my heart in the presence of God by the daily practice of the spiritual disciplines.

All:
This is The Way of Peace: The Principle of Cultivation of a Tranquil Heart.


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 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.

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Year V: Week 3 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

For the choir director: A psalm of David.

O Lord, I have come to you for protection;
don’t let me be disgraced.
Save me, for you do what is right.
Turn your ear to listen to me;
rescue me quickly.
Be my rock of protection,
a fortress where I will be safe.
You are my rock and my fortress.
For the honor of your name, lead me out of this danger.
Pull me from the trap my enemies set for me,
for I find protection in you alone.
I entrust my spirit into your hand.
Rescue me, Lord, for you are a faithful 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

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

We who are strong in faith should help the weak with their weaknesses, and not please only ourselves. Let each of us please our neighbors for their good, to help them be stronger in faith. Even Christ did not live to please himself. It was as the Scriptures said: “When people insult you, it hurts me.” Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us. The Scriptures give us patience and encouragement so that we can have hope. May the patience and encouragement that come from God allow you to live in harmony with each other the way Christ Jesus wants. Then you will all be joined together, and you will give glory to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Christ accepted you, so you should accept each other, which will bring glory to God. I tell you that Christ became a servant of the Jews to show that God’s promises to the Jewish ancestors are true. And he also did this so that those who are not Jews could give glory to God for the mercy he gives to them. It is written in the Scriptures:

“So I will praise you among the non-Jewish people.
    I will sing praises to your name.”

The Scripture also says,

“Be happy, you who are not Jews, together with his people.”

Again the Scripture says,

“All you who are not Jews, praise the Lord.
    All you people, sing praises to him.”

And Isaiah says,

“A new king will come from the family of Jesse.
    He will come to rule over the non-Jewish people,
and they will have hope because of him.”

I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace while you trust in him. Then your hope will overflow by the power of the Holy Spirit.

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 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.

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