Feast: Conversion of St. Paul: St. Paul was a zealous member of the Pharisees and an early persecutor of the church. His conversion happened after an encounter with the risen Christ on the Damascus Road, after which he became arguably the greatest of all the Apostles and is responsible for the writing of much of the New Testament and the establishing of dozens of churches across the Roman Empire. He was later imprisoned in Rome and beheaded in 67AD.
CALL TO WORSHIP
God, come to my assistance.
Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen
A psalm of David.
Declare me innocent, O Lord,
for I have acted with integrity;
I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.
Put me on trial, Lord, and cross-examine me.
Test my motives and my heart.
For I am always aware of your unfailing love,
and I have lived according to your truth.
I do not spend time with liars
or go along with hypocrites.
I hate the gatherings of those who do evil,
and I refuse to join in with the wicked.
I wash my hands to declare my innocence.
I come to your altar, O Lord,
singing a song of thanksgiving
and telling of all your wonders.
I love your sanctuary, Lord,
the place where your glorious presence dwells.
Don’t let me suffer the fate of sinners.
Don’t condemn me along with murderers.
Their hands are dirty with evil schemes,
and they constantly take bribes.
But I am not like that; I live with integrity.
So redeem me and show me mercy.
Now I stand on solid ground,
and I will publicly praise the Lord.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen
(A short time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous. Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)
OLD TESTAMENT READING
God Tests Abraham
After these things God tested Abraham’s faith. God said to him, “Abraham!”
And he answered, “Here I am.”
Then God said, “Take your only son, Isaac, the son you love, and go to the land of Moriah. Kill him there and offer him as a whole burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”
Abraham got up early in the morning and saddled his donkey. He took Isaac and two servants with him. After he cut the wood for the sacrifice, they went to the place God had told them to go. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey. My son and I will go over there and worship, and then we will come back to you.”
Abraham took the wood for the sacrifice and gave it to his son to carry, but he himself took the knife and the fire. So he and his son went on together.
Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father!”
Abraham answered, “Yes, my son.”
Isaac said, “We have the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb we will burn as a sacrifice?”
Abraham answered, “God will give us the lamb for the sacrifice, my son.”
So Abraham and his son went on together and came to the place God had told him about. Abraham built an altar there. He laid the wood on it and then tied up his son Isaac and laid him on the wood on the altar. Then Abraham took his knife and was about to kill his son.
But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham! Abraham!”
Abraham answered, “Yes.”
The angel said, “Don’t kill your son or hurt him in any way. Now I can see that you trust God and that you have not kept your son, your only son, from me.”
Then Abraham looked up and saw a male sheep caught in a bush by its horns. So Abraham went and took the sheep and killed it. He offered it as a whole burnt offering to God, and his son was saved. So Abraham named that place The Lord Provides. Even today people say, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”
The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “The Lord says, ‘Because you did not keep back your son, your only son, from me, I make you this promise by my own name: I will surely bless you and give you many descendants. They will be as many as the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, and they will capture the cities of their enemies. Through your descendants all the nations on the earth will be blessed, because you obeyed me.’”
Then Abraham returned to his servants. They all traveled back to Beersheba, and Abraham stayed there.
After these things happened, someone told Abraham: “Your brother Nahor and his wife Milcah have children now. The first son is Uz, and the second is Buz. The third son is Kemuel (the father of Aram). Then there are Kesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel.” Bethuel became the father of Rebekah. Milcah was the mother of these eight sons, and Nahor, Abraham’s brother, was the father. Also Nahor had four other sons by his slave woman Reumah. Their names were Tebah, Gaham, Tahash, and Maacah.
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Pause for Reflection…
(Take a moment to bring to God any issues that have arisen during the morning. You may like to end with the following prayer…)
Lord Jesus, we thank you for the work of the morning,
For the challenges faced and the obstacles overcome.
Grant that the rest of this day be used for your glory,
As we offer ourselves afresh to you. Amen
Lord God, we thank you for your gift to us of this food;
Produce of earth, sky, many living beings, and much hard work.
May we eat with prayerfulness, gratitude and moderation;
With renewed minds and spirit-controlled appetites.
May we eat with compassion for those who hunger today,
And in such a way that reduces the suffering of all creatures;
Healing and preserving our precious planet.
Use this food to strengthen our bodies, revive our spirits,
Nurture our family and nourish our resolve;
That we may continue to serve all that lives with all our life. Amen
Psalms in Bold – Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved
All other Psalms – Scripture quotations are taken from The Living Bible copyright © 1971. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
All other Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.