In the church calendar the long stretch of time between Pentecost and the beginning of Advent is known as ‘Ordinary Time.’ Inasmuch as we have celebrated the birth, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus and the subsequent descent of the Holy Spirit; so this time is often seen as representative of the long ‘Church Age’ when the gospel is preached to all creation.
CALL TO WORSHIP
God, come to my assistance.
Lord, make haste to help me.
All glory to God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
As it has been from the beginning, is today and forever! Amen
O Lord, why do you stand so far away?
Why do you hide when I am in trouble?
The wicked arrogantly hunt down the poor.
Let them be caught in the evil they plan for others.
For they brag about their evil desires;
they praise the greedy and curse the Lord.
The wicked are too proud to seek God.
They seem to think that God is dead.
Yet they succeed in everything they do.
They do not see your punishment awaiting them.
They sneer at all their enemies.
They think, “Nothing bad will ever happen to us!
We will be free of trouble forever!”
Their mouths are full of cursing, lies, and threats.
Trouble and evil are on the tips of their tongues.
They lurk in ambush in the villages,
waiting to murder innocent people.
They are always searching for helpless victims.
Like lions crouched in hiding,
they wait to pounce on the helpless.
Like hunters they capture the helpless
and drag them away in nets.
Their helpless victims are crushed;
they fall beneath the strength of the wicked.
The wicked think, “God isn’t watching us!
He has closed his eyes and won’t even see what we do!”
Arise, O Lord!
Punish the wicked, O God!
Do not ignore the helpless!
Why do the wicked get away with despising God?
They think, “God will never call us to account.”
But you see the trouble and grief they cause.
You take note of it and punish them.
The helpless put their trust in you.
You defend the orphans.
Break the arms of these wicked, evil people!
Go after them until the last one is destroyed.
The Lord is king forever and ever!
The godless nations will vanish from the land.
Lord, you know the hopes of the helpless.
Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them.
You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed,
so mere people can no longer terrify them.
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
Song of Solomon 8:8-14
The Woman’s Brothers Speak
We have a little sister,
and her breasts are not yet grown.
What should we do for our sister
on the day she becomes engaged?
If she is a wall,
we will put silver towers on her.
If she is a door,
we will protect her with cedar boards.
The Woman Speaks
I am a wall,
and my breasts are like towers.
So I was to him,
as one who brings happiness.
Solomon had a vineyard at Baal Hamon.
He rented the vineyards for others to tend,
and everyone who rented had to pay
twenty-five pounds of silver for the fruit.
But my own vineyard is mine to give.
Solomon, the twenty-five pounds of silver are for you,
and five pounds are for those who tend the fruit.
The Man Speaks to the Woman
You who live in the gardens,
my friends are listening for your voice;
let me hear it.
The Woman Speaks to the Man
Hurry, my lover,
be like a gazelle
or a young deer
on the mountains where spices grow.
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 many blessings of this day,
Give us eyes to see the path ahead,
And faith to reach towards the prize. 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.