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
For he remembered that they were merely mortal,
gone like a breath of wind that never returns.
Oh, how often they rebelled against him in the wilderness
and grieved his heart in that dry wasteland.
Again and again they tested God’s patience
and provoked the Holy One of Israel.
They did not remember his power
and how he rescued them from their enemies.
They did not remember his miraculous signs in Egypt,
his wonders on the plain of Zoan.
For he turned their rivers into blood,
so no one could drink from the streams.
He sent vast swarms of flies to consume them
and hordes of frogs to ruin them.
He gave their crops to caterpillars;
their harvest was consumed by locusts.
He destroyed their grapevines with hail
and shattered their sycamore-figs with sleet.
He abandoned their cattle to the hail,
their livestock to bolts of lightning.
He loosed on them his fierce anger—
all his fury, rage, and hostility.
He dispatched against them
a band of destroying angels.
He turned his anger against them;
he did not spare the Egyptians’ lives
but ravaged them with the plague.
He killed the oldest son in each Egyptian family,
the flower of youth throughout the land of Egypt.
But he led his own people like a flock of sheep,
guiding them safely through the wilderness.
He kept them safe so they were not afraid;
but the sea covered their enemies.
He brought them to the border of his holy land,
to this land of hills he had won for them.
He drove out the nations before them;
he gave them their inheritance by lot.
He settled the tribes of Israel into their homes.
But they kept testing and rebelling against God Most High.
They did not obey his laws.
They turned back and were as faithless as their parents.
They were as undependable as a crooked bow.
They angered God by building shrines to other gods;
they made him jealous with their idols.
When God heard them, he was very angry,
and he completely rejected Israel.
Then he abandoned his dwelling at Shiloh,
the Tabernacle where he had lived among the people.
He allowed the Ark of his might to be captured;
he surrendered his glory into enemy hands.
He gave his people over to be butchered by the sword,
because he was so angry with his own people—his special possession.
Their young men were killed by fire;
their young women died before singing their wedding songs.
Their priests were slaughtered,
and their widows could not mourn their deaths.
Then the Lord rose up as though waking from sleep,
like a warrior aroused from a drunken stupor.
He routed his enemies
and sent them to eternal shame.
But he rejected Joseph’s descendants;
he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim.
He chose instead the tribe of Judah,
and Mount Zion, which he loved.
There he built his sanctuary as high as the heavens,
as solid and enduring as the earth.
He chose his servant David,
calling him from the sheep pens.
He took David from tending the ewes and lambs
and made him the shepherd of Jacob’s descendants—
God’s own people, Israel.
He cared for them with a true heart
and led them with skilful hands.
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
“Someone may have a boil on his skin that is healed. If in the place where the boil was, there is a white swelling or a bright red spot, this place on the skin must be shown to the priest. And the priest must look at it. If the spot seems deeper than the skin and the hair on it has become white, the priest must announce that the person is unclean. The spot is a harmful skin disease that has broken out from inside the boil. But if the priest looks at the spot and there are no white hairs in it and the spot is not deeper than the skin and it has faded, the priest must separate the person from other people for seven days. If the spot spreads on the skin, the priest must announce that the person is unclean; it is a disease that will spread. But if the bright spot does not spread or change, it is only the scar from the old boil. Then the priest must announce that the person is clean.
“When a person gets a burn on his skin, if the open sore becomes white or red, the priest must look at it. If the white spot seems deeper than the skin and the hair at that spot has become white, it is a harmful skin disease. The disease has broken out in the burn, and the priest must announce that the person is unclean. It is a harmful skin disease. But if the priest looks at the spot and there is no white hair in the bright spot, and the spot is no deeper than the skin and has faded, the priest must separate the person from other people for seven days. On the seventh day the priest must look at him again. If the spot has spread on the skin, the priest must announce that the person is unclean. It is a harmful skin disease. But if the bright spot has not spread on the skin but has faded, it is the swelling from the burn. The priest must announce that the person is clean, because the spot is only a scar from the burn.
“When a man or a woman gets a sore on the scalp or on the chin, a priest must look at the sore. If it seems deeper than the skin and the hair around it is thin and yellow, the priest must announce that the person is unclean. It is an itch, a harmful skin disease of the head or chin. But if the priest looks at it and it does not seem deeper than the skin and there is no black hair in it, the priest must separate the person from other people for seven days. On the seventh day the priest must look at the sore. If it has not spread, and there are no yellow hairs growing in it, and the sore does not seem deeper than the skin, the person must shave himself, but he must not shave the sore place. The priest must separate that person from other people for seven more days. On the seventh day the priest must look at the sore. If it has not spread on the skin and it does not seem deeper than the skin, the priest must announce that the person is clean. So the person must wash his clothes and become clean. But if the sore spreads on the skin after the person has become clean, the priest must look at him again. If the sore has spread on the skin, the priest doesn’t need to look for the yellowish hair; the person is unclean. But if the priest thinks the sore has stopped spreading, and black hair is growing in it, the sore has healed. The person is clean, and the priest must announce that he is clean.
“When a man or a woman has white spots on the skin, a priest must look at them. If the spots on the skin are dull white, the disease is only a harmless rash. That person is clean.
“When anyone loses hair from his head and is bald, he is clean. If he loses hair from the front of his head and has a bald forehead, he is clean. But if there is a red-white sore on his bald head or forehead, it is a skin disease breaking out in those places. A priest must look at that person. If the swelling of the sore on his bald head or forehead is red-white, like a skin disease that spreads, that person has a skin disease. He is unclean. The priest must announce that the person is unclean because of the sore on his head.
“If a person has a skin disease that spreads, he must warn other people by shouting, ‘Unclean, unclean!’ His clothes must be torn at the seams, he must let his hair stay uncombed, and he must cover his mouth. That person will be unclean the whole time he has the disease; he is unclean. He must live alone outside the camp.
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.