God has shone in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God
in the face of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 4.6
Glory to God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
as in the beginning, so now, and for ever. Amen.
A poem: The Song of Zechariah (Benedictus)
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel:
who has come to his people and set them free.
The Lord has raised up for us a mighty Saviour:
born of the house of his servant David.
Through the holy prophets, God promised of old:
to save us from our enemies, from the hands of all who hate us,
To show mercy to our forebears:
and to remember his holy covenant.
This was the oath God swore to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
Free to worship him without fear:
holy and righteous before him, all the days of our life.
And you, child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High:
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
To give his people knowledge of salvation:
by the forgiveness of their sins.
In the tender compassion of our God:
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death:
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
The opening prayer
By night and by day we worship the Lord; let us pray with one heart and mind.
We remember God’s presence and pause in silence.
As we rejoice in the gift of this new day, so may the light of your presence, O God, set our hearts on fire with love for you; now and for ever. Amen.
Genesis 44.18-21, 23-29, 45.1-5
Then Judah stepped up to him and said, ‘O my lord, let your servant please speak a word in my lord’s ears, and do not be angry with your servant; for you are like Pharaoh himself. My lord asked his servants, saying, “Have you a father or a brother?” And we said to my lord, “We have a father, an old man, and a young brother, the child of his old age. His brother is dead; he alone is left of his mother’s children, and his father loves him.” Then you said to your servants, “Bring him down to me, so that I may set my eyes on him.”
Then you said to your servants, “Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you shall see my face no more.” When we went back to your servant my father we told him the words of my lord. And when our father said, “Go again, buy us a little food”, we said, “We cannot go down. Only if our youngest brother goes with us, will we go down; for we cannot see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.” Then your servant my father said to us, “You know that my wife bore me two sons; one left me, and I said, Surely he has been torn to pieces; and I have never seen him since. If you take this one also from me, and harm comes to him, you will bring down my grey hairs in sorrow to Sheol.”
Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, ‘Send everyone away from me.’ So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?’ But his brothers could not answer him, so dismayed were they at his presence.
Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Come closer to me.’ And they came closer. He said, ‘I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.
Saying, ‘To you will I give the land of Canaan
to be the portion of your inheritance.’
When they were but few in number,
of little account, and sojourners in the land,
Wandering from nation to nation,
from one kingdom to another people,
He suffered no one to do them wrong
and rebuked even kings for their sake,
Saying, ‘Touch not my anointed
and do my prophets no harm.’
Then he called down famine over the land
and broke every staff of bread.
But he had sent a man before them,
Joseph, who was sold as a slave.
As you go, proclaim the good news, “The kingdom of heaven has come near.” Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment. Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for labourers deserve their food. Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave. As you enter the house, greet it. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. Truly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgement than for that town.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever.
This week’s prayer:
you have prepared for those who love you
such good things as pass our understanding:
pour into our hearts such love toward you,
that, loving you above all things,
we may obtain your promises
which exceed all that we can desire;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
We thank God for what we have and pray for what we need.
Today we pray for ourselves, that God would lead us to love our neighbours as much as we care for ourselves. In our local church, we ask God to bring more life to our church through the ministry of home groups. In our world, we pray for the leader of the government in our nation and all who serve to make laws for our country. We remember before God those who have asked for our prayers, or who are in need of them.
A prayer for the day
God our Saviour, you sent Jesus into the world of sin, and delivered him up to death for us: kindle in our hearts the same love with which he loved his own to the end; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The Lord be with us
now and forever.
Let us praise the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Amen.
see Revelation 22.13, 20