This is the virtual service for 23 August 2020 – the Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost.
We move from the Book of Genesis (which has been the basis of our sermons for the last few weeks) into the Book of Exodus and, today, the story of the birth of Moses.
Below, you will find prayers, scripture, and Rev. Geoff McKee’s audio sermon. There is also a musical selection.
Exodus 1:8-2:10 (New International Version)
8 Then a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt. 9 “Look,” he said to his people, “the Israelites have become far too numerous for us. 10 Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.”
11 So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh. 12 But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites 13 and worked them ruthlessly. 14 They made their lives bitter with harsh labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their harsh labor the Egyptians worked them ruthlessly.
15 The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, 16 “When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.” 17 The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live. 18 Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, “Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?”
19 The midwives answered Pharaoh, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.”
20 So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. 21 And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.
22 Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.”
The Birth of Moses
2 Now a man of the tribe of Levi married a Levite woman, 2 and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. 3 But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. 4 His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.
5 Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the riverbank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her female slave to get it. 6 She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said.
7 Then his sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?”
8 “Yes, go,” she answered. So the girl went and got the baby’s mother. 9 Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you.” So the woman took the baby and nursed him. 10 When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, “I drew him out of the water.”
A song of ascents. Of David.
1 If the Lord had not been on our side—
let Israel say—
2 if the Lord had not been on our side
when people attacked us,
3 they would have swallowed us alive
when their anger flared against us;
4 the flood would have engulfed us,
the torrent would have swept over us,
5 the raging waters
would have swept us away.
6 Praise be to the Lord,
who has not let us be torn by their teeth.
7 We have escaped like a bird
from the fowler’s snare;
the snare has been broken,
and we have escaped.
8 Our help is in the name of the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
A Living Sacrifice
12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Humble Service in the Body of Christ
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Peter Declares That Jesus Is the Messiah
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
We know that the Son of God has come and given us understanding to know the true God
1 John 5:20
Today, O God, help us to receive your revelation afresh that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the living God. It is in his name that we bring all our prayers.
Forgiving God, we confess that we are conformed to this world. We conform to this world’s frantic pace, too hectic to notice all the blessings you provide. We conform to this world’s reckless waste, exploiting what you entrust to our care. We conform to this world’s shallow values, oblivious to the giftedness of people different from us. We conform to this world’s impatient attitudes, preferring the latest instead of the lasting. Forgive our conformity and transform us, O God.
Ever-present God, who is at the side of every creature in creation, renew our lives so that we may discern and do your will, what is good and acceptable and perfect. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
NOTE: The above audio is in mp3 format and is also downloadable, if you wish to listen at a time when you may not have a reliable internet connection. Other devices are available but, on a PC, for example, if you right-click on the 3 vertical dots at the right side of the audio player, the drop-down menu should offer the option to “Save as…”
Prayers of Intercession
God of all, thank you for hearing these prayers: For the human family with whom we share this world—
those closest to us and those whose names we will
never know—we give you thanks and ask your help in living into our identity as your children.
We pray especially for those suffering as the result of the worldwide pandemic. We are grateful for the amazing medical care we have in our country and remember today those who do not have such support. We pray for those exhausted in their care for others that they might find strength and courage beyond what they could imagine.
We pray for the world we share with all creation—the plants and animals we see each day and the wilderness we have never seen—we give you thanks and ask your help in living into our identity as stewards of your earth.
We pray especially for local, national, and international leaders those whose policies we appreciate and those with whom we struggle—we give you thanks and ask that you be at their side, guiding them to act in justice and mercy.
We pray especially for the young people who have had to bear anxiety and confusion in recent weeks. We ask for those whose hopes have been dashed that a new way may open up that brings blessing and a future.
We pray for the joys and concerns that occupy our
thoughts today—those we can speak about and those we ponder inwardly—we give you thanks and ask that you be at our side, guiding us to recognise that our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
Hear the prayers we lift in silence. . . . Accept and heed all these prayers, through Jesus Christ, our Lord who taught us to pray…
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
In Christ Alone (Lyrics: Stuart Townend; Music: Keith Getty). This song leads us through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Stuart Townend says “The lyrics of this song excite me, because it places our hope, our assurance and our eternal destiny in the right place—on the solid foundation of Christ.”
Highs and lows are a part of life for everyone, but with Jesus as our guide, our protector and our comforter, we can live every day knowing we can trust and rely on Him.
In Christ alone, our hope is found.