This blog is a record of the call to worship, Scripture readings, and prayers from our Sunday liturgies. If you are interested in writing something for the liturgy, or if you have a concern about any aspect of our liturgy, please email email@example.com.
Call to Worship
we have gathered to worship
the Creator and Sustainer
to direct our attention
toward the One in whom we live
and move and have our being
to find comfort for the afflicted
in the Story of God and the people of God
and to find our stories formed
in the way of Christ
so, may the Spirit of God carve the love of God into our hearts,
and may we learn to embody
the Kingdom of the Living God
in our ordinary lives
Soon after this, Joseph was brought word that his father was gravely ill; so he took his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, to see Jacob. When Jacob was told that his son Joseph had come to see him, he gathered his strength and sat up in bed.
Jacob (to Joseph): The All-Powerful God appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan many years ago and spoke His blessing over me, telling me, “I am going to make you fruitful and multiply your descendants so that you will give rise to nation after nation. I will give this land to them after you to have as their possession forever.”
So Joseph, your two sons who were born to you in Egypt before I came here are mine. I claim Ephraim and Manasseh as my own, just as Reuben and Simeon are mine. As for any children you father after them, you may regard them as your own. When it comes time for your other children to gain their inheritances, they will be given land within the regions granted to their brothers, Ephraim and Manasseh.
When I left Paddan, your mother Rachel died on our journey in the land of Canaan. We were not far from Ephrath, so I buried her there on the way to Ephrath (which is also known as Bethlehem).
Just then Israel noticed Joseph’s sons.
Jacob: And who are these?
Joseph: These are my sons, Father, whom God has given to me here in Egypt.
Jacob: Please bring them here to me, so I can lay my hands on them and bless them.
Israel’s eyes were dim because of his old age, so he couldn’t see well. Joseph brought the boys near to him, and Israel kissed them and hugged them warmly.
Jacob (to Joseph): I didn’t know if I would ever see your face again, but now God has given me more than I hoped: He has let me see your children too.
Then Joseph moved the boys aside—they had been at his father’s knees—and he bowed down low with his face to the ground. Then Joseph took his sons and brought them near to his father. He took his younger son Ephraim in his right hand and put him to the left hand of Israel, and he took Manasseh in his left hand and put him to the right hand of Israel. But Israel stretched out his hands and crossed his arms, laying his right hand on the head of Ephraim, the younger, and his left hand on the head of Manasseh, the firstborn. And he spoke this blessing over Joseph.
Jacob: May the God before whom my ancestors Abraham and Isaac walked,
the God who has been my shepherd all of my life and still to this day,
The messenger who has rescued me from all harm,
bless these boys.
And let my name be perpetuated through them,
as well as the name of my ancestors Abraham and Isaac,
And let them grow into a great multitude of people
throughout the world.
When Joseph saw that his father had laid his right hand on Ephraim’s head, he was troubled, and so he took his father’s hand to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s.
Joseph: No, Father! Since this one is the firstborn, put your right hand on his head.
But Israel refused.
Jacob: I know, my son, I know. Manasseh will also become a people, and he will be great. Nevertheless, his younger brother will be greater than he, and his children will give rise to many nations.
So it was that Israel blessed Joseph and his sons that day.
Jacob: When the people of Israel speak blessings, they’ll remember you: “May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.”
So this is how Israel ranked Ephraim ahead of Manasseh.
Jesus came down with the twelve apostles and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon. They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them.
Then he looked up at his disciples and said:
“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
“Blessed are you who are hungry now,
for you will be filled.
“Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
“Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets."
"But woe to you who are rich,
for you have received your consolation.
"Woe to you who are full now,
for you will be hungry.
"Woe to you who are laughing now,
for you will mourn and weep.
"Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets."