God of unfailing love and faithfulness: today we come to share in worship of you.
A Call to Worship
Advent 1C 2015
Psalm 25: 1-10
In confident hope, we come to experience the reliability of God’s ever-merciful love.
God of unfailing trust and truth: today we come to share in experiencing your truth.
In confident expectation, we come asking that you lead us away from our secret fears.
God of unfailing compassion and eternal hope: today we come to share in learning
about you and the way that you want to lead us into living within your holy presence.
In confident trust, we come to receive instruction from God in the right way to live out
our daily commitment to following God’s guidance on the way to the fullness of life. Amen.
A psalm of David.
1 To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
2 I trust in you, my God! Do not let me be disgraced,
or let my enemies rejoice in my defeat.
3 No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced,
but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others.
4 Show me the path where I should walk, O LORD;
point out the right road for me to follow.
5 Lead me by your truth and teach me,
for you are the God who saves me.
All day long I put my hope in you.
6 Remember, O LORD, your unfailing love and compassion,
which you have shown from long ages past.
7 Forgive the rebellious sins of my youth;
look instead through the eyes of your unfailing love,
for you are merciful, O LORD.
8 The LORD is good and does what is right;
he shows the proper path to those who go astray.
9 He leads the humble in what is right, teaching them his way.
10 The LORD leads with unfailing love and faithfulness
all those who keep his covenant and obey his decrees.
Prayers of Petition
God of unfailing love and faithfulness: in confident hope and trust we gather
Advent 1C 2015
Psalm 25: 1-10
to worship the God whose reliability and ever-merciful love encourages us to
respond to God; and who invites us to share our deepest needs with our ever-
present God. And so we come, not only to offer our sincere worship, but also
to ask for the blessings of God’s guidance and leadership in the choices we
make in life; and in the decisions we need to make that arise from our living
daily in a community of people with varying needs and expectations. We gather
to share together in the merciful love and blessings of our God who knows us
for whom we are as a community, and as individuals, and yet who accepts the
sincerity of our worship and praise; and who forgives us of our many failings and
sinfulness. We ask that you “...remember your unfailing love and compassion,
which you have shown from long ages past... and that for each of us, you look
“through the eyes of your unfailing love...” towards us in our sin and our failures.
God of unfailing trust and truth: in confident expectation we gather to worship you
with our whole being, with our heart and soul, and with our mind and strength;
and ask that we can also learn to love our neighbours as we ourselves are loved.
We come to ask of you that you teach us how to live in compassionate love; with
acceptance and in justice; and in merciful grace towards those people we live
amongst and who are part of our community, especially as we live amongst people
we know as being “different”. We confess that it is not always easy to be accepting
of other people, especially when they seem to be so very glad when we fail in our
commitment to you and your way of holy and accepting living! Help us, we pray,
not to be ashamed of our failings; but instead, to celebrate God’s forgiving mercies;
and to confidently trust that you will lead us out of our secret fears and anxieties.
God of unfailing compassion and eternal hope: we come together today to share in
learning more about you; and the way that you can lead us into living within your
holy presence. In confident trust, we come to receive instructions from God in the
right way to live out our daily commitment to following God’s guidance on the way
to the fullness of life; and that we can learn what that “right way” is for as each person;
and as a community of faith, committed to live in justice and peace with our neighbours. Amen.
A Personal Meditation
In this age of wide spread use of social media facilities, people can become
Advent 1C 2015
Psalm 25: 1-10
inundated with the personal and private thoughts, activities, fears and phobias
of strangers, as they share this information indiscriminately. The old concept of
“the need to know” has been turned on its head, and people have ready access
to “knowing” all about other people’s lives, habits, triumphs and failures. The
ancient writers of the psalms could well have been the forerunners of the social
media phenomena, as they too “let it all hang out”; but the difference was in their
openness and honesty was that it was addressed to God in forms of anguished
prayers of petition, confession, praise and thankfulness. Psalm 25 is just one such
prayer of petition, where the psalmist petitioned God to intervene in the events
of the people of Israel, and they based their petitions on their experiences of
“God’s truth, God’s unfailing and merciful love, faithfulness and compassion”. They
also relied on God’s past willingness to forgive their previous failings; to guide them
in their future relationships; and to receive the blessings of God’s daily guidance.
|Creative pause:||For many people, the current “need to know” has a new meaning!|
I recently received an urgent prayer request seeking prayers for the Christian people
of northern Iraq and those missionaries who minister to them. These people were
attacked by militant groups who are determined to eradicate Christianity, and they are
using the callous murder of children to further their aims. These militants were going
from house to house telling people, and particularly children, to denounce their faith in
Jesus or be killed. “....So far not one child has and so all have consequently been killed—
but not the parents… The United Nations people have withdrawn and the missionaries are
on their own, and they are determined to stick it out for the sake of the families - even
if it means their own deaths. They are very afraid and have no idea how to even begin
ministering to these families who have had seen their children martyred…” I contacted
my world-wide circle of former colleagues requesting them to join in the prayers of people
around the world over this tragedy. In response to these requests, I have been asked
the outcome of those prayers, yet I cannot provide that information. How many times
have you known the outcomes of your most fervent prayers? How many times have
you had to just let go of your “need to know”, and trust in the merciful faithfulness and
compassion of God to fulfill your petitions in God’s own faithful and compassionate way?
|Creative pause:||“...To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul. I trust in you, my God..!”|
The psalm opens with a declaration of trust: “To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul. I trust
in you, my God! Do not let me be disgraced, or let my enemies rejoice in my defeat.
No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced....” What disgrace or defeat did the
psalmist anticipate or fear? Have any of us reached a point in our faith journey that we
need the affirmations of “Likes” from God before being able to leave our requests
in God’s hands? The psalmist didn’t need any “Likes”, he just trusted his petitions
into God’s loving grace and mercy! “...Show me the path where I should walk, O LORD;
point out the right road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you
are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. Remember, O LORD,
your unfailing love and compassion, which you have shown from long ages past.... The
LORD is good and does what is right; he shows the proper path to those who go astray.
He leads the humble in what is right, teaching them his way. The LORD leads with
unfailing love and faithfulness all those who keep his covenant and obey his decrees....”
|Creative pause:||“...All day long I put my hope in you...”|
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation,
copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
*Revised Indexing Scheme from 'Consultation on Church Union' (COCU).
I acknowledge and give heartfelt thanks for the theological inspiration available from the writings of
Professor Walter Brueggemann; and through the resources from the internet and “The Text this Week” (Textweek).
If the Prayers and/or Meditations are used in shared worship, please provide this acknowledgement:
© 2015 Joan Stott – ‘The Timeless Psalms’ RCL Psalms Year C. Used with permission.
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