Holy and Faithful God, you are full of grace and truth; so we come to worship you.
A Call to Worship
Psalm 85: 1-2, 8-13
We, your people, acknowledge and rejoice in our personal relationship with our God.
God of steadfast love and mercy you have forgiven us; so we come to worship you.
We, your people, acknowledge and rejoice in God’s merciful generosity towards us.
God, who is our living memory and our eternal hope, in awe and reverence we come
to worship you. We gather here because you are the Holy One who speaks peace to us.
We, your people come to worship you, acknowledging and rejoicing that we have come
from God; that we are God’s own people; and in due time, that we will return to God. Amen.
Psalm 85: 1-2, 8-13
For the choir director: A psalm of the descendants of Korah.
1 Lord, you poured out blessings on your land!
You restored the fortunes of Israel.
2 You forgave the guilt of your people—
yes, you covered all their sins. Interlude
8 I listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying,
for he speaks peace to his faithful people.
But let them not return to their foolish ways.
9 Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him,
so our land will be filled with his glory.
10 Unfailing love and truth have met together.
Righteousness and peace have kissed!
11 Truth springs up from the earth,
and righteousness smiles down from heaven.
12 Yes, the Lord pours down his blessings.
Our land will yield its bountiful harvest.
13 Righteousness goes as a herald before him,
preparing the way for his steps.
Prayers of Trust
Transforming God, in confidence, we gather together today to seek your
Psalm 85: 1-2, 8-13
presence and to reassure ourselves again of your continuing and faithful
love for each of us - as individuals and as a community of faith. We come
to worship and praise you; and to wait on your promised gifts and your words
of guidance and hope to each of us. In trust and obedience we come to
receive your own grace, because you are the Holy One who speaks peace
to us. Today, we dare to claim the gift of a relationship with our Holy God.
Come to us this day in all your transforming power, that we may grow into
the fullness of a committed relationship with our Ever-Faithful Lord and God.
God of the ages and of the holy promises, within the circle of the truth of your
steadfast love, we have the assurance of your presence with us. We have
listened for your voice speaking peace to us, and yes, we have received God’s
great blessing of peace - which comes with your forgiveness. We have also
heard and received your power of transforming love, which liberates us to hope—
through the blessings of our Trustworthy God. We have received that holy
embrace through our newly restored right relationship with God, and are blest.
Great God of “Shalom”, you are our living memory and our eternal hope - in
awe and reverence we come to worship you. We gather here because you
are the Holy One who always speaks peace to us, despite our failings and our
faults. Yours words of “Shalom” are words of promise - a sign of God’s holy
reign of peace and joy - and for this we give our thanks. We come because,
“...We must leave behind us sins of yesterday, for God’s new beginning is a
better way. Fear and doubt and habit must not hold us back: God gives hope,
and insight and the strength we lack...”1 O God, bless us in this “new better way”. Amen.
A Personal Meditation
The Psalmist sang: “...I listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying,
Psalm 85: 1-2, 8-13
for he speaks peace to his faithful people...” However, God does not only
speak “peace”; but God also “speaks” steadfast and endless love; truth,
forgiveness, salvation, liberation, God’s glory and righteousness. God
“speaks” these special blessings because they are manifestations and signs
of what God’s peace brings to faithful people who live and “rest securely”
in the holy presence of God. God’s “peace” or “Shalom” is that holistic sense
of “well-being” that includes all aspects of life, relationships and even in our
shared communication. People can and will recognize God’s “peace” and
all the other graces of “Shalom” that God gifts to us because they have been
seen and experienced before, because God always remains faithful and true
to God’s own Being; and we recognise these because they are based on how
and when we have experienced God’s ages-long Self-Revelation and actions.
|Recognising God’s “Shalom” as God’s Self-revelation
What a blessing it is to have the gift of memory. Just as Israel’s memory of
their past experiences of God’s gracious and merciful forgiveness; of God’s
endless and steadfast love; of God’s and faithfulness in all of their past events;
so they hoped and acted in anticipation of the continuation of those blessings
into their future. The unique status of Israel’s identity related entirely to their
personal history and deep covenantal relationship with their liberating God.
They knew about justice because God taught them to be just; they knew about
faithfulness in relationships because of God’s wonderfully faithful examples;
and they knew about mercy and forgiveness, because God had shown them
such mercy and forgiveness! This gave them the confidence to pray to God—
asking, requesting, or even demanding that God act to forgive their sinful failures.
|Our past experiences God’s gifts of “Shalom” inspires us to trust.
Bob Eldan, of “Preaching-tip-of-the-week”, recently shared an experience of being
guided into prayer through a spiritual connection to Canadian geese as they flew
overhead, and he was “one on the wing with them.” I have an aviary of “love birds”
and they always respond to voices and join in with their “chatter” each and every
day; even sleepily “chatting” with their heads tucked under their wings! Because
of them, I am “one in the community-chatter with them” as they greet their Maker
each morning with “chatters” of praise; each evening they give thanks for the day’s
blessings; and in between times, and they “chatter” about life lived in community.
These birds apparently know the secret of communicating with each other and their
Maker; and also about people, thereby living out that mystical experience of sharing
in God’s “Shalom” that leads us into praise, prayer and meditation and on into worship.
|What in nature leads you into prayer and worship?
1 From “Together in Song” #687
“God gives us a future”
© 1960 Words by Rev Dr Elizabeth J. Smith
Used with personal permission.
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:
© 2014 Joan Stott – ‘The Timeless Psalms’ RCL Psalms Year B. Used with permission.
Download/view a pdf file of this document here: advent2b_2014.pdf