A Call to Worship
Advent 4A 2013
Psalm 80: 1-7, 17-19

Shepherding God, who has always guided your wayward flock, turn us back to you.
We come to worship our Protecting God, asking that you give us life again in you.

Listening God, our hope is in you; in your grace and mercy, turn us back to you.
We come to worship the God who hears our cries, and saves us from the darkness.

Rescuing God, through your mighty power, turn us back to you and save us; for
you alone can warm us with the light of your love that shines forth from your face.
We come to worship the Lord God Almighty, whose radiant glory shines out like
a beacon, to light our pathway back to God; and being renewed and strengthened
by that light of love, we gladly celebrate our Saving God’s glorious and holy name. Amen.

Psalm 80: 1-7, 17-19

1 Please listen, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Israel like a flock.
O God, enthroned above the cherubim, display your radiant glory
2 to Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh.
Show us your mighty power. Come to rescue us!
3 Turn us again to yourself, O God. Make your face shine down upon us.
Only then will we be saved.

4 O LORD God Almighty, how long will you be angry and reject our prayers?
5 You have fed us with sorrow and made us drink tears by the bucketful.
6 You have made us the scorn of neighbouring nations.
Our enemies treat us as a joke.
7 Turn us again to yourself, O God Almighty.
Make your face shine down upon us. Only then will we be saved.

17 Strengthen the man you love, the son of your choice.
18 Then we will never forsake you again.
Revive us so we can call on your name once more.
19 Turn us again to yourself, O LORD God Almighty.
Make your face shine down upon us. Only then will we be saved.

Prayers of Lament and Petition
Advent 4A 2013
Psalm 80: 1-7, 17-19

Shepherding God, like many people before us, we come to God lamenting
our failures to be faithful to God, and for abusing the daily blessings God
so freely bestows on us. We live in a world that seems to have turned its
back on God and on godly living; and we live in a world who thinks we are
a soft touch, and that we have no backbone to steady us when life and living
is very tough. Dry our tears with the warmth and power of your love for us,
as we unburden ourselves of our sorrows into God’s shepherding care; and
may we be healed of our hurts and our wounds cleansed; and may your flock
be guided once more on the path home to its security in God’s holy presence.

Listening God, in the misery of our separation from our God, we have blamed
everyone but ourselves, and we have shed many tears of regret and self-pity.
May we boldly come to rest in the hope that you give us; and in your mercy,
turn us back to you again, so that we may know and experience the light and
warmth of your love that shines like a beacon to bring us out of the darkness
of our self-imposed separation from you. It is only as we receive that glorious
light from your face, that we can see where we have failed you, and each other.
Help us, we pray, to boldly turn to our God once again, and to bring with us all
that separates us from God – and to offer it to God for forgiveness and healing.

Rescuing God, in our weakness and vulnerability, we come to you, conscious
always of the power and majesty of our God, and we humbly we ask that you
turn us around and save us, so that we may come back to you. Renew and
strengthen us, so that once more we can call on the name of God, recognising
that once again, we as God’s people, are in a trusting relationship with our
Saving and Rescuing God. Healing God, help us to faithfully bear your name as
restored people of faith, so that the light shining from God’s face will be shared—
to light the way home for people still struggling in their dark separation from God. Amen.

A Personal Meditation
Advent 4A 2013
Psalm 80: 1-7, 17-19

Shining lights can be part of our everyday life, with countless advertising
slogans beaming forth from every direction; the lights which illuminate our
streets and highways; the bright house lights which enliven our homes; or
the lighthouses that guard our shores with their regular warnings of danger.
I live on Corio Bay, which is part of the Great Southern Ocean coastline of
Eastern Australia, which is also tragically known as the “Shipwreck Coast”.
In the very early days of settlement in Australia, it is estimated that after
surviving the hazardous sea journey from the British Isles, over 50 large
vessels were lost along this stretch of coast line. How those intrepid sailors
and passengers from times past would have welcomed warning lighthouse
beams! Despite the value of all these lights and what they offer us by way
of comfort and security, I think that the every night use of our home security
lights bring a sense of secure safety more than these other lights. Yet, how
much more reassuring for us is the love-light shining on us from God’s face!

Creative pause: The light of love beaming on us from God’s face warms and heals us.

A few years ago I was in New York for conferences, and I listened and read all
the promotional and security warnings about a woman travelling alone in New
York; and it was with real trepidation that I stayed in Greenwich Village. To my
amazement, each morning I was awakened at about 4.00 am by women walking
alone as they exercised their dogs around that suburb! They obviously held no
fears in those well-lit streets. However, anyone foolish enough to venture into the
dark and dangerous streets of our towns and cities could expect unfortunate results.
The Psalmist wrote: “...Turn us again to yourself, O God. Make your face shine
down upon us...”
Like those women, if we turn away from the darkness to the light
of God’s love shining brightly upon us, we can with confidence, walk in that light.

Creative pause: Do we always walk confidently in the light of God’s love?

A few years ago we needed to have filters placed on our church windows because
the sun light was diminishing the quality of the data projected images, and we
could not read the words of the hymns or Bible readings. This filtering of the light
has not made any difference to the beauty of the stain-glassed windows, but the
same cannot be said when we try to place filters over the light of God’s love! If we
try to filter the light of God’s love for all people, we very quickly become faded lights
that are unable to reflect the light of God’s love on to other people or to their situation.

Creative pause: Do we filter the light of God’s love because it is demanding of us?

Unless stated otherwise, all Bible readings and extracts used in these weekly Prayers and
Meditations are from the ‘New Living Translation’, © 1996. Copyright. All rights reserved.
Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189 USA.

*Revised Indexing Scheme from 'Consultation on Church Union' (COCU).

If the Prayers and/or Meditations are used in shared worship, please provide this acknowledgement:
© 2013 Joan Stott – ‘The Timeless Psalms’ RCL Psalms Year A. Used with permission.


Download/view a pdf file of this document here: advent4a_2013.pdf