A Call to Worship
Advent 4C 2012
Psalm 80: 1-7

We gather together in worship and prayer to our Gracious Shepherd.
Hear us, Good Shepherd, listen when this scattered flock calls to you.

We gather together in song and meditation, as we worship our Almighty God.
Hear us, Nurturing God, listen to your people and lead us on in your ways.

We gather together to repent and seek renewal from the God of all peoples.
Hear us, Radiant God, so that the light of your love will shine from your face,
warming and restoring us as your people, so we will receive God’s own peace. Amen.

Prayers of Petition and Trust
Advent 4C 2012
Psalm 80: 1-7

O God, the Good Shepherd of your troubled people; we come asking
for your mercy and grace; for your blessing on our gathering together
as a community of people who put our yearning hope, and our trust in our
Renewing and Restoring God. Once again, we have lost our way, and
we need to be lead back to your side and on to our life’s right pathway.
Forgive us, and restore us again to being worshipping and serving community.

Guiding God, you are the One who has lead your people for many long
centuries; yet time after time, we, your foolish people have gone astray.
Not only do we think it, but we also believe that you have turned your back
on your own people. In our self-imposed isolation from you, we have wept
deep within our souls because of our own foolishness; and we have drunk
many tears of remorse and regret. Help us each to understand that it is not
you who has turned away. May we each of us experience anew the light
and warmth of your love shining upon us as we again turn to you for renewal.
Forgive us, and restore us again to being a reflection of your radiant light and love.

Grace-giving God, we have each experienced the way people so quickly
criticise and scorn us, and that no one takes us seriously. They treat us as
if we are totally gullible, because we yearn to be faithful to you. Hear us we
pray, and strengthen us when we are made weak by people’s contemptuous
attitudes towards our perceived foolishness. Comforting God, we need your
presence with us each day! We need to know and experience once again the
renewing power that you offer to your faltering community, so that together,
we can support and encourage each other, to make a fresh start again with you.
Forgive us, and restore us again to being an obedient and faithful community. Amen.

A Personal Meditation
Advent 4C 2012, Psalm 80: 1-7

How many times have I heard sheep described as being utterly stupid?
Whilst visiting on farms, and helping to round up silly sheep, I, too, have
many times yelled at their sheep for being so ridiculous; and for the way
they scatter in every direction, except for the one way you want them to go!
The Psalmist named God as the “Shepherd of Israel”. Was it only because
they were always so wayward, and always wanted to do their own thing?
Or was it because of the kingly, shepherding and care-giving role that our
patient and compassionate God offers to vulnerable and needy people?

Creative pause: Am I like a stupid sheep who insists on going its own way?

According to some commentators, the words used “How long will you be
really mean “to smoke”! When that is taken in the context of the
style of worship of that time, when animal offerings were burnt, with the
smoke rising up to the heavens to bring pleasure God’s sense of smell!
Or was the question being asked of God: “How long will you be angry
during your people’s prayers?”
Holy God, have the prayers of your people
always been so misguided? Have my prayers been unacceptable to God?
Have my prayers and been too self-centred? Have I really misunderstood
what are my responsibilities within my relationship to my Gracious God?

Creative pause: Have all my prayers always been acceptable to God?

I love the imagery of the radiant warmth of God’s being shining forth from
God’s face, with its vibrant light illuminating all creation within the aura, depth
and breadth of God’s presence. The radiance and light of solar energy and
laser beams are the only powers that I can relate to as being anything that
approaches the life-giving, healing, life-renewing and stimulating power and
warmth of God’s love for erring humanity. Who would want to turn away from
such Godly powers? Who would want to turn away from such Godly warmth?
Who would want to turn away from that Godly life-giving, life-restoring light?

Creative pause: Who would turn away from that warmth and love from God?

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.

*The additional weekly numbering is from the Revised COCU Indexing Scheme
COCU = ('Consultation on Church Union'); as it offers an easy sequential numbering for the Revised
Common Lectionary for the Church Calendar.

If any part of these Prayers and/or Meditations is used in shared worship, please provide
the following acknowledgement:
© 2012 Joan Stott – ‘The Timeless Psalms’ RCL Psalms Year C. Used with permission.


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