A Call to Worship
All Saints' Day Year C 2013
Psalm 149

We come together and with one voice, to sing a new song of praise to God
It is a joy to exult in the Lord our God in the assembly of God’s faithful people.

We come together and with one voice, to praise and thank our Awesome God.
Our Generous God responds to our worship and praises with more blessings!

We come together with one voice because as God’s committed ones, we need
to celebrate and rejoice together, singing new songs of praise to God, our Maker.
How gracious is our God, who finds delight in our praises and enjoys our songs
and our dancing; and the music that fills the sacred spaces with glorious harmony.
And in the night watches, we remember and give thanks for these our celebrations. Amen.

Prayers of Confession
All Saints' Day Year C 2013
Psalm 149

Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song! Sing praises to our God.
We confess to our Glorious God, that to be able to joyfully sing God’s
praises is one of life’s most treasured memories, and we celebrate such
a great blessing. Our Generous God has chosen to be delighted with our
praises, and that fills us with humility. We also confess that being in such
an uplifting experience of shared worship and praise, that we are inspired
to recommit ourselves to the worship, witness and service of our Lord God.
“For the Lord delights in his people; he crowns the humble with salvation.”

We come to our Saving God to also confess the darkness that is within our
lives. We gather as God’s people with mixed emotions, because we know
who and what we are, and that we are quite lacking in our generosity of spirit.
We know that we are just as liable to critically judge a person as to welcome
them into our fellowship; that we are just as likely to smear a reputation with
foolish chatter as we are to speak gently in offering hospitality; and that we
are blindly prejudiced in our convictions about any person who is “different”.
We know that we are not healthy or good examples of God’s people here in
this assembly, and that our mixed emotions make us vulnerable to hurt and
misunderstanding. Yet we come, asking God to cleanse our darkness, and
to shine the light of God’s holiness in our lives, to assure us of our forgiveness.
As God’s struggling people, we give thanks for the blessings of God’s salvation.

On this All Saints Day, we give thanks for all those saints who have responded
to the call to serve God and their community in ways suited to their gifts and
graces. For those people, who through their good example and faithful worship
and service, have inspired and blessed other people and have brought glory to
God’s reign as King of all creation. We confess that we have not always helped
the coming reign of God’s Kingdom; and instead, we have sought ways to hold
back any new endeavour that did not meet with our approval; and that at times,
we have hindered or blocked new initiatives. Forgive us O God, for our limited
vision and lack of willingness to change our minds or be open to new ideas; and
instead, we have added to the traumas of people risking their all while serving God.
Grant us the forgiveness of our sin, that we may always praise the Lord our God
The glory of God’s faithful servants is their willingness to serve their Saving God. Amen.

A Personal Meditation
All Saints' Day Year C 2013
Psalm 149

According to some scholars, Psalm 150 and Psalm 1 are thematically linked,
as are also Psalm 149 and Psalm 2 linked by their themes. However, that still
does not make the second half of Psalm 149 any easier to read or understand;
and even more, why it was chosen for reading in churches on All Saints Day!
Admittedly, there have been countless thousands of committed followers of
God who firmly believed they were called into the struggle against a perceived
evil, and even into warfare in God’s name; all with the aim of ridding the world
of some specific evil. Recent history also reminds us of the power of leaders
who have a particular agenda! This Psalm provides the overwhelming temptation
to concentrate only on its “acceptable” words of praise to God; or even to find
an alternate Psalm to read. However, where and what in Psalm 149 is God’s
message for us in this difficult Psalm? Is its real purpose found in that struggle?

Creative pause: Where and what in Psalm 149 is God’s message for us today?

Throughout my life, I have had many surprises from God, some of which I think
has caused great merriment to God! It is because we can never underestimate
God’s powers to surprise us from time to time; that I take encouragement from
this difficult Psalm. God has transformed so many lives and situations, that even
such a challenging Psalm as is Psalm 149, leaves me struggling to try and see or
recognise God’s punch-line! I firmly believe that God does have an alternative
view to this situation as revealed in the Psalm, I just have to keep looking for it!

Creative pause: Never underestimate God’s powers to surprise us!

In many of the lives of the more memorable officially designated “saints”, to most
observers there does not appear to be any inner spiritual conflict, or uncertainty of
purpose evident in their deeds of grace or in their writings, they all seemed to have
had a clear-eyed resolve to carry out God’s mission in their life. Yet some so-called
saints have regular experiences of guilt and remorse over their perceived failures,
or even bitterness about their choices in life; all of which comes to most people not
only as a shock, but also as shocking in its concept! In Paul’s letters to the “Young
Churches”, the term “saints” is mentioned frequently, and depending on the translation,
it was interchangeable with the idea of people who were considered to be “holy” in
their worship, thoughts, words or actions. It has been my privilege to know and work
amongst many “saints”, using St Paul’s definition! Those shared experiences were
very challenging, causing me to question what it really means to “care” for people.
Then, there is a child’s definition of a saint: “A person through whom the light shines”
referring to many of those stained glass church windows which depict various saints.

Creative pause: Have we become saints because God’s light shines through 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.

*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:
© 2013 Joan Stott – ‘The Timeless Psalms’ RCL Psalms Year C. Used with permission.


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