“Sing praise to the LORD! Praise him in the height; rejoice in his word…
A Call to Worship
Christmas 1B 2017
all heaven adore him, you angels of light; …and worship before him…"1
“…Sing praise to the LORD! Praise him upon earth… praise for new birth;
….praise… his grace from above ….who has taught you to sing of his love.”1
“…Sing praise to the LORD! All things that give sound; each jubilant chord
re-echo around…Thanksgiving to him be outpoured! Sing praise to the LORD!"
“…Sing praise to the LORD! All ages along: for love in creation, for heaven
restored, for grace of salvation, O praise you the LORD! O praise you the LORD!”1 Amen.
1 Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens!
Praise him from the skies!
2 Praise him, all his angels! Praise him, all the armies of heaven!
3 Praise him, sun and moon! Praise him, all you twinkling stars!
4 Praise him, skies above! Praise him, vapours high above the clouds!
5 Let every created thing give praise to the LORD,
for he issued his command, and they came into being.
6 He set them in place forever and ever.
His decree will never be revoked.
7 Praise the LORD from the earth, you creatures of the ocean depths,
8 fire and hail, snow and clouds, wind and weather that obey him,
9 mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars,
10 wild animals and all livestock, small scurrying animals and birds,
11 kings of the earth and all people, rulers and judges of the earth,
12 young men and young women, old men and children.
13 Let them all praise the name of the LORD. For his name is very great;
his glory towers over the earth and heaven!
14 He has made his people strong, honouring his faithful ones—
the people of Israel who are close to him. Praise the LORD!
Prayers of Praise
“…LORD of all life below, above, whose light is truth, whose warmth is love…"2 We come
Christmas 1B 2017
to sing your praises and to worship you! We come to: “Sing praise to the LORD! Praise him
in the height; rejoice in his word… all heaven adore him, you angels of light; …and worship
before him…1 Holy LORD, with joy we celebrate the God whose “… glory flames from sun
and star, centre and light of every sphere, yet to each loving heart how near…”2 We come
to offer our prayers of praise and thankfulness to the God whose generosity is beyond our
wildest thoughts and the stretches of our imagination; and whose love and mercy is utterly
to be amazed about. We cannot and do not have any understanding or knowledge of the
worshipping life of the heavenly hosts, but we in our earthbound existence, can only marvel
at the grace and mercy of our LORD and God; and can only sing: “…O praise you the LORD!”
“…Sun of our life, your quickening ray, sheds on our path the glow of day; Star of our hope,
your softened light, cheers the long watches of the night…”2 Creator of the earth and all
of creation, we gather to: “…Sing praise to the LORD! Praise him upon earth… praise for
new birth; ….praise… his grace from above ….who has taught you to sing of his love.”1
We praise and thank you, God of all Creation, for the warmth of the sun that enables life
to exist and flourish; and for the blessings of the stars and moon at night, that lighten our
lives in our darkest times of our grief and loss. We praise you for these very visible signs of
your love for all creation, especially for humanity: and so we sing: “…O praise you the LORD!”
“…Grant us your truth to make us free, and kindling hearts that burn…”2 with the fire of
your love and mercy so that all creation will join with one voice in praising our Maker and
and Holy Creator. “…Sing praise to the LORD! All things that give sound; each jubilant chord
re-echo around…Thanksgiving to him be outpoured! Sing praise to the LORD!… All ages
along: for love in creation, …for grace of salvation, O praise you the LORD!”1 We marvel
at the grace and mercy of our LORD and God; and can only sing: “…O praise you the LORD!” Amen.
A Personal Meditation
Have you ever wondered about in the worship of God, what is the difference between
Christmas 1B 2017
‘praising’ God and ‘thanking’ God? Sometimes, it seems as if these two expressions—
in response to God’s goodness and mercy - overlap each other; and they probably do;
yet I believe it is important to our faith journey to know and understand the differences.
We ‘praise’ God for being God: – who is our Creator, Sustainer, Renewer, Redeemer,
Refuge, Reconciler and Restorer. We also ‘thank’ God for being God: who is Forgiving,
Merciful, Loving, Delivering, Accepting, Gracious, Generous, Calling, Enabling, Healing,
Welcoming and who blesses us. The Psalms seem to specialise is helping us to come
to grips with the personal and shared need to praise and thank God – and we are grateful.
|Creative pause:||We ‘praise’ and ‘thank’ God – for being God!|
Another challenging aspect of praising and thanking God for involvement in our shared
and personal living, is that however we react and respond to God – and it’s worth noting
these are also different elements – there is nothing we can add to God’s Being through
our thanks and/or praises! God does not NEED our praises or thanks; although God does
DELIGHT in our worship of God’s-Own-Self - we are often assured of that in the Psalms!
God is God - and is not like us - who often become puffed up with pride when we are
praised or thanked! God as God is complete and does not need anything added to become
MORE! Psalm 148, having listed all of creation busy praising God, gives us the reason:
“…For the LORD’s name is very great; his glory towers over the earth and heaven…!”
|Creative pause:||“…the LORD’s …glory towers over the earth and heaven…!”|
Professor Walter Brueggemann writes in his introduction to “From whom no secret are
hid”: “…Many …psalms are affirmative expressions of gratitude offered as thanks and
exuberance and awe offered as praise. In these psalms attention is completely ceded to
the wonder of God who is celebrated as the giver of good gifts and the faithful, gracious
governor of reality….In Psalm 148, the singers can imagine all creation, all creation,
including sea monsters and creeping things, united in praise of YHWH… Such praise
is a recognition that the wonder and splendour of this God – known in the history of Israel
and in the beauty of creation - pushes beyond our explanatory categories so that there
can be only a liturgical, emotive rendering of all creatures before the creator…The gladness
of thanksgiving matches the exuberance of praise…”3 This psalm of praise begins with:
“Praise the LORD…” and ends with the same words and hymn of praise: “Praise the LORD!”
|Creative pause:||All of creation united in their praise of YHWH - our God!|
1 From “Together in Song” #96
“Sing praise to the LORD!”
Words by Henry Williams Baker (alt)
Words are in the Public Domain
2 From “The Methodist Hymn Book” #32 (1933 version)
“LORD of all being, throned afar”
Words by Oliver Wendell Holmes 1809-94
Words are in the Public Domain
3 Text by Professor Walter Brueggemann
from “From whom no secrets are hid” Chapter 1, pages 2 & 3
© 2014 Westminster/John Knox Press Louisville Kentucky USA
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 help and inspiration so frequently available from the writings of Professor Walter Brueggemann and Professorial brothers Rolf and Karl Jacobson; and the resources from "The Text this Week" (Textweek).
If the Prayers and/or Meditation are used in shared worship, please provide this acknowledgement:
© 2017 Joan Stott –‘The Timeless Psalms’ RCL Psalms Year B. Based on verses from Psalm 148.
Used with permission.
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