Called by God to give thanks for God goodness, in response, we gather as one.
A Call to Worship
Christmas 2B 2015
Psalm 147: 12-20
We glorify the Lord here in our own sacred space, and in our wider community life.
Called by God to sing, worship and praise the Lord our God, so we gather as one.
We glorify the Lord who has honoured God’s faithful people throughout countless
generations, with words of warning and hope, and of encouragement and blessing.
Called by God to celebrate the mercies of God and all who share in the experiences
of being in God’s presence, so we gather as God’s people here in this time and place.
We glorify the Lord in the security of our homes; in the blessedness of our worship;
and in communities wherever peace and harmony prevail! Let us all praise the Lord! Amen.
Psalm 147: 12-20
12 Glorify the Lord, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion!
13 For he has strengthened the bars of your gates
and blessed your children within your walls.
14 He sends peace across your nation
and satisfies your hunger with the finest wheat.
15 He sends his orders to the world — how swiftly his word flies!
16 He sends the snow like white wool;
he scatters frost upon the ground like ashes.
17 He hurls the hail like stones. Who can stand against his freezing cold?
18 Then, at his command, it all melts. He sends his winds, and the ice thaws.
19 He has revealed his words to Jacob, his decrees and regulations to Israel.
20 He has not done this for any other nation; they do not know his regulations.
Praise the Lord!
Prayers of Praise and Petition
“...Glorify the Lord, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion...!” Holy God, we gather
Christmas 2B 2015
Psalm 147: 12-20
in response to your calling of us to worship, and we praise you for this time of worship,
prayer and song. Just as the Psalmist praised God for their centre of worship and for
the hills of Zion that surrounded Jerusalem, so we glorify the Lord our God in our own
sacred space, and in our own environment. We pray for all the people gathered here
together - people of all ages and experiences - and we ask that their homes may be for
them, places of love and acceptance; and places of tolerance and forgiving relationships.
Father God, our loving Parent, we ask your blessing on the homes of our towns and cities,
that mutual love and respect may be part of their home life; that all children are nurtured
and given the opportunities to grow into maturity, free from fear and anxiety; secure in
their own identity and their place within their family; and within their wider community.
“...Glorify the Lord, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion...!” Blessed God of the Church,
we who gather here today in response to your calling of us to worship, we praise you for
this time of worship, prayer and song. We give you our praise for those people of past
generations who have given us this our heritage of a place in which to worship God, and
who have left us with a tradition that still inspires and guides our worship of God. We pray
that you will bless all your children within these your walls, that here they may come to
know and love their Lord because of the faithful witness of your people. We ask that all
children who gather with us here, may be nurtured in safety and security. We also ask
that people of all ages who come for worship will be welcomed and offered hospitality in
the name of the Lord of the Church. Help us all to care for each other within these walls
and beyond; and to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of God - our Rock and Redeemer.
“...Glorify the Lord, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion...!” God of all communities and
relationships, we who gather here today in response to your calling of us to worship, we
praise you for this time of worship, prayer and song. We give you our thanks and praise
for communities wherever peace and harmony prevail; where there is acceptance and a
warm welcome, regardless of people’s backgrounds, cultures or traditions. We pray that you
will guide and direct us as people of this our nation; that our civic and community leaders are
wise in their decision making; so that we may be a source of strength, courage and dignity to
our neighbouring nations; and that peace and the welfare of all people remain their chief goals.
We glorify the Lord our God in the security of our homes; in the blessedness of our worship;
and in communities wherever peace and harmony prevail! Let us all join in praising the God. Amen.
A Personal Meditation
“…For he has strengthened the bars of your gates…” I grew up in a medium sized
Christmas 2B 2015
Psalm 147: 12-20
town in central rural Victoria, in the south-east corner of mainland Australia. As the
second youngest in our family, I shared my large rambling weatherboard home with
both my parents and four siblings. Our home was surrounded by my mother’s lovely
garden, whose bounty was always shared with others. We lived a very simple life,
yet our home was rich in love and in the worship of God. Our kitchen was the centre
of our family life - a large room with a big table at one end where we gathered for our
meals, family discussions, family worship and for sharing hospitality and family fun.
Our “good” sitting room was where we met for Bible and Study Groups with people from
our church, and also where my father prepared his weekly sermons as a Lay Preacher
and for his senior students in Sunday School. I thank God for that blessed home life.
|Creative pause:||“…For he has strengthened the bars of your gates…”|
“…For he has blessed your children within your walls….” The church where we were
nurtured was a small weatherboard building with a chapel and an attached hall and
kitchen – very simple, yet also vibrantly alive with the Spirit of God’s presence. Ours
was the less “important” Methodist Church in our town, but so many young people who
were nurtured and taught there responded to God’s call in full time service for God in
the wider world. We were blessed by faithful, committed Sunday School teachers who
loved us, and by our parent’s friends who all helped to teach us about living a dedicated
life for God. How very fortunate we all were within the walls of “God’s house of prayer”.
|Creative pause:||“…For he has blessed your children within your walls….”|
“…He sends peace across your nation….He sends his orders to the world…” Although
I was born in 1935, I personally knew little about world events, although we had large
maps on our kitchen wall at home, as the progress of World War II slowly wound down.
We still had air raid drills, blackout curtains on our windows and trenches in the school
yard, it all seemed very distant to my daily concerns. Of more interest to me were the
stories of missionaries whose lives we avidly followed; and especially my Sunday School
teacher’s elder brother who was a missionary in China during the communist takeover
there. We had a simple world view, but it was one where God’s people went to care and
share God’s “good news” with disadvantaged people. Post-war employment opportunities
made our quiet town more lively, and eventually I left home for employment purposes and
to experience more of “life”. How grateful I am to God for that peace-filled family home and
worshipping life; and for being set free to learn to grow and live my own life! Years later,
I met some of the people we had prayed for; I visited Dr Livingstone’s statue in Zimbabwe
at the head of the Victoria Falls; and I experienced something of the vitality of the Christian
church in China! I was blessed to experience many years of frequent national and world
travel on behalf of the national and world Church. “...God moves in a mysterious way...”1
|Creative pause:||“He sends peace across your nation... He sends his orders to the world.”|
1 From “Together in Song” #126
God moves in a mysterious way
Words by William Cowper
Words in the Public Domain
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:
© 2015 Joan Stott – ‘The Timeless Psalms’ RCL Psalms Year B. Used with permission.
Download/view a pdf file of this document here: christmas2b_2015.pdf