We come to worship God, who is the Eternal King – so let the earth rejoice!
A Call to Worship
Christmas Day (ii), Year A 2016
“Let all the world in every corner sing: My God and King!”1 Glory be to God!
We come to praise God, who reveals to us God’s-Own-Self in relevant ways.
“Holy …God of power and might, heaven and earth are filled with your glory...”2
We come to celebrate with joy the God whose light shines brightly down on
all creation, bringing with it new life, new hope and new vitality to all creation.
“The heavens are not too high, his praise towards it flies;”1 “...joy on those whose
hearts are right... all who are godly rejoice in the Lord and praise his holy name!” Amen.
1 The Lord is king! Let the earth rejoice!
Let the farthest coastlands be glad.
2 Dark clouds surround him.
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
3 Fire spreads ahead of him and burns up all his foes.
4 His lightning flashes out across the world.
The earth sees and trembles.
5 The mountains melt like wax before the Lord,
before the Lord of all the earth.
6 The heavens proclaim his righteousness;
every nation sees his glory.
7 Those who worship idols are disgraced—
all who brag about their worthless gods—
for every god must bow to him.
8 Jerusalem has heard and rejoiced, and all the towns of Judah
are glad because of your justice, O Lord!
9 For you, O Lord, are supreme over all the earth;
you are exalted far above all gods.
10 You who love the Lord, hate evil!
He protects the lives of his godly people
and rescues them from the power of the wicked.
11 Light shines on the godly,
and joy on those whose hearts are right.
12 May all who are godly rejoice in the Lord
and praise his holy name!
Prayers of Thankfulness and Praise
“Let all the world in every corner sing: My God and King!”1 Glory be to God on
Christmas Day (ii), Year A 2016
earth, in outer space and in heaven, so that all of creation - past, present and
future - joins together in the chorus of praising and worshipping God, who is the
Eternal King! We gather together to celebrate the mystery and miracles of our
God who is always present with us; and who blesses us with joy when our
hearts and minds are in a right relationship with God, and with our neighbours.
We pray that our living and loving brings glory and praise to God forever and ever.
“Holy, Holy, Holy God of power and might, heaven and earth are filled with your
glory...”2 Today, we come to praise God, who reveals to us God’s-Own-Self in
relevant ways. In days long past, God’s presence and glory were recognised
through natural displays of God’s creative powers; and later on in their Temple
worship through God’s actions of justice and righteousness. Today, we give thanks
and praises to God that we are blessed to recognise God through the power of
the Holy Spirit who reveals Jesus to us as God-with-us – present and active in
creation; present and active amongst us through people’s compassionate care of
their brothers and sisters; present and active within the gathered community of faith
in worship, praise and prayers; and present and active through those personal
and sacred moments of our recognition of God’s holy presence there within us.
Joy-giving God, we give thanks for the way we are so very blessed when we
receive God’s precious gift of holy joy. We also give thanks for God’s generosity
in enabling us to receive the gift of being in a right relationship with God when we
are sufficiently willing to humble ourselves, to allow God to be our Quiet Centre;
and to “...rejoice in the Lord and praise his holy name!” We come together to
celebrate with joy, the God whose light of love, joy and peace shines brightly down
on all creation, bringing with it new life, new hope and new vitality to all creation;
and giving us a new focus and purpose. Thanks and praise be to our Glorious God. Amen.
A Personal Meditation
My most recent work in my garden has been that of moving my spring flowering
Christmas Day (ii), Year A 2016
bulbs into my garage there they will hibernate during the summer months; and
cutting back the decaying leaves of the bulbs planted in the garden. This annual
ritual of placing tubs into the darkness to rest and replenish the bulbs for flowering
next spring is part of the mystery of light and darkness, and the place for each of
those elements in the natural world. From another perspective, I remember many
years ago as if it was yesterday, the difficulty I experienced working as a nurse on
night duty and trying to sleep in the day time; because my body never functioned
properly during those months of the reversed cycle of light and darkness. Even so,
I continue to experience great delight during the night as I look at the stars and
moon; and the way the stars change their perceived position as the earth rotates
towards the coming of the morning light. This is a hangover from the night duty
nursing sessions, as I watched and longed for the morning, as it says in Psalm 130.
|Creative pause:||Celebrating the annual changes in the seasons.|
The mystery of light and darkness are also explored in this Psalm as the psalmist tried
to describe a theophany of God, where the mystery of God’s presence was shrouded
in darkness; and the glory and power of God are described as if in a violent thunder
storm with fire and lightning; along with a simultaneous volcanic eruption. These concepts
were familiar to the worshipping participants, because ‘storm gods’ were part of their
ancient history and culture, before the enlightenment of God’s holy presence was given
to them. In awed wonder, they used those ancient beliefs of the darkness of thick clouds
to describe the mystery of God’s holy presence, as being shrouded in dark clouds. Later
in the psalm, the author celebrated the contrast of the mystery of light, as “... Light shines
on the godly, and joy on those whose hearts are right...”, as if light and joy are inter-twined.
|Creative pause:||Are light and joy inter-twined for you in your commitment to God?|
If I have correctly understood Professor Walter Brueggemann in his commentary on
Psalm 97, the revelations of God’s power and majesty to Moses on Mount Sinai in the
forms of various theophanies with fire, wind, cloud and lightning were transposed in
people’s imagination to the Temple worship of God the Eternal King, but in a different
format. Instead, God’s revelations to the people were in the new demonstrations of God’s
glory were with righteousness and justice! These would be as awe-inspiring as the more
physical displays of the past to Moses and the watching crowds. Psalm 97 was peoples’
and the heavenly hosts’ response to these new revelations of God - as the Eternal King.
|Creative pause:||How does God reveal God’s-Own-Self to you?|
1 From “Together in Song” #105
“Let all the world in every corner sing”
George Herbert (Alt) 1593-1633
Words are in the Public Domain
2 From “Together in Song” #722
“Holy, holy, holy Lord”
© Ateliers et Presses de Taizé Ltd
Used with Permission,
Word of Life International Licence #2425T
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 scholarship and 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:
© 2016 Joan Stott – ‘The Timeless Psalms’ RCL Psalms Year A. Used with permission.
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