A Call to Worship
Christmas Eve Year A 2013
Psalm 96

We come to worship God, in response to God’s holy splendour and majestic powers.
We come to celebrate with new songs of joy, because our God is the Eternal King.

We come to worship God, in response to God’s continuing acts of justice and equity.
We come to celebrate with new songs of praise because God’s ways are just and holy.

We come to worship God, in response to God’s great love, goodness and mercy—
because all humanity is invited into a personal and intimate relationship with God.
We come to celebrate with new songs of never-ending thankfulness; and in reverent
awe, we rejoice in our God, because all of God’s truths will be revealed to the nations. Amen.

Psalm 96

1 Sing a new song to the LORD!
Let the whole earth sing to the LORD!
2 Sing to the LORD; bless his name.
Each day proclaim the good news that he saves.
3 Publish his glorious deeds among the nations.
Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.
4 Great is the LORD! He is most worthy of praise!
He is to be revered above all the gods.
5 The gods of other nations are merely idols,
but the LORD made the heavens!
6 Honour and majesty surround him;
strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

7 O nations of the world, recognize the LORD;
recognize that the LORD is glorious and strong.
8 Give to the LORD the glory he deserves!
Bring your offering and come to worship him.
9 Worship the LORD in all his holy splendour.
Let all the earth tremble before him.
10 Tell all the nations that the LORD is king.
The world is firmly established and cannot be shaken.
He will judge all peoples fairly.

11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice!
Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise!
12 Let the fields and their crops burst forth with joy!
Let the trees of the forest rustle with praise.
13 before the LORD! For the LORD is coming!
He is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness
and all the nations with his truth.

Prayers of Praise and Thankfulness
Christmas Eve Year A 2013
Psalm 96

Great and Glorious God, today we have been gifted with a new experience of
God’s holy splendour, and so we come in reverent awe to sing about and share
the news of God’s new and glorious deeds amongst the earth’s nations. All of
creation is invited to proclaim the news that God reigns over all things, and that
whilst we can learn from past experiences of God, these are replaced each day
with new insights and new personal knowledge about God’s glory and majesty.
Today, we gather to celebrate together the ever-new miracle of God’s eternal reign;
and so we sing a new song of praise to honour and bless our Glorious and Holy
God of all creation, who rules over all creation with grace, truth, justice and equity.
God’s holy honour and majesty fill the sanctuary with the strength and beauty of joy.
Great is the Lord our Holy King, who is worthy of all our reverent songs and praises.

Majestic God, we gather to proclaim the news of God’s ever-new expressions of
creativity, and so we are gifted with an insight into the Being of God, who is royally
robed in purity and holiness, and worthy of all praise, glory and honour. However,
these insights into God’s glorious majesty do not isolate us from God, because we—
humanity and all the creatures of this earth - are involved in the revelations of God,
as God shares with the nations of this world the ever-new wonders of God’s reign.
God’s holy honour and majesty will rule the nations of the world with equity and truth.
Great is the Lord our Holy King, who is worthy of all our reverent songs and praises.

God of hope and joy, we gather together this day, having drawn apart from a world
where truth and beauty has been stained by evil; and where injustices and greed
have tainted all that God has given to the nations that was honourable and right.
Because of God’s judgement, in reverent awe we now see new opportunities spread
before us, offering to all humanity a new beginning where God will reign supreme.
We give thanks and praise to our God, for allowing us this glimpse of what God’s
Sovereign reign was always intended to be; and so with our new songs of praise and
thankfulness, we celebrate God’s realignment of the exploitative powers of this world,
as God’s holy reign brings about freedom and joy to oppressed and disillusioned people.
God’s holy honour and majesty will lift up the fallen, and bring hope to all of the hopeless.
Great is the Lord our Holy King, who is worthy of all our reverent songs and praises. Amen.

A Personal Meditation
Christmas Eve Year A 2013
Psalm 96

2013 is the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s II coronation on the
2nd June 1953, held in Westminster Abbey. She became the sovereign
of many nations and territories, and many special celebrations have
marked that royal anniversary. As the various processions took place,
the choir sang from Psalm 122 “... I was glad when they said to me,
‘Let us go to the house of the Lord’… …may there be peace …….”

Amongst the prayers and many hymns sung was: “Thou will keep him
in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee...”
In the 60 years of
Queen Elizabeth’s reign, the world map has changed its colouring,
and there has been many changes to the social agendas and issues
that dominate our own lives. Psalm 96 is an “enthronement” Psalm,
where the Lord God is honoured and celebrated as the King of kings—
marking the start of a new, holy and sovereign reign by God the Holy King.
Because of the daily newness of God’s reign, a new song needs to be
created and sung by all creation’s inhabitants to honour the Creating King.

Creative pause: God’s daily new reign needs to be celebrated!

When I was in Tonga, I saw in a very prominent display space, the gown
worn by Queen Sālote Tupou III to the service of coronation and blessing
of Queen Elizabeth. The people of Tonga were justifiably proud of Queen
Sālote and her gracious royal dignity on that very special occasion; especially
as she had ridden in an open carriage in the pouring rain to that coronation.
Nuku’alofa is the capital of the Kingdom of Tonga on the island of Tongatapu,
and at the central Methodist Church, the two thrones for the king and queen
are placed to the side of the church, giving God the King the ultimate honour
and glory above their own royal family. The worship of God is central to the
life and witness of the people of Tonga, and there is much we can learn from
their dignified and gracious life-style of worship, witness and service to God.

Creative pause: How central to us is our worship, witness and service to God.

The “royal” Psalm 96 celebrates a new and future reign of God for all eternity
over all the defeated powers of evil and the failed powers of idols that are left
languishing in their lost hopes of leading the world on its previous destructive
and evil ways. Through God’s eternal reign of justice, equity, order and peace,
the nations of the world and all their peoples can find a daily delight in the new
truths revealed by God, and the hope that promises the future can become the
present, making it worthy of more songs of praise to honour God the Eternal King.

Creative pause: Hope in God promises that the future can become the present.

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.

*Revised Indexing Scheme from 'Consultation on Church Union' (COCU).

If the Prayers and/or Meditations are used in shared worship, please provide this acknowledgement:
© 2013 Joan Stott – ‘The Timeless Psalms’ RCL Psalms Year A. Used with permission.


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