We come with praises: “Glory to God above!... Worship him, sun and moon...”1
A Call to Worship
Christmas Eve (i) B 2017
United in love we celebrate: “…O sing hallelujah and praise God for evermore.1
We come with our prayers: “Glory to God below!... “Let depths of ocean show…”1
With relief we rejoice as the: “…wind and cloud perform at his command….”1
We come sharing: “Glory to God above and below!... creatures of earth and
air and sea creatures praise God in every land …Praise and sing hallelujah…1
With hope we remember the: “…Glory to God our King!” Leaders and people sing;
women and men of every age unite to praise the LORD…praise God for evermore.1 Amen.
1 Sing a new song to the LORD!
Let the whole earth sing to the LORD!
2 Sing to the LORD; praise 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 feared above all gods.
5 The gods of other nations are mere idols,
but the LORD made the heavens!
6 Honour and majesty surround him;
strength and beauty fill his sanctuary.
7 O nations of the world, recognise the LORD;
recognise that the LORD is glorious and strong.
8 Give to the LORD the glory he deserves!
Bring your offering and come into his courts.
9 Worship the LORD in all his holy splendour.
Let all the earth tremble before him.
10 Tell all the nations, “The LORD reigns!”
The world stands firm and cannot be shaken.
He will judge all peoples fairly.
11 Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice!
Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise!
12 Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy!
Let the trees of the forest sing for joy
13 before the LORD, for he is coming!
He is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with justice,
and the nations with his truth.
Prayers of Praise
With joy we come to celebrate: “Glory to God above!... Worship him, sun and moon...”
Christmas Eve (i) B 2017
“…O sing hallelujah and praise God for evermore.1 We gather together as God’s
people to sing our praises to God for the glory of all we see and experience in the
darkness of evening and night. There are so many elements in creation that we are
not aware of in the daylight; and yet they continue their majestic journey across the
skies as they fulfil their God-given role and purposes; as they celebrate God’s glory.
As physical beings ourselves, we resonate with the other physical elements in all of
creation; and yet as spiritual beings as well – in our joy we join with the heavenly hosts
in praising and honouring the majesty and wonder of our God and Everlasting King.
With hope we come to pray and celebrate the “…Glory to God below!... Let depths
of ocean show…”1 as “…wind and cloud perform at his command….”1 and “…stars
complement their tune; grounded in God’s good purpose…”1 We gather to rejoice in
“….every mountain range, forest and grove and grange…” and especially today we bring
our praises to God for the joys of our home and family life; all of which is grounded in
the concept of us all being members of God’s one great human family - joined as we are
in our uniqueness and our similarities. We also come to pray and celebrate the wonder
of us all being children of our Parent God, as we join in prayer with the psalmist - and
with people from all times and places: “…O nations of the world, recognise the LORD…
Give to the LORD the glory he deserves...Worship the LORD in all his holy splendour…”
We come together to share in love and celebration of the miracle of God’s grace and
mercy because the LORD is coming amongst us again in new and wonderful ways to
inspire our praises and worship. We come singing, praying and sharing in the glory
and wonder of our God as we offer our praises: “… to God above and below!... creatures
of earth and air and sea creatures praise God in every land…Leaders and people sing;
women and men of every age unite to praise the LORD..” as we “…sing hallelujah and
praise God for evermore…” We also come to pray and celebrate and “...Worship God’s
holy name and let your lives proclaim God’s saving power extends…1 as we seek to
love and serve our God and King “…For in him we live and move and have our being…”2 Amen.
A Personal Meditation
The latter part of Psalm 96 is a very physical response to the statements about the
Christmas Eve (i) B 2017
power and majesty of our God, as the psalmist emphasised a visible experience for the
people who had the personal perception to see and know these miracles of our God’s
“…glorious deeds…” We, as human beings, are instructed to sing about it and to daily
“...tell everyone about the amazing things he does. Great is the LORD! He is most worthy
of praise…!” The ‘world’ had long been under threat from the powers of evil – but now—
“…The LORD reigns…!”. There is a very different scenario now – and creation can be
what is was originally intended to be and become - because “…the LORD… is coming…”!
Having spent the first 20 years of my life in a small town surrounded by farming and rural
life, which I visited on a fairly regular basis as I often travelled with my father on his Local
Preacher commitments; I became very familiar with the cycles of rural life as I witnessed
the “…fields and their crops burst out with joy!…” We did not have any actual “forests”
singing their praises – but we had plenty of ‘bush’ - especially the ‘Golden’ and ‘Silver’
Wattle’ tree varieties. In late winter, our world was filled with pure gold or cream coloured
flowers from the various types of Wattle trees, as they sang their praises to God’s glory!
|Creative pause:||“…Great is the LORD! He is most worthy of praise…!”|
I am blessed to live in a city that is built on the south-east coast of Australia, which can
also be a very wild section of water with little between it and Antarctica – except Tasmania!
I am also blessed to have a large river flowing through our city on the way to the ocean—
and as the palmist sang: “…the sea and everything in it shout [the LORD’s] praise!...” The
people of the ancient world had a deep fear of the creatures inhabiting the waters, maybe
because of the mystery of what actually lived in and under the waters of the sea; and
their superstitious and fear-filled imaginations painted very grim pictures and stories.
Most of the inhabitants had no personal knowledge of the sea, so most probably believed
everything they were told about the hazards of the sea. Yet the psalmist found great joy
in the concept of the sea shouting praises to God – what a contrast in understanding!
|Creative pause:||Fear of the unknown and joy in trusting in the Creator!|
At times, a new translation offers a new understanding to familiar words, as in Psalm 96.
“The Voice” translation of this psalm states: “…Shout out to the nations, “The Eternal
reigns! Yes, indeed, the world is anchored and will not shake loose. He governs all people
with a fair hand.” And so, let the heavens resound in gladness! Let joy be the earth’s rhythm
as the sea and all its creatures roar…”3 When the psalmist sang of the “heavens” did he
mean the stars and planets; or the angels and other heavenly inhabitants? The synonyms
for “resound” are interesting: echo, resonate, boom, thunder, pulsate/vibrate, reverberate,
peal and ring out. Imagine the stars and planets dancing to the rhythms of the celebrations
bouncing from one heavenly planet/star to another; the rings around the planets circling
with glee, and the Milky Way shimmering in delight at its Creator’s promised coming! And
how will the created earth “rejoice”? “…Let joy be the earth’s rhythm…” as it goes on its
regular cycle around the sun, have you ever been attuned to the “rhythms” of the earth?
All of these activities are responsive praises to the announcement: “…Great is the LORD…!”
|Creative pause:||How attuned are you to the “rhythms” of the earth?|
1 From “Together in Song” #94
“Glory to God above”
© Words by John L Bell (alt) Wild Goose Resource Group Iona Community.
Used with Permission Word of Life International license #2425
2 Acts 17: 28 (NLT)
3 Psalm 96: 10-11
“The Voice” Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc.
The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.
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 96.
Used with permission.
Download/view a pdf file of this document here: christmaseveb_2017.pdf