A Call to Worship
Easter 3A 2014
Psalm 116: 1-4, 12-19

We come today to worship God, because God is near and listens to us.
Because of God’s nearness to us, we come to revere and honour God.

We come today to praise God, because the Holy God is a liberating God.
Because God is our liberating and saving God, we come to celebrate.

We come today with confidence, because whatever happens in life, our
Listening and Attentive God is always bending down to hear our cries.
Because God is worthy of all the worship, praise, honour and reverence
we can offer to God, we come in humble commitment, promising to be
faithful in our worship, witness and service to God – for all our lifelong days. Amen

Psalm 116: 1-4, 12-19

1 I love the LORD because he hears and answers my prayers.
2 Because he bends down and listens, I will pray as long as I have breath!
3 Death had its hands around my throat; the terrors of the grave overtook me.
I saw only trouble and sorrow.
4 Then I called on the name of the LORD:
"Please, LORD, save me!"

12 What can I offer the LORD for all he has done for me?
13 I will lift up a cup symbolizing his salvation;
I will praise the LORD's name for saving me.
14 I will keep my promises to the LORD in the presence of all his people.
15 The LORD's loved ones are precious to him; it grieves him when they die.
16 O LORD, I am your servant; yes, I am your servant,
the son of your handmaid, and you have freed me from my bonds!
17 I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD.
18 I will keep my promises to the LORD in the presence of all his people,
19 in the house of the LORD, in the heart of Jerusalem.
Praise the LORD!

Prayers of Praise and Trust
Easter 3A 2014
Psalm 116: 1-4, 12-19

Inspiring God, we come as individuals and as a shared community
of faith to praise and worship you, because you offer to us so many
blessings in so many different ways. The Psalmist sang: “...I will pray
as long as I have breath…”
because he knew from personal experiences,
that praying to God was not a waste of time, because God was always
attentively listening to his prayers. May we have that same trust and
confidence that God always listens to our prayers and answers them—
even if it not in the way we expected or hoped. Give each of us, we pray,
the trust and conviction of God’s near presence, so that we each may
know that God is near and cares for us; and that that conviction will remain
with us all our life, so that our living is a testimony to God’s faithfulness.

Liberating God, we come as individuals and as a shared community of
faith to thank you because you freed each us from our personal burdens
that have weighed so heavily on us. In our anxiety, we’ve cried out to God:
“Please God, save me!” Today we gather to celebrate God’s liberating
powers that do free us, and enables us to worship you in honesty and in
truth. Together, we share in an act of worship, thankfulness and praise
to our Liberating God, because God is trustworthy in all circumstances.

Empowering God, we come as individuals and as a shared community
of faith to celebrate the way you enliven our faith and trust in you every
day and every night, as we have travelled the ups and downs of life. You
enriched and inspired us to grow in your grace, and to trust in your mercy.
We are reassured not only through our own experiences of your grace,
but also because of the gracious way you have blessed other people in
their vulnerability and need. The love we have for our inspiring, liberating
and empowering God is not easy to define; but all we understand is that
God is infinitely loveable, because of God’s abiding presence with us.
Today, we offer God our loyalty and commitment by singing songs of praise
and thankfulness as long as our breath lasts, because God always takes
the initiative and comes near to us, whatever is our need or our rejoicing. Amen.

A Personal Meditation
Easter 3A 2014
Psalm 116: 1-4, 12-19

As a child, did you ever in all seriousness make a promise, adding equally
seriously, “Cross my heart and hope to die...” and then with profound gravity—
making on your chest a large sign of the cross? This concept may originally
have been a religious vow, and emphasised with a sign of the Cross. However,
later it usually related to a seemingly important promise by a child, which may
or may not have been kept! The Psalmist was in a positive frame of mind
and heart, as he promised God five times in this section of the Psalm: “I will...”
Do we treat the promises we make to God with the same seriousness as
when we pledge suitable repayments on our mortgages; our car repayments;
to our superannuation fund; or our health or life insurances? Do we respect
the vows we make to God in the same way we do as our marriage vows, or
in our personal relationships and commitments to a partner, or to our family?

Creative pause: How much do you value your promises made to God?

Unusually, the author of this Psalm opened with him professing: “I love the
Lord because....”
rather than giving thanks and praise for God’s steadfast
love, God’s trustworthiness; and/or God’s faithfulness as many Psalms do.
Instead, the author was professing his loyalty and fidelity to God “because...”
That “because” is such an important word in this context! God was and is
loved because God “hears and answers my prayers. Because God bends
down and listens
[to my prayers, therefore] I will pray as long as I have breath..!
The author shared his prayer experiences with others to encourage them in
their praying. He wanted his people to commit to and rely on God’s promises.

Creative pause: How often do you share your prayer experiences with others?

Now we have a “moment of truth” question! “...What can I offer the Lord for all
he has done for me…?”
Are we able to accept God “needs” nothing from us?
Yet, we do want to give God symbols of our gratitude for receiving such mercy!
David had the same problem in Psalm 51: “....You would not be pleased with
sacrifices, or I would bring them. If I brought you a burnt offering, you would not
accept it. The sacrifice you want is a broken spirit. A broken and repentant heart,
O God, you will not despise…”
1 Perhaps the answer to our desire to offer God
gifts is from outside the selected verses: “…so I walk in the Lord’s presence as
I live here on earth..!”
2 Calling on the name of the Lord and faithfully walking in
God’s presence is the most effective way to offer to God our love and worship!

Creative pause: “...What can I offer the Lord for all he has done for me…?”

1 Psalm 51: 16-17 (NLT)
2 Psalm 116: 9

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).

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:
© 2014 Joan Stott – ‘The Timeless Psalms’ RCL Psalms Year A. Used with permission.


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