Responsive God, we come together to call on you to always listen and to hear our prayers.
A Call to Worship
Easter 3B 2015
Forgive us, O Holy God, for our distracted thoughts and feelings, even as we worship you.
Faithful God, even in our confusion we come to you, very confident of your Holy Presence.
We come before you, O God, seeking to always faithfully worship you in spirit and in truth.
Peace-giving God, we gather to worship you within the fellowship of your people, and even
though we are so different, our shared yearning is to sincerely honour and revere our God.
We come together to be warmed by the assurance of God’s love; so we can then move on to our daily life and nightly rest, confident in the security of God’s blessing and presence. Amen.
For the choir director: A psalm of David,
to be accompanied by stringed instruments.
1 Answer me when I call to you, O God who declares me innocent.
Free me from my troubles. Have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
2 How long will you people ruin my reputation?
How long will you make groundless accusations?
How long will you continue your lies?
3You can be sure of this: The Lord set apart the godly for himself.
The Lord will answer when I call to him.
4 Don’t sin by letting anger control you.
Think about it overnight and remain silent.
5 Offer sacrifices in the right spirit, and trust the Lord.
6 Many people say, “Who will show us better times?”
Let your face smile on us, Lord.
7 You have given me greater joy
than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.
8 In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.
Prayers of Lament and Trust
Faithful God, we come together today to worship you, but we are weighed down
Easter 3B 2015
by our anxiety, confusion and distractions that seem to block you out, and make
it hard to concentrate on our worship of you. Generous God, in the face of your
overwhelming generosity to us, we know we are very foolish when we carry our
grudges with us into our acts of worship of you; especially when those grudges are
against members of our own community. But God, we are hurt by their attitudes
towards us. So we come, seeking your help in dealing with these issues. Forgive us,
Holy God, for our distracted thoughts and feelings, even as we worship you, and
enable us to move past those hurts, and to find our peace and joy in your Presence.
Trustworthy God, we come before you, O God, seeking to always faithfully worship
you in spirit and in truth; and in the knowledge that you can forgive us of any sin we
confess to you. Just as you forgive us, help us to forgive those who have hurt us, and
to move on in life with faith, trust and hope in the God who hears and answers our
prayers. Help us also to seek reconciliation with the people we have hurt, or who have
hurt us through thoughtless or unheeding words; or provocative actions; and that God
will give us all the grace and healing we so desperately need; and to lead us into peace.
Peace-giving God, we come together to be warmed by the assurance of God’s love;
so we can then move on to our daily life and nightly rest, confident in the security of
God’s blessing and presence. May we pray with honestly and integrity for all who are
part of our faith community, but especially let us pray for those people who have hurt
us, using the words of the ancient blessing: “....May the Lord bless you and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favour,
and give you his peace...”1 Healing God, heal and free us all from grudges we pray. Amen.
A Personal Meditation
“...In this psalm, the dialogue is between settled, confident faith and the restless
Easter 3B 2015
protest that is grounded in troubled experience. The interaction features human
honesty down to the bottom of reality...”2 I am sure that the ancient people who
shared in singing this psalm were not the only people who ever came to the worship
of God with resentment in their minds about some of their fellow worshippers; or
who have attended worship wondering whose “side” God was on! I am also positive
that other people have come to worship God confused about the variations in the
liturgy; their building’s style; or the artistic expressions that surround them. Together,
those ancient people worked their way through their emotional and spiritual stresses
to a state of genuine worship of God, which gave them spiritual and emotional peace.
|Creative pause:||Give thanks for God’s gifts of spiritual and emotional peace.|
“The restless protest that is grounded in troubled experience...”2 can have damaging
outcomes for many people. For example, anyone hurt by “the Church” in their actions
and treatment towards staff or volunteers; or who have been “let down” by “the Church”—
the psalmist’s questions will surely resonate within their hearts and minds! “…How long
will you people ruin my reputation? How long will you make groundless accusations?
How long will you continue your lies…?” Despite the truth or otherwise of people’s pain,
their confused emotions can intervene in many ways to tarnish their worship of God,
and even spoil forever their commitment to God and to “the Church”. The timeless news
of this psalm is in the psalmist’s uncompromising statement: “...You can be sure of this:
The Lord set apart the godly for himself. The Lord will answer when I call to him…”
|Creative pause:||Are you always sure you are answered when you call out to God?|
The psalmist also had an understanding of people when he sang: “…Offer sacrifices
in the right spirit, and trust the Lord...” How often do we begrudge the calls made on our
skills or talents in the service of God, and for the community where we live? The psalmist
was singing about the various forms of “sacrifice” and “religious festivals” that were part
of, or were the main act of worship of God - praise and adoration of God, confession,
giving of one’s time, talents and monitory gifts or “gifts in kind”. Our level of trust in God
and having the “right spirit” in our worship is the difference between going back home at
peace with God and with your neighbour; or going back home still upset and angry with
members of your faith community; or with members of your own local secular community.
|Creative pause:||Do you have any hidden grudges about your service to and for God?|
1 Numbers 6: 24-26 (NLT)
2 Text by Professor Walter Brueggemann
& William H Bellinger Junior
from “Psalms”; Psalm 4, page 42
© 2014 Cambridge University Press
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.
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