Restoring God, in confident hope and trust, we come to worship our God.
A Call to Worship
Easter 3C 2016
When we cried out to God in our pain, God heard, healed and blessed us.
Renewing God, in anticipation and expectation we come to praise our God.
When we cried out to God in our fear, God listened and strengthened us.
Transforming God, in celebration for God’s forgiving mercies, we come to
offer our worship and praises for all God’s generous gifts to us of a renewed
faith and trust in God’s mighty acts of grace, for which we give our thanks.
When we cried out to God in our grief, God listened and acted to transform
our grief and loss into the joy and peace by the light of God’s holy presence. Amen.
A psalm of David. A song for the dedication of the Temple.
1 I will exalt you, Lord, for you rescued me.
You refused to let my enemies triumph over me.
2 O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
and you restored my health.
3 You brought me up from the grave, O Lord.
You kept me from falling into the pit of death.
4 Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones! Praise his holy name.
5 For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favour lasts a lifetime!
Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.
6 When I was prosperous, I said, “Nothing can stop me now!”
7 Your favour, O Lord, made me as secure as a mountain.
Then you turned away from me, and I was shattered.
8 I cried out to you, O Lord. I begged the Lord for mercy, saying,
9 “What will you gain if I die, if I sink into the grave?
Can my dust praise you? Can it tell of your faithfulness?
10 Hear me, Lord, and have mercy on me. Help me, O Lord.”
11 You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
12 that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!
Prayers of Confession and Thankfulness
Faithful God, we come to worship you today, even as we bring
Easter 3C 2016
our fears and sin to be confessed before our Forgiving God. We
also bring all our needy emotions and anxieties because we need
God’s help and blessing. We come, asking God to forgive us of
our sin; to heal us of our fears; and to guide and help along life’s
pathway, as we each day seek to love, obey and serve our God.
“...Hear us, Lord, and have mercy on us. Help us, O Lord...”
Attentive God, we come to worship you and to give thanks for the
many blessings we receive from you each day; and we confess that
we take these blessings for granted, as if we have deserved them
through our own efforts. Holy One, how often we congratulate our-
selves that the privileges we accept are our right; when suddenly,
they vanish and we hit rock bottom. Restoring God, in confident hope
and trust, we come to worship our God who listens to us; and who
hears and responds to our cries. We give thanks to God because
each of us has been healed and blessed even as we worship our God.
“...Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones! Praise his holy name...”
Transforming God, in celebration of God’s forgiving mercies, we come
to offer our worship and praises for all God’s generous gifts to us of a
renewed faith and trust in God’s mighty acts of grace, for which we
give our thanks. When we cried out to God, and God listened and acted
to transform our lives and our broken relationships into the joy and peace
of the light of God’s holy presence. For these blessings we give our thanks!
“...You have turned our mourning into joyful dancing...and clothed us
with joy, that we might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord our
God, we will always give you our thanks forever and ever!” Amen and Amen.
A Personal Meditation
Psalm 30 seems to include a series of contrasts: disaster and restoration; death
Easter 3C 2016
and life; God’s anger and God’s favour; weeping and joy; darkness and morning
light; prosperity and shattering loss; grief and joyful dancing; and traditional clothes
of mourning and joyful, bright clothing. Yet for me, the two greatest contrasts are
God’s anger and God’s favour; and from darkness to morning light. There is also
a ‘before’ and an ‘after’ effect within these contrasts, and God’s gift of change—
with one’s transformation realised when moving from sin to forgiveness; and from
remorse and regret to the celebration of God’s loving grace and merciful forgiveness.
|Creative pause:||Is life and living always a long series of contrasts?|
I always have real problems with the concept of God being “angry”, and I am unsure
whether it is my interpretation; or even my own experiences of ‘anger’ that are really
the issue. The various dictionary definitions of ‘anger’ include a strong sense of fury,
annoyance, exasperation, indignation, irritation, rage/outrage, resentment, vexation
and the old fashioned wrath! Yet for me, most of those descriptions seem ill-suited to
what I think is the nature of God!, except perhaps ‘exasperation’! As human beings,
we often attribute human emotions to God’s Being, expecting that God will react and
respond to challenges the same way we do! The only way I have been able to deal with
this temptation in response to the reality God’s ‘anger’, is by reflecting on descriptions
and titles we ‘bestow’ on God, to help me to determine how God could ‘react’ or ‘respond’.
We call God ‘Faithful’ because God is; we call God ‘Righteous God’ because God is;
we name God as ‘Loving’, ‘Helper’, ‘Compassionate’, ‘Merciful’, ‘Creator’, ‘‘Awesome’,
Guide’, ‘True’, ‘Welcoming’, ‘Majestic’, ‘Forgiving’, ‘Listening’, ‘Steadfast’, ‘Gracious’,
‘Transforming’, ‘Strength’, ‘Refuge’ and ‘Trustworthy’; and many other descriptive titles—
because we know God has those graces, as we have received the blessings of them all.
|Creative pause:||How would you describe God’s anger and God’s graces?|
Like many other people, for me sometimes the darkness of night seems as if it will never
end! I open my curtains and blinds to help the morning light arrive more quickly, but that
is only an illusion! In the summer time, I regularly rise from my bed while it is still dark
so I can complete hand watering my garden before it is too hot. For me, that is always a
very special time, as I watch the night retreat before the glory of the early morning light.
It is only when we know and have experienced the ‘dark’ times of life that we can really
appreciate the joy of the morning ‘light’. So it is, when the ‘light’ of God’s presence comes
to penetrate the darkest times of our separation from God’s love, fidelity, grace and mercy
we again experience the joy and blessedness of God’s light defeating our own darkness.
|Creative pause:||The ‘light’ of God’s presence can penetrate the darkest life’s times.|
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 C. Used with permission.
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