A Call to Worship
Easter 5A 2014
Psalm 31: 1-5, 15-16

Liberating God, we come together to share with you our sorrow and confusion.
Come near to us, Listening God, to hear our prayers for your liberating help.

Trustworthy God, because of your constant protection we come to you for blessing.
Be for us the Sturdy Rock of security and hope, so that we may honour your name.

Covenantal God, we trust in you because your hands have always securely held us,
and you shine your warm favour on us because of your unfailing love for your people.
God of steadfast love, we gather to worship you, because you always hear our cries.
God of the ultimate promises, our future is in your hands, and now we are at peace. Amen.

Psalm 31: 1-5, 15-16

1 O LORD, I have come to you for protection;
don't let me be put to shame.
Rescue me, for you always do what is right.
2 Bend down and listen to me; rescue me quickly.
Be for me a great rock of safety,
a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.
3 You are my rock and my fortress.
For the honor of your name, lead me out of this peril.

4 Pull me from the trap my enemies set for me,
for I find protection in you alone.
5 I entrust my spirit into your hand.
Rescue me, LORD, for you are a faithful God.

15 My future is in your hands.
Rescue me from those who hunt me down relentlessly.
16 Let your favor shine on your servant.
In your unfailing love, save me.

Prayers of Lament and Petition
Easter 5A 2014
Psalm 31: 1-5, 15-16

Liberating God, we come together to find strength and encouragement from
our shared experiences of pain and confusion. We are at a loss to understand
why things have turned out the way they have, despite all our urgent prayers;
and despite all our efforts. Bend down near to us, Listening God, because we
need to share with you our deep concerns and fears; our disappointments; and
even our anger. We ask for answers or even an understanding about why these
things have happened to us when we have been so faithful to you, and we have
worshipped and served you for so many years! Faithful God, be for us this day
our Secure Rock and our Unshakeable God, so that we can know and believe
that just as you have been our Guide and Helper in the past, so you will guide
and bless us in the unknown future. Shine the light of your unfailing love upon us
we pray, so that we may know again your healing powers to revive and renew us.

Protecting God, we humbly ask that you empower us to move forward into a new
phase of our faith journey, and to take with us into our new situation all that was
precious to us in the past. We are anxious and even fearful of the future, but today
we claim your promise that our future is in your hands. Over many long years,
we have known and relied on the strength of your hands that have held both us—
and our forebears - firmly within your loving grasp. Be for us today the Sturdy Rock
and our Fortress against all that unsettles us; and may we continue to honour and
worship you in the beauty of your holiness, and in the certain joy of your endless love.

Ever-present God, the Trustworthy Sanctuary of our souls, we entrust to you this day
all that is precious to us; all the experiences of our shared life that speaks to us of
your unfailing love; and all that draws us together to make us into your own people.
Help us to experience again your peace and joy; the security of the haven of your
presence; and the fulfilment of your ageless promises that blesses all your people. Amen.

A Personal Meditation
Easter 5A 2014
Psalm 31: 1-5, 15-16

“Be still, my soul: the Lord is on your side;...leave to your God to order and
provide; in every change he faithful will remain.”
1 The words of this familiar
hymn seem to be the answer to the turmoil within the Psalmist’s heart and mind,
as he lamented his situation. “Be still, my soul”1 – was his fervent prayer offered
when all around him was tension, despair, anger and sorrow. His lament
expressed his deepest fears and his sense of isolation, and he really needed
something to cling to, so he called upon God to come very near to him, as he
acknowledged his need for to God to “ soothe your sorrows, calm your fears...”1

Creative pause: “Be still, my soul....”1 and let God be God.

“Be still, my soul: your God will undertake to guide the future as he has the past.1
I recently attended a thanksgiving service to recognise the closing down of a
church after approximately 150 years of witness to its local community. Originally
built as a school, additional rooms were gradually added to allow for worship to
be conducted. This was the “family” church for that community with generations
of families gathering to worship God; where young ones had grown up, married,
had children and then brought them for baptism. That elderly congregation was
devastated when told that their church was to close, and they openly expressed
their anger, denials, and disbelief! Over a period of several months, there was a
slow tide of acceptance, and the realisation that it was time to move forward, and
to continue with their witness within a different setting and community. Through
all their grief and loss, they continued to daily live out their faith and trust in God,
believing that God would guide and bless in their future. Thank God for their faith!

Creative pause: “...God will... guide the future as God has the past...”

“Be still, my soul....your hope, your confidence let nothing shake, all now mysterious
shall be clear at last.”
1 Hope and confidence are two important ingredients for faith,
especially when the “mystery” of God’s presence with and within us is challenged.
Yet for me, the real “mystery” is the uncompromising love that God has for me, and
for all humanity, which becomes the focus for God’s response to my lamenting cries.
Through my lamenting, not only has God become more “real” to me, but also my own
faith and trust in God has developed with new possibilities for my transformation!

Creative pause: The mystery of God’s uncompromising love for all humanity.

1 TIS Hymns:
From “Together in Song” #123
Words by Katharina von Schlegel
Trans Jane Laurie Borthwick
Words in the Public Domain

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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