A Call to Worship
Easter 6B 2015
Psalm 98

We come, with songs of joy and praise to worship and celebrate God’s great triumphs.
“Joy to the world! ...let earth receive its king; let every heart prepare him room ...”1

We come, with songs of joy and thankfulness to revere and honour our Almighty God.
“Joy to the earth! ...The Saviour reigns; let all our songs...”1 bring praises to our King.

We come, with songs of joy and awed praise to worship the God of all truth and grace—
who is the Source of all wisdom and holy power; and who reigns throughout all eternity.
“Joy to the world! “...Joy to the earth..!”1 Joy to all creation on earth, to all beyond its vast bounds, and to all of humanity; as God shows to all creation the wonders of God’s love. Amen.

Psalm 98

1 Sing a new song to the Lord, for he has done wonderful deeds.
His right hand has won a mighty victory;
his holy arm has shown his saving power!
2 The Lord has announced his victory
and has revealed his righteousness to every nation!
3 He has remembered his promise to love and be faithful to Israel.
The ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.

4 Shout to the Lord, all the earth; break out in praise and sing for joy!
5 Sing your praise to the Lord with the harp,
with the harp and melodious song,
6 with trumpets and the sound of the ram’s horn.
Make a joyful symphony before the Lord, the King!

7 Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise!
Let the earth and all living things join in.
8 Let the rivers clap their hands in glee!
Let the hills sing out their songs of joy
9 before the Lord, for he is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with justice,
and the nations with fairness.

Prayers of Praise and Confession
Easter 6B 2015
Psalm 98

Majestic and Holy God, in reverent awe, we pause to be still, and to experience
and know your presence with us now, as in this holy silence that surrounds us—
we open ourselves up to you in worship. Creating God, open our eyes to see
you in the people around us and to the world in which we live, open our ears to
hear your words of truth spoken to us; open our mouths to truly sing your praises
and to celebrate your goodness to all humanity; open our hands that we may give
generously to people in need; guide our feet that we may walk in your ways; open
our minds to learn new concepts and new realities of our Changeless God; and
open our hearts, our very souls to the yearning love that you have for each one of
us right at this moment of awed worship and reverence. May we reach out to receive
your gracious and generous mercy, and may we truly worship and serve you today.

Grace-giving God, we come before you to worship, to praise and to thank you
for your generous and gracious acceptance of our worship - imperfect as it is.
We confess that we are so obsessed with our own small issues and concerns,
that we are unable to offer you all that we are in our worship of you. Jesus taught
his followers to love and worship God “...with all your heart, all your soul, and all
your mind...
[and] your neighbour as yourself.”2; and we confess that we only
offer to God, parts of our heart and soul; and we seldom offer very much of our
mind to God! Forgive us for our lack of true commitment to the worship of God; and
the way we limit ourselves in our acts of worship. Forgive us for the way we are
often critical of other people’s offerings of worship of God because their thoughts
and prayers do not suit our preferences; regardless of the genuine way they make
their offerings to God. God of the poor and dispossessed, forgive us for our lack
of commitment to the nurturing of our neighbours in their varying circumstances.

Forgiving God, we join with the fellowship of forgiven people to “...sing a new song
to the Lord, for he has done wonderful deeds...”
We give thanks that our Liberating
God has forgiven us and “...remembered his promise to love and be faithful..” to God’s
committed people. May we all celebrate and “...break out in praise and sing for joy.. !” Amen.

A Personal Meditation
Easter 6B 2015
Psalm 98

Finding a balance in life, in relationships, in employment and leisure, in habits, in
music; balance in learning and applying those lessons; and balance in activities and
rest are all essential for healthy and wholesome living. Finding a balance in the
worship of God is also essential, and countless worship leaders and their committees
have struggled to find a balance between joyful expressions of giving thanks and
praise to God, and learning and experiencing the awesome reverence that are really
essential in the worship of God. So many factors enter into achieving that balance
in the worship of God, including the ages and circumstances of the congregation;
the needs of the people for comfort and/or inspiration; the history, style and length of
worship in that community; the needs of the world and its peoples for justice, freedom,
reconciliation and peace; the yearnings of people to learn more about faith in God;
the necessity of providing a receptive atmosphere that encourages responses; the
expectations of the congregation’s leaders and members – which are often different;
and finally the music, and the type of hymns and songs that are used in God’s worship.

Creative pause: What are the ideal components in the shared worship of God?

“...Some communities exhibit considerable substance in their worship but little joy or
enthusiasm in the praise of God. Others show great enthusiasm but little substance.
This psalm
[98] expresses powerful reasons for praising God – Israel’s historical
memory and God’s coming to bring justice. The psalm weds the emotion and the
intellect, both of which are vital to the praise of God.....The psalms includes both the
memory of God’s mighty acts on behalf of the community and the reminder that these
mighty acts have implications for all creation.... Psalm 98 suggests that the journey
inward and the journey outward are both essential to the full worship of the divine king...”
Jesus’ teaching on this subject finds the right balance: “‘You must love the Lord your
God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest
commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’...

Creative pause: Do Jesus’ teachings apply to shared worship in your congregation?

Whilst the hymn “Joy to the world” is often sung at Christmas time to celebrate the birth
of Jesus Christ the King; according to Isaac Watts’ own writings, that hymn was really
intended as being about Jesus’ triumphant second coming, when “...earth receive its king..”
fully and completely; and when all “...heaven and nature...” sing for joy at Jesus’ triumph;
all of which seems to perfectly balance all that was, is, and is to be in worshipping God.

Creative pause: How often do we try to really understand the words of the hymns we sing?

1 From “Together in Song” #268
“Joy to the world! The Lord is come”
Words by Isaac Watts (alt)
Words are in the Public Domain

2 Matthew 22: 37b-39a (NLT)

3 Text by Professor Walter Brueggemann
& William H Bellinger Junior
from “Psalms” Psalm 98, pages 422/3
© 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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