We gather to give thanks for God’s great goodness and many blessings.
A Call to Worship
Easter 6C 2016
We give thanks for the warmth of God’s loving goodness towards creation.
We gather to celebrate God’s great mercy towards all peoples and nations.
We celebrate the generosity of God’s mercy towards vulnerable humanity.
We gather, with all God’s people throughout the world to, sing and praise
our liberating God, whose favour shines upon us brighter than the sun’s light.
We gather to sing, pray and praise God’s lavish, life-giving and life-enriching
blessings upon us; and for the orderly purposes we encounter in God’s creation. Amen.
For the choir director: A song.
A psalm, to be accompanied by stringed instruments.
1 May God be merciful and bless us.
May his face smile with favour on us.
2 May your ways be known throughout the earth,
your saving power among people everywhere.
3 May the nations praise you, O God.
Yes, may all the nations praise you.
4 Let the whole world sing for joy,
because you govern the nations with justice
and guide the people of the whole world.
5 May the nations praise you, O God.
Yes, may all the nations praise you.
6 Then the earth will yield its harvests,
and God, our God, will richly bless us.
7 Yes, God will bless us,
and people all over the world will fear him.
Prayers of Praise and Thankfulness
We gather to praise and give thanks for God’s great goodness and the blessings
Easter 6C 2016
we receive from God during every hour of every day; and for the experiences we
have had throughout our whole life, when God has showered us and all creation
with so many wonderful blessings. We praise God for the reliability and orderliness
of God’s wonderful creation; and for that vast supply of God’s goodness that we have
known about and celebrated because of the history of generations of God’s people
since time has been known and recorded. Just as the psalmist prayed, so we pray:
“May God be merciful and bless us. May his face smile with favour on us...” and may
the warmth of God’s loving goodness be seen, known and recognised by all creation.
We gather to celebrate the vastness of God’s great mercy towards all peoples and
nations, and give thanks that it cannot be retained by one race of people or by any
one nation; but that God’s gracious mercy overflows all humanly constructed borders
and boundaries; and spreads its warmth over all who will receive it and give thanks
for its blessings. Today, we pray that God’s ways and actions may be understood and
known amongst the peoples of all nations, languages and cultures; and that no matter
what has been their personal experiences of God, that they all may know the power of
God’s loving liberation from all that oppresses or restricts people’s relationship with God.
We gather, with all God’s people throughout the world to sing, pray and praise our
liberating God, whose loving favour and tender mercies shines upon all humanity
with a warmth and brightness that is far greater than the sun’s light and radiance—
and which brings to fullness of life, all that has been hidden by the darkness of evil.
The lavishness of God’s care of and concern for all peoples are blessings that are
life-giving and life-enriching; and history teaches us that no matter how people have
tried to claim those blessings as solely for their own benefit; that God’s goodness is
greater than any restrictions we try to place on them; as God wills that these blessings
are for all of creation in the past, at the present time, or into the unimaginable future. Amen.
A Personal Meditation
As the people of Israel sang this psalm, are they knowingly calling on God to
Easter 6C 2016
bless each of them gathered there in worship; and are they asking that the
shining light of God’s face will smile on every one of them in blessing? Following
this very insular concept, the call changes to a universal and all-inclusive concept
of God’s world-wide blessing. Through many of the psalms the theme of God’s
special relationship with Israel dominates, and the many covenant promises that
God made to Israel; but many of the people of Israel clung to the first part of God’s
promises and apparently forgot their second responsibility – to lead the world back
to God. Psalm 67 was part of their regular reminders about their God-given role.
|Creative pause:||Do you always expect to be blessed when you worship God?|
How often it is with the psalms that the theme of a psalm is introduced in the first
couple of lines and a summing up is done in the last verse! In Psalm 67, the
theme is introduced: “May God be merciful and bless us. May his face smile
with favour on us...”; and the last verse: “...Yes, God will bless us, and people all
over the world will fear him.” Unlike the well-known Aaron’s priestly blessing in
Numbers 6: 24-26 where Israel is promised God’s blessing; in Psalm 67 there is
a promise and an affirmation of the universality of God’s blessing, God’s justice,
God’s liberating powers, and especially of God’s mercy to “... people all over the
world...” who will “...sing for joy, because you govern the nations with justice and
guide the people of the whole world...”; and “...May the nations praise you, O God...”
|Creative pause:||How blessed we are by God’s smile of grace and mercy.|
In verse 2 of Psalm 67 my usual translation reads: “...May your ways be known
throughout the earth, your saving power among people everywhere...” Language
and its changes in meaning are a constant challenge, as one tries to understand
what is really being said; and in ‘religious’ terminology they seem more complex.
Words such as “God’s salvation” that was used more often in older translations,
and that has changed in newer translations to “God’s saving power”. People not
used to ‘religious’ language often say that those words mean nothing to them;
however, if one speaks about ‘liberation’ in relation to the current international
scene, that has much more meaning and relevance. God’s deliverance or liberation
was a cause for great celebration and joy; as that psalmist encouraged the nations
to: “...Let the whole world sing for joy, because you govern the nations with justice
and guide the people of the whole world...” God’s deliverance or liberation is still
a real reason to celebrate, and also for us to pray that God’s justice and guidance
will be recognised and lived out each day by today’s people of God in their own space.
|Creative pause:||Is your own daily living an example of God’s justice and guidance?|
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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