Creator of our delight, we come to celebrate the gift of worshipping God!
A Call to Worship
Easter 7B 2018
With joy and thankfulness, we come before our God with reverent praise.
Creator of our roots: we come to thank you for the richness of God’s Word.
With praise on our lips and in our hearts, we are in awe of your Holy Word.
Creator of fruits that bear seeds: we come to bless you for guiding us in
life and our decision-making processes; and we thank you for nurturing us.
Within the blessedness of being in fellowship with God and with each other—
we pray that the fruits of your Spirit within us will be an enriched blessing to
all with whom we meet, as we seek to worship, witness and serve our God. Amen.
1 Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.
2 But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night.
3 They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.
4 But not the wicked!
They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind.
5 They will be condemned at the time of judgement.
Sinners will have no place among the godly.
6 For the LORD watches over the path of the godly,
but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.
Prayers of Praise and Thankfulness
Creating God, you who are the Creator of our delight, we come to celebrate the gift
Easter 7B 2018
of worshipping God; and so with joy and thankfulness, we come before our God with
reverent praise. We know great delight in many things, family and friends; company
and solitude; the beauty of creation and the challenges to care for that fragile beauty;
and for the warmth of fellowship with God and within our community of faith. We give
thanks for the messages of the Psalms: those precious gifts to us of life, love, struggle
and pain; and of the faithfulness of God’s steadfast and unfailing love, loyalty, mercy
and grace so eloquently described in the lives of those long ago pilgrims. We rejoice
in the gift God gives to us of choice; and ask for forgiveness for misusing that gift; and
offer our thanks for giving us the wisdom to know that to choose God - is to choose life.
Creating God, you who are the Creator of our roots: those essential gifts that balance
us in life and in our struggles; and through which our souls and bodies are nurtured
and gifted with those things necessary for a healthy mind, body and spirit. We come
together to thank you for the richness of God’s Word that blesses and guides us through
the storms and trials of living; and that guards us when we need help. With praise on our
lips and in our hearts, we are in awe of your Holy Word for its wisdom, encouragement,
warnings; and which tells of the realities of living where temptation lurks, to trip us up.
Creating God, you who are the Creator of our fruits that bear seeds; we come now to
bless you for guiding us in life and our decision-making processes. We give thanks for
the blessedness of being in fellowship with God – for the rich blessing of God’s mercy
and gentle forgiveness; and for being in fellowship with each other; where we receive
support when we require it; and comfort when our needs are great. Our lives and
living have been greatly blessed by our fellow pilgrims, and we ask that they, too, know
the blessedness of God’s presence always with them. We give thanks for the Holy Spirit’s
actions within and around us; and we pray that the fruits of your Spirit gifted to us, will
enrich and enliven all with whom we meet; as we worship, witness and serve our God. Amen.
A Personal Meditation
As we come to the last week of the Easter and Resurrection Season and prepare
Easter 7B 2018
for Pentecost and ‘Ordinary Time’ in the liturgical year, it seems appropriate that
we prepare ourselves for that season, when the liturgical colour is green. ‘Ordinary
Time’ symbolises the new green growth and life offered to us through our worship
in the celebrations of Jesus’ resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost,
that guides us in our Christian life and witness. Psalm 1 describes people as those
who “…delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night…” as being
“…like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never
wither…” They are people whose roots are firmly established in the nourishing Word
of God; and who abide in the presence of God. While the emphasis seems to be on
the roots and leaves of those river-side trees, the seeds in the fruit are the ones that
determine the relevance of that tree. The tree may look beautiful and healthy with its
green leaves; but if its fruit is bitter or tasteless, it will not nourish other people’s lives.
|Creative pause:||How deep are your roots into the rich soil of God’s word?|
The opening Psalm in the Psalter is about the choices that the people of God make to
stay on the path of life that is connected to God in an ongoing relationship; and the
choices made by people who reject God and godly ways of living. The opening verse
of the psalm - depending on the translation - speaks of the “joy” or “happiness” or how
“enviable” are the people who “…do not follow the advice of the wicked…” These people
find their joy, happiness or enviable living, by following God’s way rather than their own.
In that, they are the role models for people struggling to make sense of life and living.
The translated word for the “law” or the Torah actually meant the instructions from the
‘Hebrew Scriptures’ – or Old Testament - that were available to anyone at that time.
|Creative pause:||What sort of Christian role model are you?|
Verse 6 has another great promise for people who chose to be in a relationship with
God: “…For the LORD watches over the path of the godly…” When we are “watched
over” by God there are no surprises, because the “Watcher” knows all there is to know
about us. One of the modern ‘gadgets’ that intrigue me is the electronic device that is
used to monitor a baby’s sleeping and waking patterns; and I believe, also their health
at any given time. I am not suggesting that God critically monitors our behaviour, but
that the same loving concern for us is there with God, as with the baby’s parents. What
do we mean by ‘godly’ living? To me, it suggests the ‘graces’ that symbolise God, that
is, justice and righteousness which have the ‘by-products’ of God’s love and compassion.
According to some scholars, ‘righteousness’ in the psalms means being in a relationship
of trust and faith in God. Whilst those people who choose to follow their own way, may
be gratified in their self-indulgence, but “…the path of the wicked leads to destruction.”
We have had very little rain for several weeks, and in the newspaper, there was photo
of a town being overwhelmed by tumble-weeds – that had no value or worth to anyone—
“…like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind…” Pray that you do not drift into being chaff!
|Creative pause:||Choose today: “…worthless chaff…” or “…bear fruit each season..?”|
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 help and inspiration so frequently available from the writings of Professor Walter Brueggemann and Professorial brothers Rolf and Karl Jacobson; and the resources from "The Text this Week" (Textweek).
If the Prayers and/or Meditation are used in shared worship, please provide this acknowledgement:
© 2018 Joan Stott –‘The Timeless Psalms’ RCL Psalms Year B. Based on verses from Psalm 1.
Used with permission.
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