A Call to Worship
Easter 7C 2013
Psalm 97

We come to worship our God, because our God has come here amongst us.
Together, we celebrate the fulfilment of all God’s past promises and blessings.

We come to worship our God, because God is not limited to any one place.
Together, we celebrate the joy of learning God’s ways of justice and peace.

We come to worship our God, who continues to deliver salvation of God’s people.
Together, we celebrate the bright light and heat of God’s compassion that beams
down on all who love their Lord, and which demonstrates the cold darkness of evil. Amen.

Prayers of Praise and Thankfulness
Easter 7C 2013
Psalm 97

The Lord is King! Let all the earth rejoice – yes - all those places and lands
both far and near - it is a time to celebrate the coming of our King in Glory.
God our King is veiled in mystery and wonder, yet, the power and majesty of
creation is as nothing before our God and King! Our God had promised to
come and be amongst God’s own people, yet despite this promise, many
people suffered deeply because of their faithfulness to the One True God,
whilst still retaining their faith and trust in their loving and merciful God.
As people gathered here this day to worship the Almighty God, we offer our
praises to God, the Holy One, who is seated on the timeless throne of God’s
grace and mercy, that is upheld by the holy powers of justice and righteousness.

The Lord is King! Let all the peoples of the earth offer their praises and thanks
because our Faithful God has fulfilled all of God’s past promises and blessings.
As God’s people here this day, we know how tough life can be, yet the eternal
protection of God is around and upon us because we believe that God’s holy
ways are just and right, and we have tried to live within those rules given by God
to all humanity so long ago, so that together, we can live in peace and harmony.

The Lord is King! Today, we are challenged to momentarily leave behind our
day-to-day life and the ever-present challenges of evil in our world; and to instead,
step into the world of God and Godly powers, where the fierce heat of God’s
Being and love is strong enough to melt mountains. God’s holy powers are
even able to make the earth to tremble in awe before its Great and Holy Creator.
Today, God calls us to rise above our earthly concerns, disappointments and trials,
and to respond in worship to God as we are “... lost in wonder, love and praise.”1
In response to God’s mercy and grace, we gather to honour and revere our God,
with our prayerful worship, and together, we seek God’s daily blessings on us all. Amen

A Personal Meditation
Easter 7C 2013
Psalm 97

The people of God had at last left behind their “exile” experiences - those dark
and dreadful days, months and years of separation from all that was holy and
pure to them, and they had returned to their homeland. Out of the darkness of
their exile, the people of God had their promises fulfilled through their recognition
of God’s presence with them. After all the promises at the conclusion of Psalm 96:
“....Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice! Let the sea and everything
in it shout his praise! Let the fields and their crops burst forth with joy! Let the
trees of the forest rustle with praise before the Lord! For the Lord is coming! He is
coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness and all the
nations with his truth.....’
2; Psalm 97 celebrates God’s arrival and presence with
God’s people in a new way, because they now know that the Lord God IS King,
and the Psalmist urged even the most isolated places of the earth to celebrate.

Creative pause: Do you and I recognise that God IS supremely King of all things?

The Psalmist did not mince his words when he warned his people! “You who love
the Lord, hate evil!
He knew the powers of evil just as you and I do today, because
of all it can do to undermine the effectiveness of God’s goodness and mercy; because
it seeks to negate all that is lovely about God, and God’s holiness. Evil also seeks to
diminish our experiences of God’s glory in nature and in people’s lives, and tries to
introduce doubts and fears about our own worthiness to be God’s child. So, as we
seek to concentrate on God’s mercies, goodness and love to weak humanity, God
also gives us the hope of rising up above the powers of evil, and being transformed
by God’s grace-filled presence, so that we are blessed and drawn ever nearer to God.

Creative pause: Evil comes to us in many guises and at our most vulnerable moments.

God’s protection is a wonderful gift to all humanity, if only people accepted and used
that generous gift! Some people see “protection” as the promise that nothing "bad" will
ever happen to them, however, I believe in the sustaining power of God, because the
light and heat of God’s presence is greater than the cold darkness of evil; and that if
"bad" things do happen to us, then God is there to help bear our pain and burden for us.
What does it mean to be “...happy in the Lord..” The other working translations of the
Psalms that I use chose different words. The NRSV: “...Rejoice in the Lord, O you
righteous, and give thanks to his holy name!..”
3 The NIV: “...Rejoice in the Lord, you
who are righteous, and praise his holy name...”
4 and from The Message: “...So,
God’s people, shout praise to God, give thanks to our Holy God!...”
5 Our confident
acceptance of God’s empowering presence in our life calls forth from us songs of
rejoicing, and even an offering of spontaneous shouts of praise to our God! We can
rely on the facts that God “...protects the lives of his godly people and rescues them
from the power of the wicked. Light shines on the godly, and joy on those who do right.”

Creative pause: God’s protection is a wonderful gift to you and me.

1 The concluding words of Charles Wesley’s hymn “Love divine all loves excelling...” whose words are in the Public Domain.
2 Psalm 96: 11-13
3, 4, 5 Psalm 97:12 from various translations
3 ‘The New Revised Standard Version’ ‘New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989,
Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.’
4 ‘New International Version’ copyright © 1979 reissued in 1973 & 1978 Published by New York International Bible Society. All rights reserved.
5 ‘The Message’ As published by NavPress in English: The Bible in Contemporary Language
© 2002 by Eugene Peterson. USA Copyright. All rights reserved.

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.

*The additional weekly numbering is from the Revised COCU Indexing Scheme
COCU = ('Consultation on Church Union'); as it offers an easy sequential numbering for the Revised
Common Lectionary for the Church Calendar.

If any part of these Prayers and/or Meditations is used in shared worship, please provide
the following acknowledgement:
© 2013 Joan Stott – ‘The Timeless Psalms’ RCL Psalms Year C. Used with permission.


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