A Call to Worship
After Epiphany 1A [Ordinary 1A] Jesus' Baptism 2017
Psalm 29

We come, God of our childhood, to worship you - as we then believed in you.
We come, to give thanks to God for the gift of a simple, trusting faith in God.

We come, God of our youthful enthusiasm, to worship you – whole-heartedly.
We come, to praise our God for the blessings of mentors and encouragers.

We come, God of our maturity, to worship you – as we have grown through the
struggles and experiences of faithfully trusting in you, so we offer you our thanks.
We come, to worship and praise our Faithful God who has journeyed with us on
our life’s faith journey; and who has blessed and guided us through all our life. Amen.

Psalm 29
A psalm of David.

1 Honour the Lord, you heavenly beings;
honour the Lord for his glory and strength.
2 Honour the Lord for the glory of his name.
Worship the Lord in the splendour of his holiness.

3 The voice of the Lord echoes above the sea.
The God of glory thunders. The Lord thunders over the mighty sea.
4 The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic.
5 The voice of the Lord splits the mighty cedars;
the Lord shatters the cedars of Lebanon.

6 He makes Lebanon’s mountains skip like a calf;
he makes Mount Hermon leap like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the Lord strikes with bolts of lightning.
8 The voice of the Lord makes the barren wilderness quake;
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the Lord twists mighty oaks and strips the forests bare.

In his Temple everyone shouts, “Glory!”
10 The Lord rules over the floodwaters.
The Lord reigns as king forever.
11 The Lord gives his people strength.
The Lord blesses them with peace.

Prayers of Thankfulness and Praise
After Epiphany 1A [Ordinary 1A] Jesus' Baptism 2017
Psalm 29

God of mystery and revelation, we come to worship you this day; to praise your
Holy Name; and together, to learn more about the wonders of our God. We give
thanks for the matriarchs and patriarchs in times past, to whom God revealed
more and more about God’s-Own-Self. We give thanks for the wonderful insights
God gave to Moses when first God called him in the burning bush; and when God
revealed to Moses God’s Holy Name. Then later on the holy mountain, where:
“... “The Lord passed in front of Moses, calling out, “Yahweh! The Lord! The God
of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and
faithfulness. I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity,
rebellion, and sin...”
1 We give thanks for the privileges we receive through the
wisdom of translators and scholars, whose insights help us to know more about
our Liberating God, and to live and grow in faith and trust in our Generous God.

We give thanks that the holy presence of God was hidden in a dark cloud before
your people; but that we can also learn of God’s holy presence every day and night
when we see the wonders of God’s creative powers in nature, and in special people.
We give thanks for the people who have led and guided us on our faith journey;
who have blessed us and prayed for us; and who have long influenced our lives.
All praise to you, God our Creator and God who is hidden from us; because God
is too awesome to be clearly revealed to our finite and sin-filled hearts and minds.

God of light and God of life, we give thanks that you have revealed God’s-Own-Self
to us in the person of Jesus, who at his baptism God named him “beloved” and who
said that Jesus brought God great joy. We give thanks for the joy that Jesus brings
to our lives; as well as the many challenges we have faced on our faith journey. We
give thanks and praise our God for the way our own faith has developed in childhood—
when we believed so simply and easily that God loved us; we give thanks for our
youthful and idealistic years of commitment; and for the maturity of faith that comes
with life’s experiences. All praise and thanks to God who has revealed God’s-Own-
Self to us in so many ways and in so many circumstances; and especially in those
times of struggle and uncertainty. We come together today to share in worship, praise
and fellowship with our Faithful God, who has blessed and guided us through all of life. Amen.

A Personal Meditation
After Epiphany 1A [Ordinary 1A] Jesus' Baptism 2017
Psalm 29

I always find it fascinating the way a previously held beliefs can be upended
by new experiences or circumstances! I grew up in a small town, with a “small
town mentality” and within a church community with little tolerance for the Roman
Catholic faith, even though there was a Convent in our town. All that changed
when new neighbours came to live next door to us, who were devout Roman
Catholics! Our family discovered that they worshipped the same God as we did,
only in slightly different ways. What an eye-opening experience that was! Our
town was also racially insular until post-war WWII immigration occurred within
our town, and new horizons were again discovered; and new understandings of
community life were challenged and were invigorated. This journey of discovery
about old ideas and prejudices continued unabated when I started to travel the
world! New concepts of relevant worship and relationships soon developed!

Creative pause: Is your mind and heart open to new beliefs and worship patterns?

I have recently purchased another of Brueggemann’s books, “From whom no
secrets are hidden”
using the words of that well known prayer, and in his new
commentary on this psalm, he discussed the role of the ancient god Baal, as
the god of agriculture and rain. The people of Israel rescripted some ancient
songs from their earlier understandings of the world’s creation, as they each
gradually discovered that YHWH/Yahweh/Jehovah was far greater and above
and beyond all their previous belief patterns. What had previously been a song
to many gods, became a hymn celebrating God, the one and only Holy One.
Brueggemann writes: “...in verses 3-9a ...Yahweh’s name is sounded seven times
and the term ‘voice’ (a term connoting commanding power) is used seven times
as well. The two uses together witness to the total dominance of Yahweh....It is
Yahweh, not Baal, who is portrayed as the one who governs and sustains creation,
who waters the earth causing its flourishing, and who limits the wild waters that
might otherwise be destabilised and destroy....Next we are astonished to learn that
God’s throne is now situated atop ‘the flood’ (vs 10) This phrase refers to the
chaotic waters that surround and endlessly threaten the stability and ordering of
the earth. But not now! Now the flood waters have been tamed in acknowledgement
of the rule of YHWH. They become ordered, docile, and obedient in recognition
of the reality of God who assumes kingship.... Psalm 29 exhibits the way in which
Israel’s liturgical imagination can utilise the old Canaanite lyric for its own...”

Creative pause: God’s ‘voice’ is filled with commanding power.

Elizabeth Smith’s challenging hymn points us in the right direction when faced with
the death of our old ideas and beliefs: “God gives us a future, / daring us to go /
into dreams and dangers, / on a path unknown... We must leave behind us / sins
of yesterday, / for God’s new beginning / is a better way. / Fear and doubt and habit /
must not hold us back: / God gives hope, and insight / and the strength we lack...”
Within the World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women, there are
emphases chosen as “fruits” on the tree of life (Revelation 22: 2) as expressions of
outreach, and I chose ‘women’s literacy’ as my emphasis. As I visited many institutions
of learning and also of corrections, new understandings developed within me about
the challenges faced by under-privileged people and their educational options – if any!

Creative pause: “...Fear and doubt and habit / must not hold us back…”2

1 Exodus 34: 6-7a (NLT)

2 Text by Professor Walter Brueggemann
from “From whom no secrets are hidden”
Chapter 3, pages 38-39
© 2014 Westminster/John Knox Press
Louisville Kentucky USA

3 From “Together in Song” #687
“God gives us a future”
© Words by E J Smith
Used with personal permission

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:
© 2017 Joan Stott – ‘The Timeless Psalms’ RCL Psalms Year A. Used with permission.


Download/view a pdf file of this document here: epiphany1[1]a_2017.pdf