A Call to Worship
After Epiphany 3A [Ordinary 3A] 2017
Psalm 27: 1, 4-9

Enlightening God, we come together in worship of you, and to ask that
your Light will shine upon the darkness of our fears and give us strength.
“The LORD is my light and my salvation—so why should I be afraid...?”

Trustworthy God, we come together in praise of you, because you are
always to be trusted; and that you understand our doubts and anxieties.
“... The LORD is my fortress, protecting me, so why should I tremble?”

Faithful God, we come together in reverent awe of you, because your
faithfulness and holiness is unchanging; therefore, we all worship you.
“...I am confident I will see the LORD’s goodness while I am here in the
land of the living. Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous…”

Psalm 27:1, 4-9

1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?

4 The one thing I ask of the Lord—the thing I seek most—
is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple.

5 For he will conceal me there when troubles come;
he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock.
6 Then I will hold my head high above my enemies who surround me.
At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy,
singing and praising the Lord with music.

7 Hear me as I pray, O Lord. Be merciful and answer me!
8 My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”
9 Do not turn your back on me. Do not reject your servant in anger.
You have always been my helper. Don’t leave me now;
don’t abandon me, O God of my salvation!

Prayers of Trust and Thankfulness
After Epiphany 3A [Ordinary 3A] 2017
Psalm 27: 1, 4-9

Enlightening God, today we gather to celebrate and give thanks for the light that
you shine into the darkness of our inner selves; that darkness that hides in the
cracks and crevasses of our hearts and minds, which make us vulnerable to our
secret fears and doubts. Come, Light of the world into our lives and living, so that
we may shine with the radiance of being a beloved child of God, and confident in
our trust in God, that also lives deep within us, simply waiting to be recognised.

Trustworthy God, today we gather to celebrate and give thanks for the trust in you
that you have gifted to us all, that trust that is simply waiting to be recognised and
acted upon. We give thanks that you know each of us so intimately, that we do not
have to explain to you all that troubles us; all that stirs up our fears and doubts;
and all of our vulnerabilities. We give thanks that you have also gifted us with the
priceless blessing of hope; so that when life becomes a struggle, we can continue
on our way with a trusting hope in the God who loves and understands all that we are.

Faithful God, today we gather to celebrate and give thanks for the faithfulness that is
at the Quiet Centre of our God, who longs and yearns to show us how effective that
faithfulness really is. We come together in reverent awe of you, because your holiness
is another aspect of your unchanging faithfulness; therefore, we all come worship you—
and with the psalmist we say together: “...I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness
while I am here in the land of the living…”
We ask for the gift of patience as we wait
for the Lord to hear and answer all our prayers; and we resonate with the psalmists
prayer for courage, as we wait in trusting hope on God’s faithfulness to again bless us. Amen.

A Personal Meditation
After Epiphany 3A [Ordinary 3A] 2017
Psalm 27: 1, 4-9

Psalm 27 commences with David’s faith statement: “The Lord is my light and
my salvation—so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting
me from danger, so why should I tremble?...”
In the verses not included in today’s
selection, David lists his potential and very real enemies who vigorously tried
to kill or capture him. He realistically stated: “...When evil people come to devour
me, when my enemies and foes attack me... Though a mighty army surrounds
me....Even if I am attacked...my enemies are waiting for me....they accuse me
of things I’ve never done; with every breath they threaten me with violence...”

David’s situation was indeed frightening, and many of us have never had any
similar experiences; and yet I believe the things that are truly frightening to many
people are the potential loss of things they have been good at or even excelled
at doing. For example, how fearful it must be for people with leadership skills to
feel helpless; how frightening for people fluent in speech to become speechless;
how bewildering for people with long memories to not be able to remember who
they are as a person, or who it is that they have loved, married or given birth to.

Creative pause: What are the things of which you are afraid?

Despite David’s precarious situation, when balanced against his trust in God’s
faithfulness to him; and God’s merciful care of him, what can we learn from the
various scenarios listed above? Is God’s faithful care and compassion any less
because the things we are fearful about are not as physically, emotionally or
spiritually damaging as was David’s situation? Sometime adrenalin enables
us to deal with emergency situations, supported by our faith in God; but those
examples of less dangerous yet devastating situations can be more draining
and destructive to us as a whole, than any physical danger or threat! The liberating
aspects of our faith, hope and trust in God’s guidance are the defining elements
that make our life bearable, and they enable us to with deal those challenges.

Creative pause: God’s guidance liberates our faith, hope and trust.

Professor Walter Brueggemann writes thus in his book “Psalms”: “Verses 1-3
establish the basis of the psalm in terms of trust. The first verse consists of
parallel affirmations followed by rhetorical questions. The verse puts before
readers two alternatives to life – fear or faith. Fear, and not doubt, is cast as the
alternative to faith. The two faith affirmations suggest why the poet chose faith.
YHWH is light that dispels darkness and the one who brings wholeness (salvation)
to life. The second image of the divine is “stronghold”, refuge, or defence. In spite
of life-threatening opponents... trust is the order of the day... God is worthy of
1 Being in God’s Holy Presence in our sacred place of worship restores
our faith and trust in God and renews us to face the challenges in life’s journey.
Our life and living becomes balanced as we worship, witness and serve God in
our daily life, because we believe that: “The Lord is my light and my salvation—
so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress...so why should I tremble..?”

Creative pause: God is worthy of our trust!

1 Text by Professor Walter Brueggemann
& William H Bellinger Junior from “Psalms”
Psalm 27, page 139
© 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 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.


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