God of all creation: we come now to worship you in your sacred presence.
A Call to Worship
After Epiphany 3C [Ordinary 3C] 2016
In reverent awe, we gather as your people, overwhelmed by your majesty.
God of all revelation: we come to join with your people in our quiet worship.
In inspired silence, we gather as your people, speechless before your glory.
“In the silence and the stillness my heart waits for you. For you alone, God
of all loving, my heart waits.”1 In the silence of eternity, we bow before you.
Despite all of creation’s wonders, and despite the miracles of God’s grace
in teaching us about the awesome holiness of God: we can still find no words
to adequately revere, praise and worship the God who continues to create us. Amen.
For the choir director: A psalm of David.
1 The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The skies display his craftsmanship.
2 Day after day they continue to speak;
night after night they make him known.
3 They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard
4 Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
and their words to all the world.
God has made a home in the heavens for the sun.
5 It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding.
It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race.
6 The sun rises at one end of the heavens and follows its course to the other end.
Nothing can hide from its heat.
7 The instructions of the LORD are perfect, reviving the soul.
The decrees of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
8 The commandments of the LORD are right, bringing joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are clear, giving insight for living.
9 Reverence for the LORD is pure, lasting forever.
The laws of the LORD are true; each one is fair.
10 They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold.
They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb.
11 They are a warning to your servant, a great reward for those who obey them.
12 How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart?
Cleanse me from these hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant from deliberate sins!
Don’t let them control me.
Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin.
14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
Prayers of Thankfulness and Praise
In reverent awe, God of all creation: we come now to worship you in your
After Epiphany 3C [Ordinary 3C] 2016
sacred presence, as we gather as your people, absolutely overwhelmed
by your majesty and the glory of who and what is our Creating God! The
sounds of the world are all around us, often filled with the senseless jumble
and jargon of messages that have no real meaning to anyone. Yet now, we
come in the stillness and silence of eternity to offer our praises to the God
who knows all our needs; and who hears our wordless prayers and praises.
In inspired silence, we gather as your people, speechless before your glory—
and yet like the hymn writer, we long for “a thousand tongues to sing my great
Redeemer’s praise, the glories of our God and King, the triumphs of his grace!2
God of all revelation: we come to join with your people with our quiet worship—
and to offer our own praises and thanks in the silence of awed worship; and for
the overwhelming privilege of being able to worship the Creating God of all life.
“In the silence and the stillness my heart waits for you. For you alone, God of
all loving, my heart waits.”1 We also wait in the silence with our minds alert to
the God of all loving; with all that makes us who we are as people; and in our
strengths and weaknesses - in the silence of eternity, we bow before you. In
spite all of creation’s wonders and blessings, and despite the miracles of God’s
grace in teaching us individually and collectively about the awesome holiness of
God: we can find no words to adequately revere, praise and worship the Holy One.
Nevertheless, God of knowledge and being – we offer you our prayers and praises. Amen.
A Personal Meditation
In this psalm there are many verbs – action words – such as proclaim; display;
After Epiphany 3C [Ordinary 3C] 2016
instructions; speak; bursts forth; decrees; commands – all to do with sharing
a message from one person to another; or from one thing to another. Yet, there
is utter silence associated with those messages! God’s instructions and decrees
were not read aloud, they were known and lived; and were for personal reflection
and acceptance as being vital to life and living. It is only at the end of the psalm
that the author prays that the sounds that he makes with his mouth are acceptable
and pleasing to God, whom the psalmist likened to a large, silent and saving rock!
|Creative pause:||“May the words of my mouth…be pleasing to you, O LORD..”|
Whenever I think about the voiceless messages of Psalm 19 set for this season
of Epiphany and about spiritual revelations, my mind automatically goes to that
evangelical Charles Wesley hymn: “O for a thousand tongues to sing my great
Redeemer’s praise, the glories of our God and King, the triumphs of his grace...!2
For me, the connection is the contrast between the voiceless message that creation
sends across space and time in praise of God, whilst Wesley wanted at least one
thousand tongues to try to adequately praise God! Literature suggests that Wesley’s
mentor Peter Böhler once said: “Had I a thousand tongues, I would praise him with
them all!” and Wesley remembered and reused his words. Wesley’s original hymn
words had 17 verses, which seemed to focus mainly on those confessional words in
Psalm 19: “Cleanse me from these hidden faults. Keep your servant from deliberate
sins! Don’t let them control me” - so perhaps there is some connection there after all!
|Creative pause:||“Had I a thousand tongues, I would praise him with them all!”|
The sequence of the verses of that hymn vary according to the publishers of hymn
books, but the Psalm 19 theme continues with these words which were originally the
second verse: “My gracious Master and my God, assist me to proclaim, to spread
through all the earth abroad the honours of your name.”2 These words echo the closing
words of the psalm: “...May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer…” Wesley’s prayer: “…assist
me to proclaim…”2 shows how inadequate Wesley felt in proclaiming God’s praises.
|Creative pause:||How do you best proclaim God’s praises and messages?|
1 From “Quiet my soul” CD
Words and music by Sister Monica Brown
© 2003 Monica Brown & Emmaus Productions
Used with personal permission
2 From “Together in Song” #210
“O for a thousand tongues to sing”
Words by Charles Wesley 1707-88 (alt)
Words in the Public Domain
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 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.
Download/view a pdf file of this document here: epiphany3c_2016.pdf