A Call to Worship
Epiphany 5B [Ordinary 5B] 2015
Psalm 147: 1-11, 20c

We gather as God’s people to sing our glad praises to the Lord our God!
“People of God sing out your praise, sing, sing of the glory of our God…”1

We gather as God’s people to worship and delight in God’s holy splendour!
“In you, oh God we place our trust. Your loving kindness you lavish on us…”1

We gather as God’s people, rejoicing in God’s gift of our glorious freedom—
and for the healing given to all who hope and trust in God’s unfailing love.
“We celebrate your life in us, O God... made whole in the love of our God....
Let the trumpets sound, let the music play, let the song of God’s people be
heard. And let the praise of God resound throughout heaven and earth….
1 Amen.

Psalm 147: 1-11, 20c

1 Praise the Lord! How good to sing praises to our God!
How delightful and how fitting!
2 The Lord is rebuilding Jerusalem and bringing the exiles back to Israel.
3 He heals the broken hearted and bandages their wounds.

4 He counts the stars and calls them all by name.
5 How great is our Lord! His power is absolute!
His understanding is beyond comprehension!
6 The Lord supports the humble, but he brings the wicked down into the dust.
7 Sing out your thanks to the Lord; sing praises to our God with a harp.

8 He covers the heavens with clouds, provides rain for the earth,
and makes the grass grow in mountain pastures.
9 He gives food to the wild animals and feeds the young ravens when they cry.
10 He takes no pleasure in the strength of a horse or in human might.
11 No, the Lord’s delight is in those who fear him,
those who put their hope in his unfailing love.

20 Praise the Lord!

Prayers of Praise
Epiphany 5B [Ordinary 5B] 2015
Psalm 147: 1-11, 20c

We gather as God’s people to sing our glad praises to the Lord our God,
in response to God’s calling us together in worship! Our songs of praise
are a natural and heartfelt response to God’s gracious gifts to all humanity,
especially to people who know the pain of heartache and sorrow; the pain
of separation from loved ones; and for people who carry physical, mental
and spiritual wounds. We come in humility seeking God’s blessings and help
in the gracious healing by God of our wounds - even if the scars will remain!
God’s understanding of our humanity is very precious to us, because we
know we can pour out our needs and requests, confident in the gracious
mercy and steadfast love of our God towards us. Praise be to the Lord God!

We gather as God’s people to worship and delight in God’s holy splendour—
as we see these expressions of God’s holy splendour every day and night.
These examples of God’s holiness can be explored through our prayers, in
our times of quiet meditation or silent reflection; and even then, we are only
starting to unravel the unique mystery and wonder of our God’s creative Spirit,
active every minute within this our world and universe! In times of drought
we marvel at steady and refreshing rain; in times of lush growth, we celebrate
God’s generosity; and in times of hardship and despair, we can give thanks
for God’s care of all creation. We give our most sincere praise to God for the
pleasure God takes in our reverent worship and awe-inspired prayers of thanks—
and we rejoice in the closeness of this bond between our Creator God and us!

We gather as God’s people to celebrate the great and awesome gift of being
free to praise our God and to worship God in the beauty of holiness. We know
and respect the people for whom this is not a reality, and for whom prayers
and worship must be done in secret. Yet it is fitting and right, that even our
most reverent and secret prayers are warmly welcomed in the heart of God,
who finds “...delight in those who fear him, those who put their hope in his
unfailing love…”
Praise, glory and honour are given to you, Great God of love! Amen.

A Personal Meditation
Epiphany 5B [Ordinary 5B] 2015
Psalm 147: 1-11, 20c

Psalm 147 commences these words in the translation I usually use for these
prayers and meditations: “Praise the Lord! How good to sing praises to our
God! How delightful and how fitting...!”
Depending on one’s cultural use of
words, the variations in translations can make what is the “normal” use of
words into something sickly sweet or a gross exaggeration of meaning! Other
translations replace “delightful” with: pleasing, gracious, sweet, pleasant and
beautiful! The words used to replace “fitting” are right and comely! I believe
that “gracious” is the best of those words; and “appropriate” and “relevant” are
better than “comely”! In today’s usage, “comely” often means a very attractive
woman! How often I regret my lack of knowledge of original Biblical languages!

Creative pause: How “delightful” and “fitting” it is to praise the Lord!

Language and its uses can confuse and even mystify people – and especially
when it is “churchy” language! Even people who regularly attend church have
problems with words that are regularly used in prayers and sermons! The word
I am most asked to explain is “grace”; but words and titles often mean very
little to some people. “Theology”, “Redeemer” and “salvation” are regular words
that require basic explanations! God’s “grace” has several meanings according
to one’s denomination, but the most basic definition is the “Undeserved favour
of God towards humanity.”
Psalm 147 offers several examples of God’s grace,
and God’s gracious actions: God welcomed back home to Jerusalem the exiled
people of Israel; God heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds; God’s
understanding of our needs is amazing; and shows the contrast between armed
power and the gentle compassion of God; and how God delights in our awe of
God’s power and majesty, and treasures our trust in God’s steadfast love for us.

Creative pause: The contrast between armed power and the gentle compassion of God!

“Power” is an interesting word with many associated meanings, depending on
the context in which it is used. “Power” explains the ability, capacity, authority
and right to control events or influence people in a combination of various factors—
including the power to sway or pressure people mentally, physically, emotionally,
emotionally, spiritually, morally or socially. It also has a shared influence where
massed people are requested or forced to respond to a show of “power”. When
the psalmist wrote: “....How great is our Lord! His power is absolute...!” did that
only refer to God’s creative powers in nature? We often ask God to intervene in
world events to bring about peace; we ask for healing to someone we love; or
we ask for God’s guidance/blessing in our decision making – the list of requests
for God’s intervention in the affairs of people are endless! How far does our trust
in God’s powers go? Maybe the answer to these questions is that God’s own powers
are great and absolute - including that God “...brings the wicked down into the dust...”

Creative pause: Do we accept God’s powers for what they are?

1 From “A Special Collection” CD track 8
“Song of God’s people”
Words and music by Sister Monica Brown
© 2000 Monica Brown & Emmaus Productions
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 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:
© 2015 Joan Stott – ‘The Timeless Psalms’ RCL Psalms Year B. Used with permission.


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