A Call to Worship
Epiphany 7A [Ordinary 7A] or [Proper 2A] 2014
Psalm 119: 33-40

Welcoming God, we gather to worship our God, who accepts our vulnerability.
Reassuring God, we come in all our fragility to be with God in prayer and praise.

Forgiving God, we gather to honour God, whose generosity is utterly irresistible!
Comforting God, we come to offer our sincere thankfulness for God’s pardon.

Reconciling God, we gather to revere our God, who heals our deep brokenness.
Restoring God, we come to honour the God, who offers refreshment and renewal,
and who yearns to welcome us into the open arms of God’s grace and mercy. Amen.

Psalm 119: 33-40

33 Teach me, O LORD, to follow every one of your principles.
34 Give me understanding and I will obey your law; I will put it into practice with all my heart.
35 Make me walk along the path of your commands, for that is where my happiness is found.
36 Give me an eagerness for your decrees; do not inflict me with love for money!
37 Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word.
38 Reassure me of your promise, which is for those who honour you.
39 Help me abandon my shameful ways; your laws are all I want in life.
40 I long to obey your commandments! Renew my life with your goodness.

Prayers of Confession and Petition
Epiphany 7A [Ordinary 7A] or [Proper 2A] 2014
Psalm 119: 33-40

Listening God, we come to worship you with a deep sense
of inadequacy and failure! However committed we are to you
and your “way of life”, we still fail miserably in our attempts to
lead a life that is faithful and true to you! Yet we do not give up,
because you are our only hope in our journey home to you.
Give us all, we pray, an understanding that enables us to obey
your words of truth; and we will practice them with all our heart.
“Dear Lord and Father of mankind, forgive our foolish ways;
re-clothe us in our rightful mind: in purer lives thy service find,
in deeper reverence, praise; in deeper reverence, praise…”

Nurturing God, we come to worship you, weighed down by
our anxious thoughts and imaginings. Help us to redefine our
priorities and guide us in the choices we make in our actions,
and in the company we keep - not that we discriminate against
people - but may we discern unhealthy influences in our living,
and then choose to abandon them for higher and better choices.
Turn our eyes away from worthless things, and give us, we pray,
a contented life, based on your words of peace, truth and grace.
“Breathe through the heats of our desire thy coolness and thy balm;
let sense be dumb, let flesh retire; speak through the earthquake,
wind, and fire, O still small voice of calm, O still small voice of calm."

Forgiving God, we come to worship you because we can trust
in your promises, given to those who seek to worship and follow
the Lord their God. We claim that privilege as a follower of your
“way of life”. O God, reassure us again about all of your promises—
as doubts and fears have the power to undermine our confidence.
God’s words of truth, justice, peace, grace and mercy are all we
really need in this life, and so we seek your transforming goodness.
“Drop thy still dews of quietness, till all our strivings cease;
take from our souls the strain and stress, and let our ordered
lives confess the beauty of thy peace, the beauty of thy peace.”
1 Amen.

A Personal Meditation
Epiphany 7A [Ordinary 7A] or [Proper 2A] 2014
Psalm 119: 33-40

“God of all power, and truth, and grace, which shall from age to age endure,
whose word, when heaven and earth shall pass, remains and stands for ever
2 Whilst Psalm 119 is a celebration of the word and will of God for
community living, and for a holistic approach to the worship of God. Crucially,
the central fact is that this Psalm is about God, and not about our own life
and living; or even about our responses to the Law as it was given to Moses.
That Law simply offers an open door to Godly living through obedience and
commitment to God; and to the worship of God that is reverent, faithful and
meaningful to the worshipper. Living under the various teachings included in
Psalm 119 provides for us a beginning to our faith journey to be at home with
God; and with life’s many sub-plots, we all need this type of guidance if we
are truly following God’s “way of life”. Faithfulness and obedience are not the
end result of all life for us, but rather, a beginning to a life of contentment and
challenge, as we seek to become, with God’s help, who we were created to be.

Creative pause: Faithfulness and obedience are not the end but the beginning.

The author of Psalm 119 gives the impression in these selected verses that
he is really struggling with life, as he begs God for a clearer understanding of
being a follower of God’s way. The Psalmist asked God for certain things to
help him be more faithful, and he obviously expected God to respond. He was
not bargaining with God - he was simply relying on God’s mercy to help him in
his struggles; and also, asking God to remain true to God’s own nature. In the
New Living Translation’s version, the Psalmists asked God to “make him” walk
the right path, whereas other translations use words such as “lead/guide/direct
- a much gentler appeal to the Lord. He also asks to be reassured and
helped; and renewed in his quest to follow in God’s “way of life”. God’s gifts
to him encouraged him to believe all his requests were granted; and that in the
end, God continued to be “God”, as was demonstrated to him in many ways.

Creative pause: Do we expect God to be “God” – or our own private magician?

Some scholars suggest that Psalm 119 was a form of their “a, b, c” for their
spiritual education about God, as it was lived alongside life’s daily practicalities.
The Psalmist was quite open about the yearnings of people for a rich spiritual
life with God; and also for the very human longings for more “frivolous” or “trivial”
things that build up one’s ego. However, he had no illusions about the humanity
of his people either, and their “need” for those things of the “world”, hence the
author’s prayer as he pondered his life’s realties as compared to Godly matters:
“.....Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word...
Help me abandon my shameful ways. I long to obey your commandments...!”

Creative pause: “...Turn my eyes from worthless things....”

1 “Dear Lord and Father of mankind”
From “The Australian Hymn Book” # 519
Words by John Greenleaf Whittier 1807-1892
Words are in the Public Domain

2 “God of all power, and truth, and grace”
From “The Australian Hymn Book” # 477
Words by Charles Wesley 1707-1788
Words are in the Public Domain

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.

*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:
© 2014 Joan Stott – ‘The Timeless Psalms’ RCL Psalms Year A. Used with permission.


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