A Call to Worship
After Epiphany 7A [Ordinary 7A] or [Proper 2A] 2017
Psalm 119: 33-40

Like the psalmist we plead with God: “...Teach me…renew my life …”
Listening God, through your mercy and grace you hear our prayers.

Like the psalmist we plead with God: “Turn my eyes…reassure me …;”
Responding God, through your compassion, you guide and bless us.

Like the psalmist we plead with God: “...give me understanding...” and
in response we promise: “...I will put them into practice with all my heart...”
Empowering God, through your glorious power and holiness, you give
to us the strength to learn from your decrees, and respond in obedience. Amen.

Psalm 119: 33-40

33 Teach me your decrees, O LORD;
I will keep them to the end.
34 Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions;
I will put them 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 laws
rather than a love for money!

37 Turn my eyes from worthless things,
and give me life through your word.
38 Reassure me of your promise,
made to those who fear you.
39 Help me abandon my shameful ways;
for your regulations are good.
40 I long to obey your commandments!
Renew my life with your goodness.

Prayers of Petition and Praise
After Epiphany 7A [Ordinary 7A] or [Proper 2A] 2017
Psalm 119: 33-40

Listening God, like many people before us, we plead with God to “...Teach me …
renew my life …”
, because we know we have failed to love and serve God as we
have promised and expected. So often, we feel overwhelmed by life’s challenges
that are placed before us; when we are distracted by so many things that bewilder
and confuse us; so that often we question our values and the priorities we once
considered to be important. We praise you, God of all creation; that we can come
to you for answers, and for the second chances you give to us in life. We pray for
people for whom life is tough and difficult; for all who have lost their way in life and
are struggling to make sense of their life and their living; and for all who recognise
that they need to start again and to be renewed in body, mind and spirit. May they
rediscover the joy of a life lived and blessed by their Creating and Liberating God.

Responding God, like many people before us, we plead with God to “Turn my eyes
…reassure me …”
; because we have been captured by worthless things that make
a mockery of things of true worth and which are of spiritual value. We praise you,
God of all peoples, of all races and cultures; that we can come to you for answers.
We pray for people who counsel people of all ages, conditions and circumstances;
for mentors and teachers; for coaches and leaders who have responsibilities for
guiding young people; for law enforcement agents; and for all who administer the
law in their nations. Reassure them about their life’s roles and the advice they give;
so that justice and peace may be realised wherever people meet together, in their
homes; their local communities; at their employment; and in their cities and towns.

Empowering God, like many people before us, we plead with God to: “...give me
There are so many things in life and relationships that we do not
understand! We praise you, God of all wisdom, that your holy word offers the way
to life in all its fullness, through Jesus our LORD. We pray for all who have the privilege
of sharing the truth of your word through words and action; through their compassion
and sensitivity, that the truth of God’s steadfast love and gracious mercy may be seen
and recognised through their various ministries. All praise to you, God of great love. Amen.

A Personal Meditation
After Epiphany 7A [Ordinary 7A] or [Proper 2A] 2017
Psalm 119: 33-40

Today’s selected section of Psalm 119 is much more practical in its application
to daily life than others sections as it deals with a world that is all too familiar to
us! The psalmist obviously recognised his own short comings, and had some
pointed requests for God: “Teach me …; give me understanding...; turn my eyes…;
reassure me …; renew my life …”
The responses to those God-inspired requests
would be: obedience; heart-felt security; personal happiness; discernment and a
change of priorities; distraction from money-making urges; and a new beginning to
a truly God-centred life. Professor Walter Brueggemann discussed “Torah Obedience”
thus: “...The message is that life is reliable and utterly symmetrical when the torah
is honoured... the torah is not a dead letter... but an active agent which gives life...
torah is not just a set of rules, but is the mode
[means] of God’s life-giving presence.
Obedience to the torah is a source of light, life, joy, delight... delight is a repeated
response to torah... The torah is no burden, but a mode of joyous existence... ”

Creative pause: Following God’s decrees is the way to “God’s life-giving presence.”

In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses addressed the people of Israel several times
when they were in the wilderness in the land of Moab, where he yet again explained
God’s Torah Laws to them. Moses said: “Observe the [decrees and laws of the
LORD my God] carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the
nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, ‘Surely this great nation is
a wise and understanding people.’ What other nation is so great as to have their
gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him?...
Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things
your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach
them to your children and to their children after them....”
2 The significant difference
to other religious practices was that God was “...near us whenever we pray to him...”2
when following God’s decrees. Carefully and faithfully following God’s decrees
known as “Torah obedience”, meant that people had God’s Holy Presence with
them. That “Torah obedience” is summed up thus: “...you must love the LORD your
God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength…”
3 Jesus updated that,
combining two decrees from God: “‘...You must love the LORD your God with all
your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your
neighbour as yourself.’” ‘Right!’ Jesus told him. ‘Do this and you will live!...’”

Creative pause: Follow those decrees “...and you will live!...’”4

The psalmist prayed: “...give me life through your word...” The gift of ‘life’ was a
constant teaching point by Jesus to his disciples, including his ‘I AM’ statements
where fullness of ‘life’ through Jesus was offered because he was the Gate/Door;
the Bread; the Resurrection and the Life; the Way, the Truth and the Life; and the
Source of eternal Life. The ‘Life’ offered through obedience to God’s decrees is as
Jesus said: “’...Do this and you will live!...’”4 The lawyer wanted a more specific
answer about keeping or not keeping the Law - so was ‘life’ not enough for him?

Creative pause: “...give me life through your word...”

1 Text by Professor Walter Brueggemann from
“The Message of the Psalms”
Chapter 2, page 40 ©1984 Augsburg Publishing
House Minneapolis MN 55440, USA

2 Deuteronomy 4: 6, 8-9 (NLT)

3 Deuteronomy 6: 5 (NLT)

4 Luke 10: 27b-28 (NLT)

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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