A Call to Worship
Epiphany of our Lord Year B 2015
Psalm 72: 1-7, 10-14

God of justice and compassion for people who are vulnerable, we worship you.
God, you are “gentler than the falling spray, stronger than the mountain face..”1

God of justice and compassion for people who are oppressed, we praise you.
God, you are “giving birth and protecting, whispering and thundering, life that is..”1

God of justice and compassion for victims of any violence, we celebrate God’s
goodness, because all lives are very precious to our loving and healing God!
Mothering and fathering…, nurturing and empowering - love itself. Oh God, how
shall you be named? You are so much more than we could ever dare to dream…

Psalm 72: 1-7, 10-14
A psalm of Solomon.

1 Give your love of justice to the king, O God,
and righteousness to the king’s son.
2 Help him judge your people in the right way;
let the poor always be treated fairly.
3 May the mountains yield prosperity for all,
and may the hills be fruitful.
4 Help him to defend the poor,
to rescue the children of the needy,
and to crush their oppressors.
5 May they fear you as long as the sun shines,
as long as the moon remains in the sky. Yes, forever!
6 May the king’s rule be refreshing like spring rain on freshly cut grass,
like the showers that water the earth.
7 May all the godly flourish during his reign.
May there be abundant prosperity until the moon is no more.

10 The western kings of Tarshish and other distant lands will bring him tribute.
The eastern kings of Sheba and Seba will bring him gifts.
11 All kings will bow before him, and all nations will serve him.
12 He will rescue the poor when they cry to him;
he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them.
13 He feels pity for the weak and the needy, and he will rescue them.
14 He will redeem them from oppression and violence,
for their lives are precious to him.

Prayers of Petition
Epiphany of our Lord Year B 2015
Psalm 72: 1-7, 10-14

God of justice and caring love towards vulnerable and impoverished people,
in your mercy hear our prayers for your needy people, and help us to answer
our own prayers, by being generous and compassionate towards not only our
neighbours, but anyone in need. Keep alive in our hearts and minds the memory
of those times when things were tough in our own family; when we were victims
of injustice, of loss and despair. May we never be patronising in our attitudes
towards vulnerable people; when we pray for suffering peoples; or in our giving—
help us always to be generous in our words, our attitude and our actions. God
of grace and love, “...You are so much more than we could ever dare to dream…”1

God of justice and compassion for people who are oppressed, we come in prayer
for the oppressed peoples of our world; and help us not only to pray, but also to be
active in our giving and caring for them. Help us to understand that it is only when
all people are freed from oppression that justice and peace become a way of life
for everyone. Help us too, to understand that God wills for peace and justice for all
God’s people, so that they may know and experience God’s Shalom. God of truth
and just compassion, “…You are so much more than we could ever dare to dream…”1

God of justice and compassion, we pray today for anyone who has authority over
other people; whether they are national or community leaders; leaders of groups;
employers and leaders of work-place activities; leaders in education and in health
care – with their many and varied responsibilities; those in authority within the courts
and the justice systems; and those who have authority within family life. Violence of
many kinds can be found in these jurisdictions – as well as victims – and so we pray
that mercy and compassion may become a way of life for all people. God of majesty,
power and mercy, “…You are so much more than we could ever dare to dream…”1 Amen.

A Personal Meditation
Epiphany of our Lord Year B 2015
Psalm 72: 1-7, 10-14

Psalm 72 is a rather difficult psalm with which to come to grips! Its inscription
states “Psalm of Solomon”, and at its conclusion there are these words: “This
ends the prayers of David, son of Jesse”.
Was King David praying for his son
Solomon as he prepared to become king; or were these Solomon’s own words
of struggle and expectations? Psalm 72 is also the last psalm in Psalms 42-72
which is labelled “Book Two”, as part of the “Five Books” of 150 psalms. These
psalms were the hymns and prayers of the people of Israel, and prepared by
different people, even if in gratitude they honoured King David; that did not
mean that they were prepared by David himself. There are national and intimate
songs and prayers - but one thing is very clear – they were also very honest
songs and prayers! I think that is why so many people relate so closely to the
psalms, as they recognise their own feelings and fears; their own longing for
God; and their own sense of regret and remorse in the words of the psalms.

Creative pause: People recognise their own feelings and fears in the psalms.

I believe that Psalm 72 is a psalm of hope – hope in the reign of God through
God’s chosen leader. The psalm expressed the hope that the attributes of God—
justice, equity and compassion for the children of needy people, and those who
were oppressed or suffer violence, would be fulfilled by God’s chosen king and
representative; and that he would be ready to listen to and defend those who cry
out in their need. “...Mothering and fathering, giving birth and protecting, nurturing
and empowering love itself…. balancing and holding firm all that is…. Oh God,
how shall you be named? You are so much more than we could ever dare to dream.

Creative pause: Oh God, how shall you be named?1

Professor Walter Brueggemann writes: “...Firstly, Palm 72, is perhaps the best
articulation of the way in which the king is to be shaped by the royal liturgy and
the Davidic dynasty is to embody the rule of Yahweh. One can see that the psalm
is closely linked to the memory of hurt. It focuses on the poor, need and marginal.
..... Thus the psalm again reflects the same tension between the experience of
hurt and the grand dream....”
2 The king and his government had the responsibility
to demonstrate through his royal role the way God intended for him to rule – as a
just and equitable ruler whose total focus was on the people who were poor, needy,
oppressed and down-trodden. Only when his people were cared for appropriately,
could there be a healthy national economy and a balanced life-style for everyone.
How does that sit with the economics and “grand dreams” of your national leaders?

Creative pause: “Balancing and holding firm all that is…”.1

1 From “A Special Collection” CD
“You are so much more”
Words and music by Sister Monica Brown
© 2000 Monica Brown & Emmaus Productions
Used by Personal Permission

2 Text by Professor Walter Brueggemann
from “Israel’s Praise” Chapter 3, page 68
© 1988 Fortress Publishing House
Minneapolis MN 55440, USA

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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