Comforting God, we come to you carrying our personal load of rejection and pain.
A Call to Worship
Good Friday Year A 2014
Healing God, may the balm of your love for your children continue to sustain us.
Compassionate God, you are our Quiet Centre when all around us is confusion.
Be for us now, the Calming Presence and the Steadfast Lover that we sorely need.
Unshakeable God, despite our own uncertainty, we know that our God is faithful.
Even if we do not hear God’s voice, we know that God hears and responds to us.
Holy Wisdom, inspire in us enough trust and hope to enable us to be faithful to you.
You are our Strength and our Shelter - come to us and bless us as we worship you. Amen.
For the choir director: A psalm of David, to be sung to the tune "Doe of the Dawn."
1 My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me? Why do you remain so distant?
Why do you ignore my cries for help?
2 Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer.
Every night you hear my voice, but I find no relief.
3 Yet you are holy. The praises of Israel surround your throne.
4 Our ancestors trusted in you, and you rescued them.
5 You heard their cries for help and saved them.
They put their trust in you and were never disappointed.
6 But I am a worm and not a man. I am scorned and despised by all!
7 Everyone who sees me mocks me. They sneer and shake their heads, saying,
8 "Is this the one who relies on the LORD? Then let the LORD save him!
If the LORD loves him so much, let the LORD rescue him!"
9 Yet you brought me safely from my mother's womb
and led me to trust you when I was a nursing infant.
10 I was thrust upon you at my birth. You have been my God from the moment I was born.
11 Do not stay so far from me, for trouble is near, and no one else can help me.
12 My enemies surround me like a herd of bulls; fierce bulls of Bashan have hemmed me in!
13 Like roaring lions attacking their prey, they come at me with open mouths.
14 My life is poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart is like wax, melting within me.
15 My strength has dried up like sunbaked clay. My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth.
You have laid me in the dust and left me for dead.
16 My enemies surround me like a pack of dogs; an evil gang closes in on me.
They have pierced my hands and feet.
17 I can count every bone in my body. My enemies stare at me and gloat.
18 They divide my clothes among themselves and throw dice for my garments.
19 O LORD, do not stay away! You are my strength; come quickly to my aid!
20 Rescue me from a violent death; spare my precious life from these dogs.
21 Snatch me from the lions' jaws, and from the horns of these wild oxen.
22 Then I will declare the wonder of your name to my brothers and sisters.
I will praise you among all your people.
23 Praise the LORD, all you who fear him! Honor him, all you descendants of Jacob!
Show him reverence, all you descendants of Israel!
24or he has not ignored the suffering of the needy.
He has not turned and walked away. He has listened to their cries for help.
25 I will praise you among all the people;
I will fulfil my vows in the presence of those who worship you.
26 The poor will eat and be satisfied. All who seek the LORD will praise him.
Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy.
27 The whole earth will acknowledge the LORD and return to him.
People from every nation will bow down before him.
28 For the LORD is king! He rules all the nations.
29 Let the rich of the earth feast and worship.
Let all mortals – those born to die -- bow down in his presence.
30 Future generations will also serve him. Our children will hear about the wonders of the Lord.
31 His righteous acts will be told to those yet unborn. They will hear about everything he has done.
Prayers of Lament and Trust
Comforting God, we gather together to support and sustain each other in
Good Friday Year A 2014
our worship, even if we do not understand why you are apparently so silent
and so very distant from us. We come to you in hope and trust, even though
we are weighed down by our heavy load of rejection and misunderstanding.
We know from past experiences that God is always near to us, ready to
hear and respond to our needs, and receive our songs of thankfulness for
God’s guidance and blessing. We know too, that God’s merciful healing
powers have never failed; yet now we need all those graces to enliven us,
and to help us make sense of our situation. Healing God, may the gentle
balm of your love for all your children continue to sustain us in this time of
doubt and despair, and bring us again into the glorious presence of our God.
Amidst all our confusion, self-blame and anguish, be for us now the Calming
Presence and the Steadfast Lover that we so desperately need; and let the
stillness of God who is our Quiet Centre enable us to offer our worship and
our trusting hope to you, thereby bringing to us your healing and blessing.
Holy and Unchanging God, we have come to rely on your steadfast love and
merciful forgiveness, and so now we pray: be for us now the reliable giver
of your grace and strength, so that we may always live as your faithful people—
regardless of all the turmoil and bitterness that surrounds and depresses us.
Faithful and Unshakeable God, despite all our uncertainty and our emotional
stress that tells us that we are “running empty”, because our inner strength has
become depleted, we come to you now seeking your reassurance that you do
know of our need. Everything that we valued as being important to us spiritually
has been devalued; and the people we thought understood and supported our
trust and hope in God have deserted and vilified us! This is hard for us to bear—
and we feel so alone! Holy Wisdom, inspire in us sufficient trust and hope to
enable us to continue to be faithful to you, because you alone are our Strength
and our Shelter - come to us so we may always worship and praise you again. Amen.
A Personal Meditation
Have you ever been the target of scorn, false accusations or downright lies?
Good Friday Year A 2014
Have you ever been misunderstood to the level that people do not trust you
anymore? Have you ever been so vilified that you do not know what to think
or believe anymore about who and what you are; and in the end you think that
everyone must be right about you? Have you felt a fellow-feeling with the author
who said: “...I am a worm and not a woman/man. I am scorned and despised
by all!..” Being in such as position as that is a very hard to deal with, I know –
because I have experienced it all, and have known the confusion and pain,
and the awful indecision about what to do next! God forgive for me any part I
caused in that trauma and pain. Thankfully, when we turn to our God - we know
we will be heard and understood, even if that responding voice sounds weak
to our ears, to our heart and to our mind! It is possible to regain balance in our
thinking and to celebrate the joy of God’s acceptance of us - just as we are!
|Creative pause:||Thanks be to God that we are accepted as we are!|
How the Psalmist loved to exaggerate to make a point! He imagined himself as
being: “...My life is poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My
heart is like wax, melting within me. My strength has dried up like sunbaked clay.
My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You have laid me in the dust and left
me for dead...” He definitely knew all about loneliness, rejection, the deep anguish
associated with being misunderstood and unloved! Separation or abandonment can
be agonising and crippling to one’s soul and mind; and the Psalmist - in his sense
of abandonment screamed - “..My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me?...”
then there are those two beautiful words: “yet” and “but”, that shifted the balance
completely! His spiritual connection to God still enabled the Psalmist to recognise
God’s supportive presence with him, even as he screamed out his human anguish!
|Creative pause:||The words “yet” and “but” shift the balance in our meditations.|
Part way through this Psalm the mood changes as the Psalmist sang with great joy:
“...Then I will declare the wonder of your name to my brothers and sisters. I will praise
you among all your people. Praise the Lord, all you who fear him!..” We don’t know
what happened – but his confidence in God was back and he again celebrated God’s
graciousness. Was it only his perception that God was silent and distant? There is an
old saying that goes something like this: If you can’t find God – guess who moved away!
|Creative pause:||If God seems silent and far - guess who moved away?|
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.
Download/view a pdf file of this document here: good_fridaya_2014.pdf