We come, God of unfailing love, to confess to you our sin and disobedience.
A Call to Worship
Lent 1A 2017
In faith and trust, we also confess that you are indeed our eternal hiding place.
We come, God of our security and peace, to confess to you our wilful defiance.
In hope and expectation, we also confess that you are our Guide and Advisor.
We come, God of compassion and mercy, to confess to you our selfish desires
and self-centredness; asking that through your generous grace, you will bless us.
In the confident assurance of God’s protective love and mercy towards repentant
sinners, today we claim the joy that God gifts to us, knowing that we are blessed. Amen.
A psalm of David.
1 Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven,
whose sin is put out of sight!
2 Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of guilt,
whose lives are lived in complete honesty!
3 When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away,
and I groaned all day long.
4 Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me.
My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat.
5 Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt.
I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the LORD.”
And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.
6 Therefore, let all the godly pray to you while there is still time,
that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment.
7 For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble.
You surround me with songs of victory.
8 The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.
I will advise you and watch over you.
9 Do not be like a senseless horse or mule
that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”
10 Many sorrows come to the wicked,
but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the LORD.
11 So rejoice in the LORD and be glad, all you who obey him!
Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!
Prayers of Confession
We come, God of unfailing love, to confess to you in humility and deep remorse,
Lent 1A 2017
our sin and disobedience; our stubbornness; and the irrational certainty that we
cling to, that we always know what is best for us. We come, seeking from you the
renewal of our faith and trust in you; that rebirth and re-creation that you gift to us
when we turn away from our self-destructive path of arrogant self-belief in our own
wisdom and infallible judgement. In your mercy, Loving LORD, hear our prayers and
grant to us the joy of new life as we learn to rest in you, our Eternal Hiding Place.
We come, God of our security and peace, to confess to you with deep regret, our
wilful defiance of the way of peace and joy that we know from experience, is found
only in you. Forgive us, we pray, when we deny any responsibility for our thoughts;
actions or decisions which separate us from you. Forgive us when we try to convince
ourselves that there is no urgency in seeking a restored relationship with God, and
that there is plenty of time to repent of our foolishness; because God is always there
to forgive us when we are willing to back down on our claims of always being right.
God, who is our Guide and Advisor, forgive and bless us this day, we sincerely pray.
We come, God of compassion and mercy, to confess to you our self-centredness;
and in the blessed assurance that your holy presence is with us throughout our life
and living; so in hope and trust, we pray that we may have learned from this experience;
and we ask that through your generous grace, you will bless us. Now, in the confident
assurance of God’s protective love and mercy towards repentant sinners, today we
claim the joy that God gifts to us of knowing that our sin is forgiven, and we are blest. Amen.
A Personal Meditation
In the several lists I have which designate the theme of each psalm, Psalm 32
Lent 1A 2017
is often listed as being a “penitential” psalm, but others list it as “confidence in
God’s mercy”; and the “blessedness of forgiveness”, Brueggemann, in one of
his books, refers to Psalm 32 as “God’s miracle” and the opportunity for “rebirth”
or “re-creation”. Broken relationships of any kind can play havoc with us, and the
psalmist implied that suppression of our guilt affects us mentally, physically and
spiritually, as in his words thus: “...my body wasted away, and I groaned all day
long.... My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat...” and urged us not
to be like a “...senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under
control...” If you have ever ridden a horse, you soon know how crucial is that “bit”!
|Creative pause:||God’s forgiveness is a miracle of re-creation and rebirth.|
This is also a fascinating psalm created with a very realistic understanding of what
it is to be human! Depending on one’s approach to the message of the psalm, it
can be read in a positive or negative attitude. The negative theme is seen in the
strength of these descriptive words: “disobedience... guilt... your hand of discipline
was heavy on me... rebellion... judgment... trouble... senseless... and ...wicked...!”
Through personal experience, the psalmist knew those negative reactions were
extremely detrimental to his health and well-being. When we deny our own humanity
our subsequent sinfulness prevents any forgiveness – from God or anyone else. I
believe that it is in family life that we learn what it means to be forgiven; and when as
a child we learn to say “I’m sorry” and mean it; we then learn one of the great secrets
of the universe! When we come to understand the restoration of our relationship
with the ‘hurt’ or ‘damaged’ person; then that we can gain some comprehension of
an even greater secret about the unchanging, forgiving and accepting love of God.
|Creative pause:||Learning the real secrets of the universe – confession and forgiveness.|
The psalmist also knew from experience the gift of joy because his: “...disobedience
is forgiven... confess my rebellion... cleared of guilt...you are my hiding place; you
protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory... I will guide you along
the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.... unfailing love
surrounds those who trust the LORD. So rejoice in the LORD and be glad, all you who
obey him! Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!” As a contrast to the people
who have a negative approach to life, the ‘joyous’ people are those who make their
confession to God, because in their rejoicing, they understand that without recognition
and confession of sin, there can be no forgiveness from God - or from anyone else!
|Creative pause:||“Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven...”|
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.
Download/view a pdf file of this document here: lent1a_2017.pdf