A Call to Worship
Lent 2B 2015
Psalm 22: 23-31

Praise the Lord, all you who are in awe of God’s presence! We worship our Holy God.
For the Lord our God has never turned away from us, or left us bewildered or alone.

Praise the Lord, all you who are descendants of God’s people! Revere our Holy God.
For the Lord our God has heard the cries and the pain of suffering and destitute people.

Praise the Lord, all you who have committed yourselves to God in worship and praise!
Come before the Lord our God, to celebrate the way God has guided and blessed us!
For the Lord our God has understood our times of rejection and self-hatred; and has
lifted us up out of our despair; and taken us by the hand to lead us into a future in God. Amen.

Psalm 22: 23-31
For the choir director: A psalm of David,
to be sung to the tune “Doe of the Dawn.”

23 Praise the Lord, all you who fear him!
Honor him, all you descendants of Jacob!
Show him reverence, all you descendants of Israel!
24 For he has not ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy.
He has not turned his back on them, but has listened to their cries for help.

25 I will praise you in the great assembly.
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.
All the families of the nations will bow down before him.
28 For royal power belongs to the LORD. He rules all the nations.

29 Let the rich of the earth feast and worship.
Bow before him, all who are mortal, all whose lives will end as dust.
30 Our children will also serve him.
Future generations will hear about the wonders of the Lord.
31 His righteous acts will be told to those not yet born.
They will hear about everything he has done.

Prayers of Praise and Petition
Lent 2B 2015
Psalm 22: 23-31

We come to bring our praises to God, because we are in awe of God’s holy presence
amongst us! We come to offer our worship and thankfulness for all God’s great gifts
of grace and mercy toward us. God’s generosity is beyond our understanding, and it
is so widely spread amongst undeserving humanity, that it is very humbling. We also
come to praise our God, because God has never left us bewildered or alone; has not
ignored or belittled the suffering of needy people; or turned away from us in disgust of
our behaviour- even if we have deserved such a reaction from God! Listening God,
open our eyes, our ears, our minds and consciences, and our hearts to the needs of
people around us, so that we can see and hear our “neighbours” as you know them.

We come to bring our praises to God to celebrate our many special blessings, as our
forebears have been people of God who have through the generations, taught their
children to also know and love God. We also come to bring our praises to God, as
although not all of us have had the privilege of growing up within a faith community,
we have still been very blessed by God’s presence in our life, as we have responded
to God’s loving invitation to “come to home to God” and joyfully live within God’s family.
Responding God, may we hear your voice calling us to be accepting of people who are
different to us in speech or appearance; or cultural habits unlike ours; and help us to learn
from them. May we be accepting of others, just as God has accepted and welcomed us.

We come to bring our praises to God, because the Lord our God has understood our
times of rejection and self-hatred; and has lifted us up out of our deep despair; and
taken us by the hand to lead us into God’s future. Forgive us our lack of trust in the
God who hears and answers prayers; forgive us our lack of vision in not recognising
why God has placed us where we are; and forgive us for our acceptance of living a
life that is out of tune with God’s wise plans for humankind. Yet we praise the Lord our
God as we gather together, because we need each other’s encouragement in our own
commitment to God. May we always give God praise and thanks for the way we have
been guided and blessed throughout all life’s struggles! May we always offer God our
awe-filled praises; our reverent “Amens” for God’s mercy; and our most sincere worship. Amen.

A Personal Meditation
Lent 2B 2015
Psalm 22: 23-31

It is very easy to miss verse 26a in our psalm for today: “...The poor will eat and
be satisfied....”
This is a very tangible response to the change in the mind and
heart of the psalmist, because of God’s response to his pleas for God’s help and
blessing. Thus, he gave praises for God’s merciful blessing and encouragement—
which had amazing ramifications – including that the poor, and therefore hungry
people, were fed and satisfied. To me, that begs the question: why are there still
poor and hungry in the world? Have we stopped asking God’s help and merciful
intervention in our lives and living? Do we not believe in an interventionist God?
Are we so self-centred in our own importance that we forget that we need God’s
grace and forgiveness to enable our eyes and consciences to be opened wide
enough, to see the “suffering poor” around us? Lord, help us to see what you see!

Creative pause: Do you believe in an interventionist God?

In my world travels I was privileged to see many projects commenced by aide
agencies and church-related missions, who were attempting to teach the “poor”
of the world to help themselves. I visited a Pacific Island nation whose people
were experimenting with growing particular vegetables for the world market,
and to also feed themselves with new and different vegetables - in this instance
pumpkins! This particular plan succeeded beyond their wildest dreams with a
huge crop of pumpkins; but, and there always seems to be a “but” - the global
homemakers who purchased their food from their supermarkets wanted pumpkins
with no marks on their skin, and for them to be of uniform size and shape! So,
most of their crop was rejected; and pumpkins became the main source of food
for every meal! And there are only so many ways of successfully eating pumpkin!

Creative pause: Is our demands for “perfect” food disadvantaging many people?

On another adventure, I learned about the practices of clearing difficult land with
chemicals, to enable the “get-rich-quick entrepreneurs” to grow specialist crops
such as asparagus for the world’s consumers. In this instance, the people who
“picked” the asparagus were mostly poor women, who were required to pick those
tender stems at night before the sun became too hot and spoiled them. Through
the earlier use of chemicals, many of those women inhaled the chemical’s residue
in the damp atmosphere and developed nasty throat and mouth cancers. Are our
appetites for succulent foods so desperate that we force women to suffer in this
way? Is that the way we seek to bring into reality God’s Kingdom amongst us—
when “...The poor will eat and be satisfied....”? Lord, have mercy, and forgive us!

Creative pause: God forgive us our selfish desires and redirect us into your ways!

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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