God of countless proclamations: every moment you teach us more about our Great God!
A Call to Worship
Lent 3B 2015
We gather together to thank you for the way you share with us the reality of
God of countless revelations: every day and night we discover something new about you!
We gather together to worship you, because of every new insight into life you gift us with.
God of countless explanations: almost unconsciously we continually encounter new truths
about our God as we see, hear, touch, taste and smell the things that God has created.
We gather together to celebrate the wonders and mysteries; and the fulfilling delights
of being able to receive from God so many new understandings about living in God’s
world; and the way God is expressed through creation, relationships, and by simply being with God. Amen.
For the choir director: A psalm of David.
1 The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The skies display his craftsmanship.
2 Day after day they continue to speak;
night after night they make him known.
3 They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard
4 Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
and their words to all the world.
God has made a home in the heavens for the sun.
5 It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding.
It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race.
6 The sun rises at one end of the heavens and follows its course to the other end.
Nothing can hide from its heat.
7 The instructions of the LORD are perfect, reviving the soul.
The decrees of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
8 The commandments of the LORD are right, bringing joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are clear, giving insight for living.
9 Reverence for the LORD is pure, lasting forever.
The laws of the LORD are true; each one is fair.
10 They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold.
They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb.
11 They are a warning to your servant, a great reward for those who obey them.
12 How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart?
Cleanse me from these hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant from deliberate sins!
Don’t let them control me.
Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin.
14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
Prayers of Praise and Exaltation
O Lord, the Most High God, the Creator of all things, the Originator of all that was
Lent 3B 2015
and is, we gather to praise and exalt the name of the Lord, the One, the Holy God—
for all that God was, is, and will be to countless generations. Creating God, whose
fingers created the sun that lights and warms our bodies, minds and spirits; whose
radiant beams brighten all of life; and who’s light has symbolised order and justice
almost since time began; we gather to worship and praise you this day for all these
your gifts to humanity and creation. We rejoice in the confirmation that this is God’s
world, and that God’s Holy Presence blesses all creation every moment of every day.
O Lord, the Most High God, you are the Ultimate Definition of all that is holy, and we
celebrate not only the brightness of the sun’s light, but also God’s light of wisdom, hope,
love, faith and inspiration that shines into all of our being - into our heart and soul; our
strength and emotions; and which shines into our mind and intellect; so that all of our
life is illuminated God’s by instructions to us for wholesome living spent in fellowship
with God; and in our receiving even more new revelations of God’s-Own-Self to us.
Trustworthy and Glorious God, you pour out yourself on us and all creation, teaching
us wisdom, and how to grow into spiritual maturity on our faith journey towards God.
O Lord, the Most High God, we your people humbly bow in prayer and praise as we
respond to your great glory. “Holy, holy, holy Lord, ... Holy God, we praise your name,
Lord of all, we bow before you; all on earth, your power proclaim, all in heaven above
adore you, boundless is your vast domain, everlasting is your reign....”1 We also bow
in humble confession, asking God to help us recognise the sin that lurks within our mind,
heart and soul, and to cleanse us from their influences upon us. Trustworthy God, help
us to stand firm against those people who would lead us astray from God’s teachings
and guiding revelations; as we need all the help we can get to grow our hope and trust
into a true and mature faith in God. We also ask that the words of our mouths and the
meditations of our hearts will be acceptable to you, O LORD, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.
A Personal Meditation
There are many colloquial sayings associated with “light”: “he/she saw the light”;
Lent 3B 2015
“suddenly it dawned on her/him”; and an action or word that “sheds light on to a
subject”. Professor Walter Brueggemann suggests that Psalm 19 naturally divides
into three sections, contrary to most views that it has two sections. He proposes
that section one relates to nature and the light of the sun that brings life; section
two relates to humanity receiving the light of God’s revelations of wisdom, reason
and knowledge, enabling people to lead a more mature and richer life; and section
three is when we respond and react to God’s revelations in awed worship and praise
of our Enlightening God whose messages are given in utter silence – yet are readily
understood as truth itself. Since ancient times, “light” has symbolised the reality of
order and justice in human affairs; and the reality of chaos, disarray and injustice is
buried in gloom and darkness. Yet, as one part of the world receives the light, the
other half treasures light’s memory as it rests to make the most of the next day’s light;
as each half of the world experiences what true light and true darkness are really like.
|Creative pause:||God’s revelations don’t need words – only our acceptance of them.|
“Lord of all being, throned afar, your glory flames from sun and star; Centre and soul
of every sphere...”2 I assume that that revelation of God as being the “...Centre and
soul of every sphere..” refers to our solar system and beyond into outer space; and
that God is at the heart of every part of creation, and who hallows and blesses each
and every creature and countless large and small objects. Our personal faith in God,
who brought light into the world and into people’s lives – helps us to understand light
as well as the darkness, because God is present in both those situations; bringing love,
truth, beauty and wholeness to people. The light of God’s revelations allows us to live
in both light and dark, but to accept that God’s light guides and warms us with hope, and
the joy that exists in whatever circumstances are real for us. God’s long-term plan is to
lead God’s people out of darkness, and teaching them what light has to offer to them.
|Creative pause:||God’s revelations allow us to live in both the light and the darkness.|
“...yet to each loving heart how near! Sun of our life, your quickening ray, sheds on our
path the glow of day; Star of our hope, your softened light cheers the long watches of
the night... Lord of all life, below, above, whose light is truth, whose warmth is love...”2
We celebrate with joy God’s nearness to us as we respond in praise and thankfulness to
the God who teaches us about life and living; and who encourages us in our rather feeble
attempts to worship God as God deserves. Yet, the author of this psalm encourages us
to believe in God’s willingness to cleanse us of our hidden faults, and our deliberate sin.
His confidence is based on God’s mercy and forgiving grace that can enlighten and warm
us. The closing words of Psalm 19 are probably in most people’s minds and hearts as they
pray, sing, meditate and worship God. “...May the words of my mouth and the meditation
of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer...” Most translations
use the word “acceptable” rather than “pleasing”. Leviticus 22: 17-20 provides a guide to
what is acceptable to God in a sacrifice, whether it is an animal, bird or grain; or a spiritual
sacrifice of commitment; as God will not accept an unworthy, flawed or half-hearted sacrifice.
|Creative pause:||Confidently living in God’s enlightening, warming and forgiving grace.|
1 From “Together in Song” #127
“Holy God we praise your name”
Words in the Public Domain
Based on the Te Deum Laudamus
2 From “The Methodist Hymn Book” #32 (1933 version)
“Lord of all being, throned afar”
Words by Oliver Wendell Holmes 1809-94
Words are in the Public Domain
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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