A Call to Worship
Lent 4B 2015
Psalm 107: 1-3, 17-22

God of loving faithfulness, we give God our thanks through our words and our activities.
In a response nurtured in God’s holy love, we bring our offerings of loving words and deeds.

God of generous faithfulness, we give God our thanks through our witness and service.
In a response nurtured in God’s holy power, we bring our offerings of worship and witness.

God of merciful faithfulness, we give God our thanks through our offerings of worship and
praise; our words and deeds; our witness and service; and through our own living and loving.
In a response nurtured in God’s holy joy, we bring our offerings of a life committed to God’s reign of justice and peace; and to our faithfully speaking out about God’s redeeming grace. Amen.

Psalm 107: 1-3, 17-22

1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.
2 Has the LORD redeemed you? Then speak out!
Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies.
3 For he has gathered the exiles from many lands,
from east and west, from north and south.

17 Some were fools; they rebelled and suffered for their sins.
18 They couldn’t stand the thought of food,
and they were knocking on death’s door.
19 “LORD, help!” they cried in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.
20 He sent out his word and healed them,
snatching them from the door of death.
21 Let them praise the LORD for his great love
and for the wonderful things he has done for them.
22 Let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving
and sing joyfully about his glorious acts.

Prayers of Thanks and Petition
Lent 4B 2015
Psalm 107: 1-3, 17-22

“Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices, who wondrous
things has done, in whom the world rejoices; who from our mothers' arms
has blest us on our way with countless gifts of love, and still is ours today....”1

We come together to thank you our God, for all the countless gifts you have
showered upon us from the day we were born, up until this present moment.
We do indeed thank you with our hearts, that symbolic centre of who were are
as an individual; we also thank you with our hands, as we offer you the symbols
of our life and work, and all that we as individuals can create; and we thank
you too with our voices, as we sing out our praises of thankfulness for God’s
great mercies that last for ever. The psalmist urged us to speak out about God’s
merciful liberation of our life and our living, because God has freed us from all
that entraps us, so that we can tell out the “good news” of God’s nurturing grace.

“...O may this bounteous God, through all our life be near us, with ever joyful
hearts and blessed peace to cheer us...”
1 Liberating God, the “blessed peace”
the author celebrated was the peace of freedom after exile; the “blessed peace”
after isolation from loved ones; and the “blessed peace” of confidence in the God
whose love lasts for ever and ever. May we too, celebrate the freedom that God
gives to us; and with ever joyful hearts, commit ourselves to serving the Lord God
who is not only near to us, but who lives and reigns within us as our Quiet Centre.

“...and keep us in his grace, and guide us when perplexed, and free us from all
ills in this world and the next...”
1 Healing God, just as the psalmist shared the
life and death experiences of his traumatised people, so we, too, pray for people
traumatised from life experiences, from illness of any kind; from the breakdown
of relationships; and for people fleeing from persecution as refugees. Wherever
there are peaceful and healing outcomes, may we “...praise the LORD for his great
love and for the wonderful things he has done for them...”;
but also to give God our
sincere and heartfelt thanks not only with songs of joy; and with practical aid to those
people still entrapped in isolation and separation from their loved ones, may we
faithfully serve our God and our neighbours as we offer our offerings of thanksgiving. Amen.

A Personal Meditation
Lent 4B 2015
Psalm 107: 1-3, 17-22

According to Professor Walter Brueggemann in “Psalms”: “....to thank is to give
a verbal account of that for which one is grateful. In a thank offering, however,
the narrative is accompanied by a material presentation of something of worth.
Thus thank properly concerns both utterance and gesture....”
2 If we are genuinely
thankful for any gift, especially a gift from God, a simple “Thank you, God” is not
enough! The Old Testament book of Leviticus contains the rules and regulations
for the priests of ancient Israel, all from the tribe of Levi – hence Leviticus – and
for the conduct of worship of God, the Holy One. It also contains guidelines for
the day-to-day living of God’s people. The first seven chapters give rules for the
conduct of various offerings and sacrifices; and in chapter seven, there are rules
for “peace offerings” to the Lord God as a sign of thankfulness for God’s mercy.
“Peace offerings” have various titles according to various translations, and include
“Fellowship”, “Praise” and “Thanksgiving” offerings given to the Giver of all gifts.

Creative pause: Do you respond to God in both word and deed?

The “Peace Offering” included the usual animal sacrifice, but there was another
element to that gift, something prepared by people, including breads, some with
yeast and some without yeast; but the gift should contain at least one of either type
of food, with and without yeast. This raises some important issues for me, as my
weekly church offerings to God are made through direct debit! Apart from ensuring
that there is sufficient cash in my account; my offerings to God, be it for any special
or ordinary reasons, are totally “hands-free”! Am I missing out on something there?

Creative pause: Is giving to God “hands-free” a relevant “thank you” gift or sacrifice?

I like to concept of giving God a “peace offering” which implies that I am then also
at peace with God! God is certainly at peace with me because of God’s steadfast,
loving kindness and mercy which lasts forever - a combination of translations - (but
not “enduring” love, as that word has loud echoes of a not very patient self-indulgent
martyr-type of person). However, have I made my peace with God on daily, hourly or
even minute by minute “peace offering”? After the end of World War II, the elders at
my church agreed to erect a symbol of “peace”! They raised the money, then had so
many suggestions about what symbolised “peace”, it became all too much for them.
Eventually, they provided facilities for the next generation, but it is now home to a
counselling service – perhaps providing the best kind of memorial to lasting peace!

Creative pause: Do you make your peace with God a regular priority?

1 From “Singing the Faith” #81
“Now thank we all our God”
Words by Martin Rinkart 1586-1649
Words in the Public Domain

2 Text by Professor Walter Brueggemann
& William H Bellinger Junior
from “Psalms”
Psalm 107, page 466
© 2014 Cambridge University Press

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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