A Call to Worship
Lent 5C 2013
Psalm 126

We come to worship our God, the Great Deliverer who still delivers!
With joy and celebration, we give thanks for God’s gracious mercy.

We come to worship our God, the Great Restorer who still restores!
With songs of elation and delighted praise we sing: “Thanks be to God!”

We come to worship our God, the Great Redeemer who still redeems!
With peaceful hearts and minds, we give thanks that God loved all that
God created, and considered us worthy of another opportunity to live in
the fullness of joy, found only with and through God’s gracious generosity. Amen.

Prayers of Thankfulness and Trust
Lent 5C 2013
Psalm 126

Pilgrims God, just as long ago, the people of Israel sang this Psalm
as they approached the city of Jerusalem on their annual pilgrimage
to the Temple, so we, too, sing our songs of thankfulness for God’s
goodness and mercy to each of us! Trustworthy God, you have been
our Guide and Mentor through our life’s journey of faith in you, and so
we join with the pilgrims to say: “.....Yes, the Lord has done amazing
things for us! What joy.…!”
Just as they had experienced disappointment,
sorrow, family separation and even despair, they also had experienced
the joy and delight of trusting in their God to save and deliver them from
harm; and we, too, have had struggles, pain, grief and disappointments.

This Psalm had two parts to it – there was the joyous celebration of the
people knowing that they had been blessed by God – but they also thought
about and remembered their experiences of personal spiritual growth as
a result of various traumas. So they could also confidently sing: “....Those
who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to
plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest….”
Today, we
give thanks for the harvest that has grown through our own faith experiences—
and how God has so richly blessed us as we have grieved, wept, planted and
nurtured; and have eventually harvested God’s generous blessings in life.

Nurturing God, as we reflect on God’s goodness to us, and how blessed we
have been, and how in hindsight, the sorrows we encountered along life’s way
now seem like one long bad dream! We give thanks for the great mercy God
has given to humanity, that remembered pain does eventually lose some of
its sting; and that we are also blessed with hope for the future, that we never
ever again experience such agonies! Comforting God, we thank you for our
past, which had made us the people we now are, and we trust the future to you. Amen.

A Personal Meditation
Lent 5C 2013
Psalm 126

I believe that the last few hours of any plane flight are always the longest;
and that the last remaining miles/kilometres to our destination are the
slowest of the entire journey! As those pilgrims trudged their long and slow
way through the hills of Zion and into Jerusalem, and saw in the distance,
the dome of the Temple - they too must have believed they would never
reach their destination, and its glorious celebrations of worship and praise
to God; and the precious time catching up with their family and dear friends!

Creative pause: The road nearest to home often seems the longest to travel!

The people of Israel would have dreamed and planned for these journeys
to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival, but not every good Israelite was
able to fulfil this dream. I imagine that there was great anticipation for this
potentially hazardous pilgrimage, but the people always thought it was worth
the risks associated with their journey. My only trip to one of the New Testament
“Young Churches” was to Rome, and I prepared very carefully and prayerfully
for that important and spiritual event. The most uplifting part of that experience
was a visit to a house reputedly the home of one of the women active in the
“Young Church”, and to see the well-preserved villa with its ancient style gardens.
My imagination easily experienced the shadows of long-ago spiritual experiences.

Creative pause: Often the anticipation and preparations are better than actual events.

After many years of drought, farmers in Australia, as in many other countries,
plough and plant their wheat and grains, in hope and expectation of rain. Their
prayer has long been: “Restore our fortunes, Lord, as streams renew the desert.”
For farmers, there is never any guarantee of suitable conditions for germination
of seed or growth, and in the recent drought, numerous a farmer sowed their
seed through a mist of tears, as for many, this was their last chance to harvest
a viable crop. Some of them finally rejoiced in their harvest, whilst many others
walked off their farms - broken, dejected and defeated. I believe that God does not
give us guarantees for a pain-free life, or a perpetually joy-filled life; but what I do
believe is that God gives us - or provides for us - the resources to live with that
which descends upon us under the heading of “Life”. I believe God trusts us to use
those resources as best we can, and also provides us with nurturing compassion and
comfort when things go wrong; and is always ready to hear and answer our prayers.

Creative pause: God provides us with the resources we need – we only have to access them!

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.

*The additional weekly numbering is from the Revised COCU Indexing Scheme
COCU = ('Consultation on Church Union'); as it offers an easy sequential numbering for the Revised
Common Lectionary for the Church Calendar.

If any part of these Prayers and/or Meditations is used in shared worship, please provide
the following acknowledgement:
© 2013 Joan Stott – ‘The Timeless Psalms’ RCL Psalms Year C. Used with permission.


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