A Call to Worship
Lent 5C 2016
Psalm 126

We come to worship and thank God because: “All my hope on God is founded…”1
Because of God’s grace and mercy we all can sing: “...all my trust he will renew..1

We come to praise God because: “...through all change and chance he guides me..”1
Because of God’s faithfulness we know that God is: “... only good and only true…”1

We come with joy to share in worship of our God because we remember: “...God’s
great goodness lasts forever... daily the almighty giver will his bounteous gifts bestow...”
Because love of creation and humanity is the motivation for God’s actions, we come
to celebrate our blessings because “...the LORD has done amazing things for us...” Amen.

Psalm 126
A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.

1 When the LORD brought back [restored the fortunes of2] his exiles
to Jerusalem, it was like a dream!
2 We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy.
And the other nations said, “What amazing things the LORD has done for them.”
3 Yes, the LORD has done amazing things for us! What joy!

4 Restore our fortunes, LORD, as streams renew the desert.
5 Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy.
6 They weep as they go to plant their seed,
but they sing as they return with the harvest.

Prayers of Thankfulness
Lent 5C 2016
Psalm 126

Trustworthy God, we come to worship and praise you for all the many blessings
in life we have received; for the good times, when we have been filled with the
pleasures and happiness of a good life; for the challenges that have helped us to
grow as people and as a community of faith; but also for the struggles and hard
times we have experienced when we have been bewildered by the events of life.
Help us to understand that it is in life’s struggles that we learn of our dependence
on God for a purpose in life; for true hope and trust in God; and for more reliance
on God’s good grace. We thank you for answered prayers, when we have prayed
for strength asking God to act when we are hurting; and in times of grief and loss.

I have come to worship and thank God because: “All my hope on God is founded…”1
and because of God’s grace and mercy, we all can sing: “...all my trust he will renew..1
We give thanks for God’s guidance in times of decision making and struggle; when
we have cried out in despair, asking for God to “...Restore our fortunes…” and through
God’s mercy, we have been very blessed. It is because of God’s faithfulness, we know
we can trust that God is: “... only good and only true…”1 always, forever and ever.

Joy-inspiring God, we give thanks that just as the people of God discovered during
the time the Psalms were being created, so it is that we know, accept and celebrate
that “...the LORD has done amazing things for us...”, sustaining and blessing humanity
and the created world – and that all this is a continuing source of joy - and not just the
happiness, pleasure or even of delight in those very fleeting moments. We give our
thanks that God’s holy joy transcends ours and any circumstances in life, and is wholly
based on God’s steadfast and unfailing love, faithfulness and mercy gifted to all who
believe and trust in God. So, we come with joy, to share together in worshipping God. Amen.

A Personal Meditation
Lent 5C 2016
Psalm 126

This is the season of Lent – a time of penitence and reflection – and I find it quite
fascinating that the theme of the last two week’s Psalm readings have concentrated
on “joy”! However, the joy that was and is experienced in those psalms was that of
forgiveness of sin and disobedience; and also the joy associated by a new experience
of God! Presumably, it was also the joy of being released from exile and the wonderful
relief and holy expectation of being able again to worship in Jerusalem, even if their
Temple had been desecrated and destroyed. “...we sang for joy.... Yes, the LORD has
done amazing things for us! What joy...!”
In the meantime, other observers commented:
“...What amazing things the LORD has done for them....” The people of Israel also knew
a sense of optimism and hope, as they once again planted in anticipation of a harvest.

Creative pause: Have you experienced a similar sense of spiritual joy and relief?

This is a psalm for all dreamers who dare to believe in a better and more holy future—
and also a psalm of hope for restoration and transformation under God’s guidance. It
is worth noting that even as they dreamed, they acted by planting seed for their future;
even if it meant sowing the seed as they cried tears of despair and of disillusionment.
In such a short psalm their repeated prayer to God becomes even more prominent:
“...Restore our fortunes, LORD, as streams renew the desert…” Yet it was only the faithful
God of their forebears who was able to create and renew their faith, dreams and hope.

Creative pause: God’s faithfulness creates and renews our faith, dreams and hope.

Also underpinning the theme of joy in this psalm is the role that our memory plays in our
spiritual life. The psalmist sang of their memories of harsh times of drought, deprivation
and utter hardship as yet again their crops failed; but he also sang of the joy that good
rains brought to their arid land. He sang, too, about the joys of remembering their worship
of God in the Temple; of God’s faithfulness in caring for them and bringing them home;
and how God’s grace was like the refreshing rains that gave them new hope. The Bible
translation I usually use does not use the word ‘home’, but “The Voice” translation reads:
“...Those who weep as they walk and plant with sighs, will return singing with joy, when
they bring home the harvest.”
3 Their personal and shared memories of ‘homecomings’ was
a source of hope, restoration and transformation of life and living - based on hope in God!

Creative pause: The blessings that memory brings to our spiritual life!

1 From “Together in Song” # 560
“All my hope on God is founded”
Trans by Robert Bridges 1844-1930 alt
Words in the Public Domain

2 “New Revised Standard Version” Bible:
Copyright © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education
of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

3 The Voice” Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc.
The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society
All rights reserved.

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:
© 2016 Joan Stott – ‘The Timeless Psalms’ RCL Psalms Year C. Used with permission.


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