A Call to Worship
Maundy Thursday Year A 2014
Psalm 116: 1-2, 12-19

We gather to call to you, Accessible God, and you bend to listen and answer us.
Yes! I will love the Lord my God! Yes! We will always love our Listening God.

We gather to thank you, Responding God, and so we promise to be faithful to you.
Yes! I will praise the Lord my God! Yes! We will always praise our Guiding God.

We gather to praise you, Saving God, and we vow to keep all we promised to God.
Yes! I will keep my vows to God! Yes! We will keep our vows to our Healing God—
for God even bends down to listen and answers our prayers. Yes! We praise the Lord. Amen.

Psalm 116: 1-2, 12-19

1 I love the LORD because he hears and answers my prayers.
2 Because he bends down and listens, I will pray as long as I have breath!

12 What can I offer the LORD for all he has done for me?
13 I will lift up a cup symbolizing his salvation;
I will praise the LORD's name for saving me.
14 I will keep my promises to the LORD in the presence of all his people.
15 The LORD's loved ones are precious to him; it grieves him when they die.
16 O LORD, I am your servant; yes, I am your servant,
the son of your handmaid, and you have freed me from my bonds!
17 I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD.
18 I will keep my promises to the LORD in the presence of all his people,
19 in the house of the LORD, in the heart of Jerusalem. Praise the LORD!

Prayers of Thankfulness
Maundy Thursday Year A 2014
Psalm 116: 1-2, 12-19

We gather to worship and thank our God, and to call on God to receive our
worship and praise, whilst trusting in God’s reliable attention to our needs.
Listening God, we know that we can rely on God, and every day we trust
in God to guide and bless us; yet, even as we offer our trust and reliance on
God, we are also acknowledging that by offering that faithfulness to God—
we are giving to God the very best that we have to offer. We come together
as people who are carrying inner wounds and regrets that linger to dull our
hearts and minds; yet, because of God’s great compassion and love for
wounded and remorseful people, we are always blessed with God’s healing.

Responding God, it is almost too much to ask or expect, yet we are assured
that God does hear our cries for help; that in reality, God is even pre-disposed
to hear us, even if it is our gasping last breath! The Psalmist was quite sure that!
“Because [God] bends down and listens, I will pray as long as I have breath!”
and so we join in with the Psalmist to praise and thank our God - “Praise the Lord!”

God of joy and hope, God of healing and encouragement, we offer our prayers
and our commitment to continue to share our mixed experiences of life with God—
and that not only will we pray, but also seek to listen for God’s guidance and help.
Just as the Psalmist shared his need “...in the presence of all his people...”, help
us to be sensitive to each other’s needs, so that we can offer support through our
prayers within the shared worship of our community of faith. May we also become
prayer-partners before God, so that together, we may faithfully support each other—
and through that mutual trust and praise, bring honour and glory to our listening God. Amen.

A Personal Meditation
Maundy Thursday Year A 2014
Psalm 116: 1-2, 12-19

The other day I was reflecting on love, life, worship and commitment to
God, and it suddenly occurred to me: “How do I know that I love God?”
Then I thought: “How do I know that I love my two daughters, my friends
and my extended family?” I just KNOW that I do! But, how do I know that?
One writer suggested that love is like being committed to an ongoing and
rich relationship, to which one is fully committed for all of life; one which is
acknowledged, accepted and expressed by and through a warm feeling
of deep affection, that is the result of a life-time’s experience. If that is what
love is – is that what I feel and know is true of my relationship with God?
Psalm 116 teaches us: “I love the Lord because he hears and answers
my prayers. Because he bends down and listens, I will pray as long as I
have breath...!
The “because” is the important element in that acclamation.

Creative pause: How would you describe love?

This thanksgiving Psalm that is always set for Maundy Thursday during Holy
Week may seem a strange choice by the people who arrange the Revised
Common Lectionary. Although the Psalm’s author thanked God for hearing
his personal request, this Psalm is not really about the past, but the future!
In the latter part of Psalm 116 the question is asked: “...What can I offer the
Lord for all he has done for me...?
Then follows a long list of “I will” promises
to God. To keep his promises the Psalmist was required to offer a sacrifice as
outlined in Leviticus 7: 11-16, thus he fulfilled the Law’s precise instructions
for a “thank-offering” or “fellowship offering”. Just any old gift could definitely
not be offered for this occasion, and certainly not the least coin in their currency!

Creative pause: Not “any old gift” is appropriate for God!

The author asked: “...What can I offer the Lord for all he has done for me...?
The author promised three things: The first: “...lift up a cup symbolizing his
Various interpretations are available as to the historical meaning
of the “cup of salvation” and that term was often associated with the scripture
readings about God’s creative powers, but some authors suggest that it means
a communal sharing of their spiritual destiny as God’s chosen people. The next:
“...I will praise/call on the Lord’s name for saving me...” This may sounds dull
and dreary, but it really means to shout or yell out your thanks to God! If that is
the case, why was he so pleased that God heard his cry? He was very pleased
because God had anticipated his own need, and was very attentive to his prayer!
And then finally: “...I will keep my promises to the Lord in the presence of all his
Within their culture, witnesses to vows, pledges or oaths were vital, as
few people could read any written vows, so witnesses confirmed all such promises.

Creative pause: God’s attentive anticipation created great joy for the supplicant!

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.

*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:
© 2014 Joan Stott – ‘The Timeless Psalms’ RCL Psalms Year A. Used with permission.


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