A Call to Worship
Passion Sunday, Lent 6A 2014
Psalm 31: 9-15

Merciful God, in our deep distress we come to you, we need
to be sure of your presence with us, even as we worship you.
Be for us1 our Consolation and Strength to raise us up again.

Trustworthy God, in our misery and rejection, to come to you—
as you alone know the deep pain that is in our hearts and minds.
Be for us1 the Accepting and Healing God we know you always are.

Rescuing God, we remember with gratitude the many times you
have blessed us and lifted us out of our despair and renewed us.
Be for us1 the Source of wisdom; our Comforter from the past; and
the Energiser that encourages us to action in God’s Holy Name. Amen.

Psalm 31: 9-15

9 Have mercy on me, LORD, for I am in distress.
My sight is blurred because of my tears.
My body and soul are withering away.
10 I am dying from grief; my years are shortened by sadness.
Misery has drained my strength; I am wasting away from within.
11 I am scorned by all my enemies and despised by my neighbors –
even my friends are afraid to come near me.
When they see me on the street, they turn the other way.
12 I have been ignored as if I were dead, as if I were a broken pot.
13 I have heard the many rumors about me, and I am surrounded by terror.
My enemies conspire against me, plotting to take my life.
14 But I am trusting you, O LORD, saying, "You are my God!"
15 My future is in your hands.
Rescue me from those who hunt me down relentlessly.

Prayers of Lament and Trust
Passion Sunday, Lent 6A 2014
Psalm 31: 9-15

Merciful God, we come to you with our pain and distress because there
is no one else to whom we can go who hears our cries as you do; and
there is no one else with whom we can be so honest! We know from past
experiences of grief and loss, that we can rely on your loving support and
inspiration to enable us to see our way through this difficult problem; and
to guide us on a path to truth, understanding and acceptance again. Be for
us1 this day, our Consolation and Strength to empower us to carry on in the
way you have called us to follow, and help us to faithfully love and serve you.

Trustworthy God, in our misery and rejection we come to you as life as we
have known it in the past has been devalued, due to the words and actions
of thoughtless people; and you alone know the way forward for your people.
Help us to give thanks for the precious memories we have of happier times
spent in worship of you when all was well. We are very conscious of the deep
anger that burns in our hearts and minds, because something precious has
been taken from us. We give thanks that we can come to God in prayer not
only with our hands open in acceptance; but that we can also come to God
in prayer with our fists clenched in anger. Accepting and Abiding God, be with
us we pray, as the One who opens our hands in acceptance of life and love.

Rescuing God, be for us1 this day, the Source of wisdom; our Comforter from
the past; and the Energiser that encourages us to action in God’s Holy Name.
We remember with gratitude the many times you have blessed us and lifted us
out of our despair and renewed us, and that gives us the courage to come to
you. Saving God, regardless of the past, in awed reverence we bring to you our
hopes and dreams and we ask that you help us to go forward into the future;
and in trust, to hold on tightly to God’s guiding, blessing and strengthening hand. Amen.

A Personal Meditation
Passion Sunday, Lent 6A 2014
Psalm 31: 9-15

Psalm 31 was the a personal lament of a man whose health and life was
under direct threat, but it was also a statement of trust and faith in God.
The author had honestly looked at his life, his age, and his potentially
imminent death, and he has told God just how he really felt physically,
emotionally and spiritually. As he introduced his problems to God, in his
frail mental and physical health he cried out: “Lord....be for me a great
rock of safety...”
1 That was the yearning cry of desperate man for a sense
of a deeper knowledge and understanding God’s steadfastness love and
faithfulness. He had lived all his life within the circle of God’s “…unfailing
and he trusted in that love of God as he cried out: “Save me…”
He prayed through his doubts and fears until he was able to let go, and let
God be God - whatever that meant to him in his growing experiences of God!

Creative pause: What does it really mean to “let God be God”?

I believe that the term/expression of God’s love as being “steadfast” has
often been overlooked in its importance in favour of the concept of the
“faithfulness” of God. The dictionary lists a lot of “un” words to help describe
what “steadfast” means: “unwavering”; “unfaltering”, “unswerving”; “unyielding”;
and “unquestioning”. It seems that it is easier to use the prefix “un” attached to
other words, to reach into the depths of such a description as it is associated
with God’s love for creation, and in particular, for humanity. How extraordinarily
blessed are we to be so loved by God in such a “steadfast” and glorious way!

Creative pause: The steadfast love of God is almost too good to be true!

The Psalmist’s prayer for God’s help was also a personal or shared invitation
to people of all ages, into an endless exploration of the depths of the infinite
mystery of God; plus it is an introduction to countless prayers that explore the
being and nature of the God, who can and will meet all of our spiritual needs.
After praying and thinking about all his fears, age and ailments, the author used
one of two of the most amazing words in all the Psalms – “but” - or “yet”! And
despite his frail health, he clung to God saying: "...But, I am trusting you,...You
are my God! My future is in your hands....” “But”
and “yet” acknowledge the inner
potential spiritual changes that we experience: from anxiety to acceptance; from
fear to courage; from anger to relief and peace; and from doubts to trust in God.

Creative pause: “But” and “yet” acknowledges our potential spiritual changes.

1 Psalm 31:2b-3 (NLT)

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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