A Call to Worship
Pentecost 10B [Ordinary 18B] or [Proper 13B] 2012
Psalm 51: 1-12

Holy God, we come to that overflowing fountain of your grace,
seeking to be washed clean of all that stains our life and living.
Create in us new and clean hearts, and restore our joy in you.

Purifying God, we come to the Quiet Centre of your Being,
asking that you will remove all that defiles us in our inner life.
Create in us a desire to enter an obedient relationship with you.

Generous God, we come to the abundant supply of your mercy,
needing a new start of joy and peace, in a new beginning with you.
Create in us an openness to you, and to your pure ways of loving. Amen.

Prayers of Lament and Confession
Pentecost 10B [Ordinary 18B] or [Proper 13B] 2012
Psalm 51: 1-12

Grace-giving God, with hearts and minds that are heavy with guilt
and regret, we come to worship the God-of-new-beginnings; the
God who offers each one of us a second, and even a third chance to
live a life that is acceptable and pure in God’s sight. No one can be
more aware of our own failings and our secret sins than we are, and
so we come - individually and collectively - seeking your merciful grace.

Stain-removing God, come now, we pray, into the depths of our beings
to clean out all that contaminates our thoughts and our actions, and
our negative attitudes towards others and ourselves. As we come in
confession before you, help us to remember that even though we are
sin-stained, we are still your beloved children, who when we repent of
our foolishness are so generously, are welcomed back home to God.

Beckoning God, with the promise of being restored to the right spirit of joy—
we come again to you, believing that God’s thorough cleansing of our
lives will make us acceptable again in your sight. In trusting hope, we
believe that in your generosity, you will not banish us from your presence.
Instead, you offer us health and wholeness of mind, spirit and emotions,
so that not only will we have a right relationship with our God, but also a
right and healthy relationship with God’s people and God’s world. O God,
as you have asked of us - so we have been honest with you; therefore, in
faith and hope, we come to you to learn more of your lessons about how to
live pure, wise and healthy lives, all within the circle of your accepting love. Amen.

A Personal Meditation
Pentecost 10B [Ordinary 18B] or [Proper 13B] 2012
Psalm 51: 1-12

Scholars estimate that this Psalm was written about 990 BC,
when cloth was very expensive, and great care was taken to
preserve the condition of any clothing. The image the Psalmist
used for God washing away the stains of sin is a quite familiar
progression of washing styles. Firstly, there was the “dabbing”
at the surface stain, such as when we dribble food down our
“front”, and a serviette is used to try to remove it. When that
failed, the next attempt to remove the supposed surface stain,
was by holding the cloth and pouring water through the stain.
Finally, when all else has been tried and failed, strong detergent,
made from the herb hyssop was used. However, if they did their
washing by the river banks, grinding out the stain upon the river
rocks was the final method used, with the river-flow flushing out
the stains. The Psalmist does not suggest a final method - to dye
the whole garment – possibly the same colour as the ugly stain!
I give heartfelt thanks that God does not choose that final method
of dyeing our whole lives with that deadly colour of many sin stains.

Creative pause: I thank God that I am not condemned deadly darkness.

When, after repeated attempts to remove a stain have failed, that
garment’s value is lost, and it was either thrown out as waste, or cut
up for cleaning rags, neither of which was its intended usage. Whilst
there is some value in soft polishing cloths, that is only a substitute for
its intended purpose as woven cloth. When our lives are ruined by
the stains of sinfulness, we do not reach our potential, or develop the
way God created us to become. How many lives are “wasted” when
people fail in this way? Just like old discarded cloths, we only have
limited use or purpose, even though originally in God’s eyes, they/we
were very valuable and highly prized and dearly loved by our God.

Creative pause: Are we only a substitute for our real value?

Unless stated otherwise, all Bible readings and extracts used in these weekly Prayers and Meditations are from
‘The New Revised Standard Version’ Copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council
of the Churches of Christ in the USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

*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:
© 2012 Joan Stott – ‘The Timeless Psalms’ RCL Psalms Year B. Used with permission.


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