A Call to Worship
Pentecost 12B [Ordinary 20B] or [Proper 15B] 2015
Psalm 34: 9-14

Come, let us gather and learn what it really means to be in awe of the Lord God.
We gather to praise our God, whose holiness and grace enables our freedom.

Come, let us with confidence revere and gives thanks to the Lord, our Holy God.
We gather to worship our God who hears our cries for help and responds in love.

Come, let us gather in worship and praise of our Awesome God, and celebrate
the peace that is given to those people who trust in God’s faithfulness and mercy.
We gather to celebrate the wonders of our Lord and God, whose faithful mercy
is extended to all who call on the Lord for help, and who blesses them with peace. Amen.

Psalm 34: 9-14
A psalm of David, regarding the time he pretended
to be insane in front of Abimelech, who sent him away.

9 Fear the LORD, you his godly people,
for those who fear him will have all they need.
10 Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,
but those who trust in the LORD will lack no good thing.

11 Come, my children, and listen to me,
and I will teach you to fear the LORD.
12 Does anyone want to live a life
that is long and prosperous?
13 Then keep your tongue from speaking evil
and your lips from telling lies!
14 Turn away from evil and do good.
Search for peace, and work to maintain it.

Prayers of Thankfulness and Trust
Pentecost 12B [Ordinary 20B] or [Proper 15B] 2015
Psalm 34: 9-14

Holy and Righteous God, no matter how long we have travelled the path of
being in fellowship with God and with other believers, there are always new
lessons to learn, new experiences to grow through; and new understandings
of what it means to “fear the Lord”. We acknowledge that there are many ways
to be fearful, especially when we fear God’s powers; when we fear that God
does not love or forgive us; or when we fear about our failure in following God’s
ways. We give thanks that however we may “fear” God, we can also experience
deep awe and reverence for God and for God’s holiness, faithfulness and mercy.
Help us to grow through these “fears” so that we may be nurtured in the faith,
hope and love that God gives to God’s faithful people; so that we may worship
and honour our Awesome God, and find and know God’s peace deep within us.

Trustworthy God, we give thanks for the many lessons you teach us about who
God is; what God is; how God is made known to us; and how we can trust in
those lessons; and thereby follow the pathway in life you have set before us.
Help us, we pray, when choosing our life’s priorities, that we follow your lessons—
so that we will be an influence for good in the world in which we live; and that we
may not be a faulty guide to vulnerable people who trust us to be their mentor.

Abiding God, we give thanks for the trust you inspire within us; for the gifts of
hope with which you bless us; and the abundance you bestow upon us through
your unstinted love. Generous God, help us to be very sure of what we really
“need” in life, and then in confidence, to ask God to provide it for us. We give
thanks for the Lord our God who hears our cries for help and responds in love
and compassion, providing us with all we “need”. Help us to always trust in God’s
answers to our prayers; and to search for God’s “peace, and work to maintain it.” Amen.

A Personal Meditation
Pentecost 12B [Ordinary 20B] or [Proper 15B] 2015
Psalm 34: 9-14

These selected verses produce many challenges, with the concept of a teacher
imparting wisdom to students to guide them into the future! Yet, it is addressed to
those people we would refer to as “saints”, as per the New Testament definition of
saints, or godly people. These words are not another version of the “prosperity gospel”
where there is an inbuilt belief that if you love and serve God, you will prosper and
receive financial blessings/windfalls, because God wills that to be so for you. Instead,
I believe that the reverent and awed worship of God creates a different set of priorities,
where we are so enriched by the wonder and glory of God’s compassionate love
for people who are weak and underprivileged, that we reorient our thinking and living
to a different understanding of what one’s own “needs” are. We read: “...those who
trust in the LORD will lack no good thing....”
This is not a claim that Christians will
never experience or suffer from pain or loss; but rather, through God’s grace and
their own chosen priorities, they deal with life and its challenges in a spiritual way
of trusting in God; and faithfully revering God in private and in communal worship.

Creative pause: What are your priorities as defined by your reverent awe of God?

Commentators differ in their understanding of what is implied in the words “...Even
strong young lions sometimes go hungry…”
Some see it as an analogy referring to
invading and conquering powers being defeated (which may explain the “troubles” in
verse 6 of the psalm: “...In my desperation I prayed, and the LORD listened; he saved
me from all my troubles...”)
Other commentators explain this as self-sufficiency, where
in lean times, even lions also go hungry and when that is so they are often dangerous;
or it is a reversal of one’s fortunes in life, which meant that people who were hungry and
poor may be granted a better deal in life. However we interpret the “lion” reference—
we can take comfort in the next words: “…those who trust in the LORD will lack no good
thing. Come, my children…”
The teacher again encouraged his people to revere and
honour God by living out their priorities, gratitude and thankfulness for God’s goodness.

Creative pause: What “good things” do we gain because of our trust in God?

The author then asked a basic question, and then gave his answer. ”... Does anyone
want to live a life that is long and prosperous...?”
What do you really want from life?
His advice was to guard your tongue, as the Bible is full of examples of misspoken
or “oops” words! The author then moved on from words to actions, urging his listeners
to “...do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it...” This sounds like an early
version of “the fruits of the Holy Spirit” – that is - “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
1 God blesses us with these gifts
as we in trust, worship God in reverent awe, and to sing and prayers of thankfulness.

Creative pause: How do we “search for peace and work to maintain it”..?

1 Galatians 5: 22b-2a (NLT)

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 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:
© 2015 Joan Stott – ‘The Timeless Psalms’ RCL Psalms Year B. Used with permission.


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