A Call to Worship
After Pentecost 14C [Ordinary 21C] or [Proper 16C] 2016
Psalm 71: 1-6

Steadfast God, your holy presence is our security and always, our only hope.
All praise be to you our God, because of your great love for all your creation.

Listening God, you hear all our cries and share our joys – and we thank you.
All glory and honour to you our God, because of your great love for all of us.

Faithful God, our Rock and Redeemer, we come to worship and praise you for
your constant love and reliable strength when we are feeling empty and broken.
Loving God, when our reserves of inner strength are empty and life is a constant
struggle, then we especially revere your holy name and all that it means to us. Amen.

Psalm 71: 1-6

O Lord, I have come to you for protection; don’t let me be disgraced.
2 Save me and rescue me, for you do what is right.
Turn your ear to listen to me, and set me free.

3 Be my rock of safety where I can always hide.
Give the order to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.
4 My God, rescue me from the power of the wicked,
from the clutches of cruel oppressors.

5 O Lord, you alone are my hope.
I’ve trusted you, O Lord, from childhood.
6 Yes, you have been with me from birth;
from my mother’s womb you have cared for me.
No wonder I am always praising you!

Prayers of Petition
After Pentecost 14C [Ordinary 21C] or [Proper 16C] 2016
Psalm 71: 1-6

Listening God, you hear us when we call on you - whether we are in need or we are
celebrating the joys of life – and for this blessing, we give you our thanks and praise.
All-Compassionate God, today we bring our prayers of petition to you, as we recognise
and are challenged by the troubles of our world and its nations; and for all its peoples:
God, be fullness of life – to all who are depressed, distressed, bewildered or tormented;
God, be freedom - for all peoples who are oppressed, persecuted, abused or exploited;
God, be healing - for all who are ill, injured, damaged, broken or frail in mind or body;
God be a refuge, a safe haven and a sheltered harbour - when life’s storms engulf us.

God, you alone are our hope when our reserves of inner strength are empty and we
have reached rock-bottom - when life seems pointless, or we are too stressed to cope.
All-Merciful God, today we bring our prayers of petition to you, as we are concerned
about the emotional stresses upon relationships between nations; and their peoples:
God, be serenity - to all leaders of nations who are anxious or troubled for their people;
God be quietness – to people who are overwhelmed by the noise and stresses of life;
God be tranquillity and calmness – to people overcome by violence or who live in fear;
God, be a companion and comfort - to all people who are grieving or experiencing loss;
God, be hope - for people who believe there is no hope, expectation or future for them;
God, be rest and respite - for people who feel weary, drained of energy, or exhausted;
God, be hospitality and a welcome – for people who have been rejected or abandoned.

God, our Rock and our Redeemer, the One who is steady and secure, when all around
us seems brittle; and the usual foundations of our life are shaken and about to crumble.
All-Loving God, today we bring our prayers of petition to you, because we know there are
people for whom life is an unbearable burden; and who think there is never help for them:
God, be strength and effectiveness - for all who are elderly, weak, fragile, aged or infirm;
God, be their security, protection and confidence – when people are frightened or scared;
God, be a home - for people who are homeless, refugees; displaced and stateless peoples;
God, be presence – for people are lonely and isolated; who feel they have been abandoned;
God, be faithfulness and steadfast love – for people whose faith is weak, lost or shattered;
God be peacefulness – for people who want to die soon; or who are very frightened of dying.
O God, our God, you are our hiding place, our secure rock, our fortress and our only hope. Amen.

A Personal Meditation
After Pentecost 14C [Ordinary 21C] or [Proper 16C] 2016
Psalm 71: 1-6

Like many children, when I was little, my brothers and I had a favourite game
of playing ‘hidey’ in a favoured ‘hidey- hole’ in our home. Each night, when our
father was due home from work, we used to hide in the hope that he was not
too tired to enter into our game, as he pretended to search for us. Then, with
much noise and a great deal of blindness, he would search and search for us,
until finally, our giggles always gave away our particular hiding place. Whenever
I read this psalm, and its words: “...Be my rock of safety where I can always hide…”
I am reminded of my strong yet gentle father, always finding us wherever we had
been hiding - secure in the knowledge that even in the darkest hiding place, he
was there for us, and with us in our games and in our living. I join with the psalmist
as I pray: “Be my rock and my hiding place... for you are my rock and my fortress…”

Creative pause: Be for me always, O God, my Rock and hiding place.

The popular ‘in’ words these days seems to be ‘protection’ and ‘security’ and they
seem to cover all aspects of life and living! The security of our health and body
seems to rank highly, judging by the record sales of products that support one’s
health and wellbeing, such as the additives of vitamins, herbal and ‘natural’ remedies.
Then there are the insurance policies that cover accidents and unexpected health
emergences. Personal security of life and property seems important too. If one’s
nation is prosperous enough, there are often social security benefits for vulnerable
people. Nationally, great expenses are incurred to protect our borders against
unknown or unexpected threats; and their ‘defence budgets’ are usually astronomical
as nations prepare for attacks from any direction. Do all these measures for ‘security’
and ‘protection’ make us feel any less vulnerable as individuals or as nations; or in
political alliances between like-minded nations or continents if they are threatened?

Creative pause: Be for me always, O God, my true protection and security.

The are some significant words of faith and trust in the security and protection found
by sheltering in God’s near presence in these few selected verses: “O Lord, you alone
are my hope…I have come to you for protection… Save me and rescue me…Be my
rock of safety where I can always hide…. for you are my rock and my fortress…”
faith and trust was grounded in the covenant relationship between God and the people
of Israel; and was also grounded in years of experience of God’s saving grace and mercy
towards them as a community of faith. Brueggemann likens God to a trusted midwife,
who worked in co-operation with the pregnant woman to ensure a safe delivery of the
new-born baby; and who continued to have oversight over the child as it grows. Along
with the sense of security found in hiding within God’s care and embrace, the imagery
of God’s postnatal care of the maturing people of Israel is insightful and very reassuring.

Creative pause: Be for me always, O God, the One I have always trusted.

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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