A Call to Worship
Pentecost 15B [Ordinary 23B] or [Proper 18B] 2012
Psalm 125

Holy God, our Rock and our Security, we gather to worship you.
You are our Fortress, our Hiding Place, and our Eternal Home.

Trustworthy God, you are the very Foundation Stone of all love.
We gather to worship and praise your faithful and timeless name.

Surrounding and Sustaining God, today we gather to worship you,
because you are the Source of all life and love, and our eternal Hope.
Our relationship with our Gracious God is blessed and nurtured as
we freely seek to honour, worship and revere our Everlasting God. Amen.

Prayers of Trust and Petition
Pentecost 15B [Ordinary 23B] or [Proper 18B] 2012
Psalm 125

We come, our Unshakeable God, trusting in the stability that you
bring to our lives, as you are the Holy One, who welcomes us
into your presence with awe and wonder as we humbly offer
you our worship and our everlasting trust. As we come together,
the image before us is of a surrounding circle of hills which shield
your holy dwelling place from the storms that blow in from all
directions. The dwelling place of God – wherever it is - and
however we imagine it - is permanently secure and a shelter from
the storms of life, for all God’s faithful and committed children.

Welcoming God, as we continue in our life’s pilgrimage, there are
times when we feel almost overwhelmed by the stresses of life that
come from within and around us. Those problems that are brought
about through greed and ambition seem to be rampant amongst
individuals, groups, corporations and even nations, and we struggle
with the urge to beg God to remove them from our life and relationships.
Lord God, are the desires for peace and harmony selfish wishes? Are
we self-centred when we search for stability with nothing the trouble us?

Generous God, we know that you are the Loving Lord of all people,
yet we are troubled by the way people separate themselves from
God, and the impact that separation has on so many other people.
As the people of God travelled towards Jerusalem and their spiritual
home in the Temple, they cried out for God’s goodness to be especially
revealed to them, to give them hope and joy; and they thanked God for
their faith-filled expectation of God’s continuing goodness and mercy.
Help us, we pray, to rely always on God’s loving and eternal mercies. Amen.

A Personal Meditation
Pentecost 15B [Ordinary 23B] or [Proper 18B] 2012
Psalm 125

If I was asked to choose a personal symbol of security and stability, like
many people before me, I would choose the mountains, as they seem
so permanent, so strong and unshakable. They are also so much larger,
tougher and stronger in their appearances than me, probably because
of the rocks and minerals that are at their core. In the past, as I have
climbed some very small mountains, every step seemed to bring me ever
closer to God – that is, using the old three-tiered-layers concept of creation
with God residing in the space above me – yet the sense of God’s presence
did become more real to me, as if I were entering God’s own eternal space.

Creative pause: The symbols of God’s presence are very important to me.

I can imagine how eagerly the pilgrims strained their eyes for have their
first glimpse of these so-called mountains - as they were really only hills—
and especially how eager they were to see “Mount Zion”, with all its ancient
connections to King David, that had been his fortress and hiding place against
the armies of King Saul. They also celebrated with joy their very first glimpse
of the Temple, as it sheltered within the circle of those mountains, and the
spiritual significance it had to them of the stability and reality of God’s presence.

Creative pause: Do I always yearn to worship in God’s presence?

I sympathise with the honesty of the Psalmist as he begged God to rid the
world of the evil, even if it meant banishing people from God’s presence!
Do I also want God to do that? Can I rest easily with the thoughts that
some people do not deserve or need God’s loving compassion and care?
The excuse the Psalmist gave for such thoughts was so that Israel could
rest in peace and quietness – probably because of Israel’s traumatic past.
But is “peace at any price” an option for us? I believe that God loves the
“baddies” as much as the “goodies”. So if I ask God to remove all the evil in
that is around me – including people - am I willing to hear the cries of pain
the heart of God – that is, if I am so attuned to God that I could hear and feel
God’s pain? This is a difficult and reasonable question for me to ponder on!

Creative pause: In all my selfishness, am I prepared to cause God extra pain?

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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