A Call to Worship
After Pentecost 17C [Ordinary 24C] or [Proper 19C] 2016
Psalm 14

Renewing God, we gather to confess that we often forget that this is your world.
“…Let the whole world fear the LORD, and let everyone stand in awe of him…1

Revealing God, we give thanks for the reassurances that you are always in charge.
“...But the LORD’s plans stand firm forever; his intentions can never be shaken…”1

Forgiving God, we gather to receive forgiveness for our many sins, but especially
for our lack of trust that this always is God’s world where God is our Eternal Lover.
...the LORD watches over those…who rely on his unfailing love…He is our help
and our shield. Your unfailing love surrounds us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone...”
1 Amen.

Psalm 14
For the choir director: A psalm of David.

1 Only fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, and their actions are evil;
not one of them does good!

2 The Lord looks down from heaven
on the entire human race; he looks to see if anyone
is truly wise, if anyone seeks God.
3 But no, all have turned away; all have become corrupt.
No one does good, not a single one!
4 Will those who do evil never learn?
they eat up my people like bread and
wouldn’t think of praying to the Lord.

5 Terror will grip them, for God is with those who obey him.
6 The wicked frustrate the plans of the oppressed,
but the Lord will protect his people.
7 Who will come from Mount Zion to rescue Israel?
When the Lord restores his people,
Jacob will shout with joy, and Israel will rejoice.

Prayers of Lament and Confession
After Pentecost 17C [Ordinary 24C] or [Proper 19C] 2016
Psalm 14

Holy God, we your people gather to worship you, yet we are fully aware of our own
failures as your people, who are committed to worshipping you and serving in the
world; and to all with whom we share our lives. We have failed in so many ways,
through our half-hearted and self-centred acts of worship; through our failure to act
as an agent and witness to your liberating grace; and through our apathetic approach
to serving needy people. So often we forget that this is your world created in holy
love and mercy, and with grace and compassion for all who inhabit your creation—
as so often, we think of it as ours to exploit as we wish; and pay no heed to other
people’s needs or desires – and with no sense of responsibility towards our Maker.

Trustworthy God, we sincerely lament our sin as we fail to recognise what is God’s
plan for all creation, and especially for humanity. We confess that we are selective
in what we choose to believe about our Creator and God; that we are often unfair in
our dealing within relationships; and that we are intolerant in our attitudes on issues
that don’t personally affect us. We also confess that we have failed in many other ways
and that this must grieve the heart of the Almighty, because of our lack of vision; our
pessimism and inconsistency; our divisions and lack of unity; but especially for the
impoverishment of our worship. Yet our Gracious God still receives our prayers and
praises, and still empowers us with the Spirit! Forgive and renew us we pray, so that
we may honour and revere you as the Lord God of all things, past, present and future.

Forgiving God, we gather to receive forgiveness for our many sins, but especially for
our lack of trust that this always is God’s world where God is our Eternal Lover and
Liberator. We gather to rejoice and be glad because of God’s mercy toward repentant
people; and that there is a new start for us whenever we seek God’s forgiveness. We
give thanks as we remember that “...the LORD’s plans stand firm forever; his intentions
can never be shaken... the LORD watches over those who fear him, those who rely
on his unfailing love, What joy for the nation whose God is the LORD,...We put our
hope in the LORD. He is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust
in his holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, LORD, for our hope is in you alone...”
1 Amen.

A Personal Meditation
After Pentecost 17C [Ordinary 24C] or [Proper 19C] 2016
Psalm 14

Psalm 14 deals with people named ‘fools’ who were corrupt and evil, whilst “The
version refers thus to verse 1: “A wicked and foolish man truly believes
there is no God. They are vile, their sinfulness nauseating to their Creator; their
actions are soiled and repulsive; every deed is depraved; not one of them does
2 The people described have not only rejected God, or any potential for
a relationship with God; but they totally ignore God’s claim on them as their Creator.
The description of those ‘foolish’ people related to their intentionally evil depravity;
and their deliberate submerging of any compassion or tenderness towards the
victims of their evil hearts and minds; and no goodness remained in them at all.
It is one thing to be stupid or silly through lack of thought; but when there exists
no other purpose in their life but to be and do evil, then that surely breaks the
Creator’s heart! “...The Eternal...searches to see who understands true wisdom,
who desires to know the True God...and not one of them does good, not even one...”

Creative pause: Is that you understanding of today’s world and its people?

History teaches us that seldom is there an isolated leader who creates distress
and disaster on their own. It seems that when malicious evil or brutal exploitation
are the lowest common denominators, there are always plenty of people willing
to join in doing that evil; and the more depraved the evil, the better they like it!
They in turn coerce people to carry out their ‘dirty work’ for them, so people can
become tainted by the evil they are forced to perpetuate; and often against innocent
people. Another ‘thing’ that they apparently had in common was a total lack of love
or recognition of God or of their neighbours; and they made it clear that any moral,
ethical or religious concepts were abhorrent to them and without any value to them.
God-given emotions and instincts such as compassion and kindness were probably
lost forever by the wickedness that existed within them. “…The LORD looks down
from heaven … to see…if anyone seeks God…Will those who do evil never learn…?"

Creative pause: “....Will those who do evil never learn…?"

“…God is with those who obey him…..the Lord will protect his people…” Professor
Brueggemann suggests that these words are similar to other prophesies about the
return of Israel from exile in Babylon, which adds a new dimension to the first verses
of this psalm. Yet the compassionate care of God for oppressed and impoverished
people remains consistent with God’s love for all the worlds’ underprivileged people.
Jesus taught us these words: “...our Father already knows your needs. Seek the
Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t
be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom...”

Creative pause: “...Seek the Kingdom of God above all else...”3

1 Psalm 33: 8, 11, 18 20b, 22 (NLT)

2 “The Voice” Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc.
The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society
All rights reserved.

3 Luke 12: 30b-32 (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 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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