A Call to Worship
Pentecost 18A [Ordinary 28A] or [Proper 23A] 2014
Psalm 106: 1-6, 19-23

We gather together to praise the Lord God, and to rejoice in God’s steadfast love.
We come to share together to celebrate God’s faithfulness and God’s enduring love.

We gather to remember with joy, God’s acts of liberating love, mercy and grace
We come to share together in the joy of being God’s forgiven and blessed people.

We gather to give thanks for the glorious miracles of the Lord our God who is so
good, and to rejoice in our heritage, even if that is tarnished by our sin and failings.
We come to share together the way we have fallen short in our commitment to God
and to confess these failings; but we are confident of the mercy of our Forgiving God. Amen.

Psalm 106: 1-6, 19-23

1 Praise the LORD! Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.
2 Who can list the glorious miracles of the LORD?
Who can ever praise him half enough?
3 Happy are those who deal justly with others and always do what is right.
4 Remember me, too, LORD, when you show favour to your people;
come to me with your salvation.
5 Let me share in the prosperity of your chosen ones.
Let me rejoice in the joy of your people;
let me praise you with those who are your heritage.

6 Both we and our ancestors have sinned.
We have done wrong! We have acted wickedly!
19 The people made a calf at Mount Sinai;
they bowed before an image made of gold.
20 They traded their glorious God for a statue of a grass-eating ox!
21 They forgot God, their saviour,
who had done such great things in Egypt –
22 such wonderful things in that land,
such awesome deeds at the Red Sea.
23 So he declared he would destroy them.
But Moses, his chosen one, stepped between the LORD and the people.
He begged him to turn from his anger and not destroy them.

Prayers of Confession and Petition
Pentecost 18A [Ordinary 28A] or [Proper 23A] 2014
Psalm 106: 1-6, 19-23

We gather together to praise the Lord our God, and to rejoice and celebrate
in God’s faithful, steadfast and enduring love for all creation, and especially
God’s love for humanity. Yet, we also come to God with our confessions of
sin and failure. We may not have created and worshipped a golden calf, like
our long-ago forebears in the faith did, but we have all found other causes,
objects or desires to which we give our first, and even our second allegiances.
We also may not have been as open about our sin as those early pilgrims, yet
“…all have sinned; all fall short of God's glorious standard…”1; so we come
to our Loving God, seeking merciful forgiveness; and a renewed purpose in our
life as God’s people in this day and age, as witnesses to God’s great goodness.
“...Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever....”

We gather today to remember with joy God’s acts of liberating love, mercy and
grace to us individually and collectively, as we share in the joy of being God’s
forgiven and blessed people. As we gather together, those shared experiences
of giving thanks remind us of our frailty as human beings, and how easily we
become vulnerable to temptations. We pray for strength to overcome those
temptations posed by those interests and desires that have earlier trapped us.
Help us to always remember the pain and sorrow that we cause through our sin—
not only to ourselves, but also to others; and always to the grieving heart of God.
“...Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever....”

We give thanks for the people who have influenced us in our faith journey, and
we celebrate their loving support and encouragement throughout our lifetime.
We give thanks too, for those people to whom we can go for counselling, when
we have failed and fallen again into past sinful ways. We give thanks that they
help us to find the way back to you, our Loving and Forgiving God; and that by
their very presence near to us, they act as a guide to more a fruitful life and more
loving relationships. Yet, with the best of intentions and loving encouragement—
we still fail, and so Generous God, we come to you this day seeking forgiveness.
With full confidence in God’s goodness, we rise up again with renewed strength
as we sing and say in all sincerity and trust: “Thanks be to God we are forgiven!
...Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever....”

A Personal Meditation
Pentecost 18A [Ordinary 28A] or [Proper 23A] 2014
Psalm 106: 1-6, 19-23

Psalms 78, 105, 106, 107, 135 and 136 all recorded Israel’s long story of God’s
relationship with them as a nation, and of their relationship with God. It was not
always a “pretty picture” that these psalms painted, as the people were always
brutally honest about themselves and their past failures! Psalm 106 started like
105 as they gave thanks for God’s great goodness and mercy; but unlike in 105,
they also described with their memories and experiences of their past failures.
These were particularly painful memories to them all, as once again, they were
all sharing in the results of that shared sin by being in exile in Babylon! Far from
their homeland, far from the physical reminders of their beloved place of worship;
and far from the encouragement they received through their memories of God’s
goodness to them, they once again languished in exile in another foreign land!
Unlike in Psalm 105, where they joyfully celebrated their defining moments of
God’s blessings upon them, now they mourned their foolish rejection of God.

Creative pause: Regret and remorse are important ingredients in any “humble pie”.

When leading workshops on personal development, I often ask people to create
a simple timeline using a straight line divided into decades to chart their life’s
spiritual and relationship journey; with spikes above or below the line to show when
they experienced life’s “ups and downs”. I then ask the people to draw more spikes
above or below the line that reflected their “personal growth” times. Quite frequently,
those “growth” times coincided with their “down” times! That same exercise would
have helped the people of Israel to better understand their periods of being in a
healthy relationship with God, and the times when they failed God, and themselves!

Creative pause: Would your life’s timeline be a smooth straight line or a spiked line?

“Remembering” was the theme of those psalms, as they recorded Israel’s history of
failing and ignoring God, and the comparison between their own failures and God’s
faithfulness to them. Their own determined stubbornness was also highlighted as
compared to God’s patience and loving concern for their welfare and their long-term
future! I do most of my “remembering” at night whilst lying quietly in bed, and God’s
goodness and mercy always becomes the highpoint of my “remembering”. I also use
that time to “remember” the people who have guided and blessed me, and give God
my thanks for their influences on my life. God’s love and mercy becomes very real to
me as I reflect on the people God has given to me as guides, family and friends; and
the helpful counsellors who encourage me to a better way to live with God’s blessings.

Creative pause: Remembering can be very painful, but it can also be instructive.

1 Romans 3: 23 (NLT)

Unless stated otherwise, all Bible readings and extracts used in these weekly Prayers and
Meditations are from the ‘New Living Translation’, © 1996. Copyright. All rights reserved.
Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189 USA.

*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:
© 2014 Joan Stott – ‘The Timeless Psalms’ RCL Psalms Year A. Used with permission.


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