A Call to Worship
Pentecost 2B [Ordinary 10B] or [Proper 5B] 2015
Psalm 138

God of unfailing love, we come to worship and to give our heartfelt thanks to God.
We give thanks that we have been blessed by your grace and compassionate care.

God of all faithfulness, we come in reverence to sing our songs of praise to God.
We sing of your care, as throughout all the ages you have listened and blessed us.

God of enduring promises that are always to be trusted; as is the honour of God’s
holy name; and so we come to worship and give thanks for God’s liberating mercies.
In reverent awe, we humbly respond to God’s holiness even as we acknowledge our
need for God’s presence in our life, and for God’s right hand to guide and save us. Amen.

Psalm 138

1 I give you thanks, O LORD, with all my heart;
I will sing your praises before the gods.
2 I bow before your holy Temple as I worship.
I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness;
for your promises are backed by all the honour of your name.
3 As soon as I pray, you answer me;
you encourage me by giving me strength.

4 Every king in all the earth will thank you, LORD,
for all of them will hear your words.
5 Yes, they will sing about the LORD’s ways,
for the glory of the LORD is very great.
6 Though the LORD is great, he cares for the humble,
but he keeps his distance from the proud.

7 Though I am surrounded by troubles,
you will protect me from the anger of my enemies.
You reach out your hand,
and the power of your right hand saves me.

8 The LORD will work out his plans for my life—
for your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever.
Don’t abandon me, for you made me.

Prayers of Thankfulness and Trust
Pentecost 2B [Ordinary 10B] or [Proper 5B] 2015
Psalm 138

God of unfailing love, we come today to worship our God whose love is
beyond measure, and to give our heartfelt thanks in prayers and praises.
We give thanks that we have been blessed by God’s compassionate and
gracious care through all the ups and downs of life. We give thanks that
our Trustworthy God is always ready to hear our prayers and our anxious
thoughts, and that there is never any doubt about God ever abandoning
us to the results of our thoughtless or irreverent acts; and that God’s love
for each of us is such that it is backed by the honour of God’s holy name.

God of all faithfulness, we reverently come to sing our songs of praise to
God as we celebrate and sing of God’s great care for God’s people since
the beginning of time; and we claim God’s promises of that faithful care
and blessings continuing to be real and to grow throughout all the ages to
come! We give thanks for those times when we have been surrounded by
troubles and we have cried out to God in our need, that God has heard and
answered our prayers; and that God’s hand has reached out to steady us
when we have faltered. These special gifts from God have indeed blessed us.

Awesome God, in reverent awe we humbly respond to God’s holiness even
as we acknowledge our need for God’s continuing presence in our life, and
for that reassuring protection we have through God’s presence with us. God’s
care and compassion, especially for humble and needy people, is so comforting,
because no matter whatever is our religious, social, political or financial situation—
each of us are vulnerable in various ways and at different times. “...Lord, you
have been our dwelling-place in every generation; your people have received
your grace, and blessed your consolation; through every age you heard our
cry; through every age we found you nigh, our strength and our salvation….”
1 Amen.

A Personal Meditation
Pentecost 2B [Ordinary 10B] or [Proper 5B] 2015
Psalm 138

I have a deep love of the Psalms and the way they so honestly dealt with
their own failings and unfaithfulness, but also and especially in the way they
celebrated those times of their faithful commitment to God. To me, the Psalms
seem to be a microcosm of the story of the entire Old Testament, with their
see-sawing experiences of faithfulness and faithlessness to God; and the
way God dealt with the people of Israel – or perhaps – the way they brought
troubles back onto themselves; and eventually, they learned the bitter lessons
of regret and penitence; and finally forgiveness through God’s gracious mercy.
Psalm 138 is a psalm that celebrates God’s special care for the “forgotten”
people, whose humble lifestyles are normally ignored by the “powers that be”.

Creative pause: This psalm celebrates God’s special care for the “forgotten” people.

As with national, regional or community life, there often comes a challenging
“nudge” to life, that causes an immediate rethink of one’s communal priorities—
so it is in personal situations, when that “nudge” reminds us of our own humanity!
As I experienced, that can happen through broken marriages or relationships;
through one’s illness - or more challengingly - through the illness of an offspring
either as a child and/or as an adult! Those “nudges” are often an opportunity
that God grasps to remind us of our need for God, and what God can gift to us
through hope, faith, encouragement or even simply through struggling. The people
of Psalm 138 had been “nudged” very firmly, and God had blessed them in their
response to those challenges as they rediscovered their faith and worshipping life.

Creative pause: God grasps opportunities when “life" gives us a “nudge”.

Professor Walter Brueggemann states: “...Liberation from crisis has a stunning
effect on worship. YHWH
[God], who is above all, comes down to those who are
lowly and troubled and raises them up to new life - in contrast to the arrogant

in verve 6 [‘but he keeps his distance from the proud,’] who will not publicly claim
their pain and seek divine help...”
2 This concept is quite revolutionary – that God
actually cares for the humble, whom the rich and powerful usually discount as of
no value to the overall scheme of things, as according to their personal views and
understanding - in their often isolated life experienced of power and great privilege.
“The seeds of social transformation and historical inversion are present when this
agenda is articulated...” “...Heaven and earth are now on notice because of quite
concrete experiences. A new regime us underway that no longer permits lowly people
to be trampled. Because YHWH makes the move, everything else will have to change...”

Creative pause: “...A new regime us underway...”3

1 From “Together in Song” # 144
“Lord, you have been our dwelling place”
Words by Thomas Hornblower Gill (alt)
Words in the Public Domain

2 Text by Professor Walter Brueggemann
& William H Bellinger Junior
from “Psalms” Psalm 138, page 579
© 2014 Cambridge University Press

3 Text by Professor Walter Brueggemann
from “The Message of the Psalms”
Chapter 4, page 132
©1984 Augsburg Publishing House
Minneapolis MN 55440, USA

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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