A Call to Worship
After Pentecost 20B [Ordinary 27B] or [Proper 22B] 2018
Psalm 26

We acknowledge that it not our own goodness that liberates us - but God’s!
Covenanting God: We are entirely dependent on your grace and mercy.

We admit that our love for God is not always steadfast, unfailing or loyal!
Covenanting God: We rejoice in God’s steadfast and unfailing love for us.

We confess that God’s covenantal and persistent love for us, makes our
response to that love both feeble and inconsistent – so in Jesus’ name, we
pray for mercy. LORD, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. LORD, have mercy.
Covenanting God: We give thanks and offer our praises that God is always
faithful, because of God’s unconditional and gentle tenderness towards us. Amen.

Psalm 26
A psalm of David.

1 Declare me innocent, O LORD,
for I have acted with integrity;
I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.
2 Put me on trial, LORD, and cross-examine me.
Test my motives and my heart.
3 For I am always aware of your unfailing love,
and I have lived according to your truth.

4 I do not spend time with liars or go along with hypocrites.
5 I hate the gatherings of those who do evil,
and I refuse to join in with the wicked.

6 I wash my hands to declare my innocence.
I come to your altar, O LORD,
7 singing a song of thanksgiving and telling of all your wonders.
8 I love your sanctuary, LORD,
the place where your glorious presence dwells.

9 Don’t let me suffer the fate of sinners.
Don’t condemn me along with murderers.
10 Their hands are dirty with evil schemes,
and they constantly take bribes.

11 But I am not like that; I live with integrity.
So redeem me and show me mercy.
12 Now I stand on solid ground, and I will publicly praise the LORD.

Prayers of Confession and Thankfulness
After Pentecost 20B [Ordinary 27B] or [Proper 22B] 2018
Psalm 26

God of liberation and forgiveness, this day we come before you as a community
of faith to acknowledge our dependence on you to forgive us of all our personal
and shared sin; and how we have failed in our commitment to you. No matter
how smugly we try to convince ourselves that we are ‘good’ people; that we love
God; that we love ourselves; and that we also love our neighbours; that is not
always true! We come with our regrets because we have failed you by not doing
as we promised you; and we have failed you and ourselves by doing the very
things we said we would never do! But above all, we have failed you because
of our lack of love and loving. We give thanks that we can unburden our hearts
and minds with our confessions to you; and that we can rest in your gentle and
forgiving assurance that God’s gracious mercy is greater than our sin and shame.

God of faithful and steadfast love, we come before you as a community of faith
who seem to have lost their way on faith’s journey. We each of us admit that our
love for God is not always steadfast, unfailing or loyal; that sometimes, we feel that
God is even cramping our style in life; with all the expectations you place upon us!
We protest that we are ‘only human’; as if that lets us off the hook with you! We
come to confess to you that we are guilty of many things that are sin-stained; that
our words, thoughts and actions have hurt people; and that we really regret our
insensitive behaviour towards vulnerable people. Cleanse and renew us, we pray.

God of unconditional and gentle tenderness, we gather as your people of faith, aware
of our sin and failings; our inconsistency and apathy when challenged by issues of
faith and culture; and our wilful insistence on going our own way and doing our own
thing! Generous God, in your mercy, hear our confessions and renew us with your
loving and gracious mercy. Today, we celebrate a new start in our faith journey; and
pray for guidance and blessing as we offer you our worship, witness and service;
and ask for the courage to cling to our faith in God’s unconditional tender love for us. Amen.

A Personal Meditation
After Pentecost 20B [Ordinary 27B] or [Proper 22B] 2018
Psalm 26

I find Psalm 26 both challenging and confusing, thankfully for me, there is always
Professor Walter Brueggemann! He writes that this psalm has five sections, with
the opening and closing verses 1-3, and 11-12 being a prayer by David for help—
asking YHWH to recognise and accept his integrity and his total commitment to
God. Verses 4-5, and 9-10 are about David’s enemies who were ‘out to get him’;
with the possibility that David had broken God’s covenant with Israel, by being with
covenant-denying people; and that he was in danger of being killed because of that.
David loved the sanctuary where YHWH’s “…glorious presence dwells…” and the
verses 6-8 speak of YHWH’s life-giving presence in the sanctuary; and how with
the “clean hands” of innocence, David could join the priests in their ritual procession
of praise to YHWH; walking around the altar singing: “…a song of thanksgiving
and telling of all your wonders…” “…Psalm 26 is a prayer for justice
[and] … is a
fervent prayer…”
[of] unwavering confession of faithfulness by the petitioner...”1

Creative pause: Where and when do you feel the closest to God’s “glorious presence”?

One challenging aspect of this psalm is the influence of others on the author; and the
threat that those questionable influences can pose. We each of us have many of our
own inner and outer challenges to daily contend with, which is why the same author
composed and sang Psalm 51! “Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing
love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean
from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognise my rebellion; it haunts me day and
2 If David had been influenced by ‘covenant-denying people’, it was not a lasting
influence, otherwise he could not have authentically worshipped God as it described in
“The Voice” version of this psalm: “…I wash my hands in the fountain of innocence so
that I might join the gathering that surrounds your altar, O Eternal One. From my soul,
I will join the songs of thanksgiving; I will sing and proclaim your wonder and mystery.
Your house, home to your glory, O Eternal One, radiates its light. I am fixed on this place
and long to be nowhere else….Here I stand secure and confident before all the people….”

Creative pause: How do we prepare ourselves as we gather to worship God?

Professor Brueggemann continues: “…The psalmist hopes for a life-giving encounter with
the covenant God. The speaker pleads on the basis of integrity but makes it clear that the
verdict is dependent on divine grace….A careful reading of the psalm suggests that it is
about a particular crisis and not a claim of sinlessness. The psalmist’s claim of integrity is
in the end based on divine initiative in a covenant relationship. That relationship makes
possible a life of integrity, a life of wholeness that is integrated rather than fragmented…”
We give thanks that the God whom we worship, blesses us with wholeness of life; life that
is life-giving and life-restoring through the forgiveness of any sin which we confess to God.

Creative pause: Our own verdict depends entirely on God’s gracious mercy and grace!

1 Text by Professor Walter Brueggemann
& William H Bellinger Junior from “Psalms”
Psalm 26, pages 134-136
© 2014 Cambridge University Press

2 Psalm 51: 1-3 (NLT)

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

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 help and inspiration so frequently available from the writings of Professor Walter Brueggemann and Professorial brothers Rolf and Karl Jacobson; and the resources from "The Text this Week" (Textweek).

If the Prayers and/or Meditation are used in shared worship, please provide this acknowledgement:
© 2018 Joan Stott –‘The Timeless Psalms’ RCL Psalms Year B. Based on verses from Psalm 26.
Used with permission.


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