A Call to Worship
After Pentecost 22C [Ordinary 29C] or [Proper 24C] 2016
Psalm 119: 97-104

Living God, we are delighted to gather this day to worship and praise you.
“...Let everything that breathes, sing praises to the Lord! Praise the Lord!”1

Loving God, we joyfully gather this day to honour and celebrate our God.
“Oh the joys of those who ...delight in the law of the Lord, day and night.”2

Ever-Present God, with humility we gather this day to revere the miraculous
ways of our God, because our God continues to come with us day and night.
“....the Lord watches over the path of the godly…they are like trees planted
along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither…”
2 Amen.

Psalm 119: 97-104

97 Oh, how I love your instructions!
I think about them all day long.
98 Your commands make me wiser than my enemies,
for they are my constant guide.
99 Yes, I have more insight than my teachers,
for I am always thinking of your laws.
100 I am even wiser than my elders,
for I have kept your commandments.
101 I have refused to walk on any evil path,
so that I may remain obedient to your word.
102 I haven’t turned away from your regulations,
for you have taught me well.
103 How sweet your words taste to me;
they are sweeter than honey.
104 Your commandments give me understanding;
no wonder I hate every false way of life.

Prayers of Praise and Thankfulness
After Pentecost 22C [Ordinary 29C] or [Proper 24C] 2016
Psalm 119: 97-104

Ever-Living God, it is with delight that we join with members of our faith community
to worship and praise you. We gladly respond to the psalmist’s invitation “...Let
everything that breathes sing praises to the LORD! PRAISE THE LORD!”
1 Today, we
give thanks that we can celebrate the freedom we have to worship our God in peace
and security; and because of this, we pray for God’s blessings and mercies on our
sisters and brothers who do not have this special blessing. We give thanks that we
have access to many versions of your Holy Word, and also in our preferred language;
and we again give thanks that we can pray at any time or in any place; and especially
in those private places where we have known and felt God’s holy presence with us.

Ever-Present God, we also gather this day with a strong sense of personal and yet
shared humility, because we have been blessed in so many ways by God’s generosity,
encouragement and mercy. Today, we give thanks and revere your Holy Name because
of the miraculous ways of our God, because our God continues to come to us day and
night. We also give thanks that God comes to us in our times of both doubt and certainty;
and we especially give thanks for those times when God is very near to us in times of
fear or grief, pain or suffering. We also give heartfelt thanks for God’s sacred promises
that have brought comfort and consolation to countless people throughout all of time.

Ever-Watchful God, we give thanks this day for the good news that “...the Lord watches
over the path of the godly…”
and that we can claim that holy nearness. We give thanks
for our forebears who kept their faith in God and who have given us a spiritual heritage;
and for our mentors who have prayed for us and guided us in our faith journey. We pray
that we may also be mentors to other young believers, and to faithfully guide and bless
them. We praise you, Generous God, that we can be part of a community of faith who
supports and encourages us, and who accepts us despite our sin and failings. Forgiving
God, we give thanks that we worship a God who hears our personal and shared regrets
and confessions, and who enables us to continue to grow in the knowledge of our God. Amen.

A Personal Meditation
After Pentecost 22C [Ordinary 29C] or [Proper 24C] 2016
Psalm 119: 97-104

Scholars claim there are several thematic links between Psalms 1, 119 and 150.
Psalm 119 is an acrostic psalm that celebrates the ‘life’ that God has gifted to the
people of Israel, because of their obedience to God and God’s Law. But not all the
people of Israel obeyed God’s Law, yet this psalm is structured in such a way that
praise is offered to God at every opportunity, and a person’s obedience to God is
then honoured. In this psalm there are 176 ways that God can be worshipped and
celebrated within the same number of verses; and each letter of their alphabet of
that time was used to commence each of the eight lines in each of the 22 sections.
Obedience to God’s Law enabled people to focus on God’s own life-giving presence
within them; as well as being a wonderful source of light, life and joy for people; all
of which gave delight to God! Our own obedience to God’s calling still delights God.

Creative pause: Obeying God’s Law is a life-focussing exercise!

In my usual translation, verse 10 reads: “...I have refused to walk on any evil path,
so that I may remain obedient to your word...”
Most of the modern translations have
that verse as a negative action by the person reciting/singing that psalm. They say:
“…I haven’t set my feet…”; “…I hold back my feet…”; “…I have avoided…”; “…I have
kept my feet…”
and “…I watch my step avoiding the ditches and ruts of evil so I can
spend all my time keeping your Word...”
(The Message). However, the Contemporary
Standard Version puts it this way: “…I obey your word instead of following a way that
leads to trouble…”
It’s amazing how that different emphasis changes that sentence!

Creative pause: Obeying God’s Law gives a new direction and purpose to life.

Professor Walter Brueggemann writes: “…The psalms are not to be used in a vacuum,
but in a history where we are dying and rising, and in a history where God is at work,
ending our lives and making gracious new beginnings for us. The Psalms move with
our own experience. They may also take us beyond our own guarded experience into
the more poignant pilgrimages of brothers and sisters…”
3 In addition, there is a tension
“...at the heart of the spirituality of the Psalms. The tension is that God gives us permission
to choose our futures and, at the same time, God chooses a future for us that is gracious
beyond our choosing. This tension must be lived with and not resolved...”
4 The fact of the
presence of this God-inspired tension cannot be ignored or explained away as something
from within our own wistful thinking or our imagination. If we seriously read and pray the
psalms as part of our own life’s pilgrimage, we are at the “raw edge” of a life lived with God.

Creative pause: Living “life” at the raw edges with God!

1 Psalm 150:6 (NLT)

2 Psalm 1:1,2,3, 6a (NLT)

3 Text by Professor Walter Brueggemann From “Praying the Psalms” [chapter 1, page 15]
© 2007 Cascade Books a Division of Wipf & Stock Publishers

4 Chapter 4 page 51 IBID

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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