A Call to Worship
Pentecost 24C [Ordinary 31C] or [Proper 26] 2013
Psalm 119: 137-144

We come to our Righteous God, for respite from a world tainted with hypocrisy.
You alone, O God, are worthy of our trust. Inspire us to also be worthy of trust.

We come to our God of justice, for respite from a world corrupted by injustice
You alone, O God, do not discriminate in your dealings with wayward humanity.

We come to our God of generosity, for respite from a world that is concerned only
with self-promotion and self satisfaction. Renew us and inspire our worship we pray.
You alone, O God, are worthy of our worship and praise, because your rules for life
provide us with the key to fullness of life lived in God’s faithful and eternal presence. Amen.

Prayers of Lament and Confession
Pentecost 24C [Ordinary 31C] or [Proper 26] 2013
Psalm 119: 137-144

Righteous and Just God, we come to worship you this day, fully aware
that we have failed to love or even read your Word of truth and holiness,
as we have promised ourselves so many times. When we think about the
prayerful work of the author of this immense Psalm, his commitment to
God’s Law, and his earnest seeking for truth amongst all its instructions—
we are ashamed of our lack of commitment to God’s decrees and rulings.
Despite our personal failures, we still have a deep and abiding trust in God,
and the desired path of life for God’s children. We know and believe that
God’s promises have been tested and tried by countless people through
the ages, and that they have proven to be reliable, worthy of acceptance.

Whilst we can become angry at people for ignoring God’s Word, we need
to confess our own failings, because we too ignore God’s Holy Word when
it suits us! We also arrogantly think we know better than most other people,
and therefore, we can be critical of others and the way they fail to live up to
their promises made to their faith community and to God! Give us, we pray,
an earnest desire for your Holy Word, so that we may be able to according to
our vows, and so learn more about out Trustworthy God, and how, living by
God’s words and ways of wisdom, we draw closer to God’s holy presence.

The author asked God to help him understand God’s plan for humanity and
for the created world, and that is also our prayer today. Just like the Psalmist,
we too are pressured on so many fronts - in our relationships; in our leisure
and employment; our responsibilities to our faith and local communities; our
responsibilities to the environment and the renewal of God’s created world—
and in the quiet spaces we try to leave for prayer and meditation. Help us create
a balance in our life, so that the spiritual things of God are given their proper
space and opportunities, and that our “other life” is a reflection of the times
we have spent in God’s presence. Hear these our prayers of confession about
the things which grieve and disappoint us about ourselves, and about our
commitment to God. Forgive us of our sin, and restore and renew us, we pray.
We ask, O God, that you will grant us the release of our regrets and remorse, so
that we personally and in our community, may joyfully praise and worship God. Amen.

A Personal Meditation
Pentecost 24C [Ordinary 31C] or [Proper 26] 2013
Psalm 119: 137-144

At “Worship on Thursday” recently, we had a “Q & A” day, and members
were invited to submit questions for me to try to answer, as a way to start a
discussion on those various questions. One of the questions was extremely
honest and very challenging! “Why does it seem so much easier to read
novels, magazines, or the newspapers, than to read the Bible…?”
response as a “discussion starter” suggested that through these diversions,
we distance ourselves from “life” and its pressures. In contrast, the Bible is
based on centuries of God’s interaction with humanity in various ways. It
bluntly challenges us about where we have failed in our relationships or our
living; or in what we are being called to do and become. Therefore, it is much
more personally threatening or challenging to us, because God knows us
for who and what we really are; and who God created us to finally become.

Creative pause: Which parts of the Bible texts threaten or challenge you?

Knowingly or unconsciously, we seek to guard ourselves against those things
which threaten us. We can blame “evil”, the “devil”, or whatever name we like;
however, and ultimately, we make the choices about how faithful to God and
our worship life that we want to become; and also, how we want to respond
to God’s calling on our life. ….We had so many questions to consider, several were
put aside for a later discussion, including the question above. Whilst the Psalmist
did not have novels, the media or TV to distract him, there are always were plenty
of other distractions to tempt us away from meaningful Bible reading and prayers.

Creative pause: What distracts you most from Bible reading, prayers and meditations?

Some scholars have suggested that the acrostic format of this Psalm was planned
to aid in remembering the message of God’s Law, and to encourage a growth of
understanding and love for its instructions. At that same worship group recently,
the question was asked as to the value of all the Bible texts and the Catechism
clauses we were expected to learn as children, and did they do any of us any good?
I can certainly attest to their value, as various texts and clauses come instantly to
my mind as I struggle with various faith issues! We have much more access to
insights and lessons from a broader collection of the Bible to study than did the
Psalmist, but I think a relevant question is whether we love it as much as he did?

Creative pause: Do we love the Bible as much as the Psalmist loved God’s Law?

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.

*The additional weekly numbering is from the Revised COCU Indexing Scheme
COCU = ('Consultation on Church Union'); as it offers an easy sequential numbering
for the Revised Common Lectionary for the Church Calendar.

If any part of these Prayers and/or Meditations is used in shared worship, please provide
the following acknowledgement:
© 2013 Joan Stott – ‘The Timeless Psalms’ RCL Psalms Year C. Used with permission.


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