A Call to Worship
Pentecost 4C [Ordinary 11C] or [Proper 6C] 2013
Psalm 5: 1-8

Unfailing God, we come in hope and expectation to worship and praise you.
We come to you in the morning, seeking your help with our personal needs.

Listening God, we come with our anxious yearnings, to lay them all before you.
Lord, hear our cries to you, and answer us in our individual and shared needs.

God of unfailing love, we come to you, because you always guide and bless us—
and because we trust in your awesome mercy to hear and answer our prayers.
We come to you in the morning, asking you for clear guidance for our daily living,
because all that is right and good, is being threatened by the world in which we live. Amen.

Prayers of Thankfulness and Petition
Pentecost 4C [Ordinary 11C] or [Proper 6C] 2013
Psalm 5: 1-8

Listening God, in the freshness of the morning we come in worship
and praise of you in anticipation of your blessing and help; and in
the shared experiences of life that we discover together in fellowship
and through caring for our neighbours. We have come to you in the
morning, carrying with us the thoughts, fears and dreams of the previous
night, and sometimes, it is hard to shake off those negative thoughts
and feelings, however transient they may be in relation to our reality.
This morning, we bring to you our confused minds; our disturbed ideas
and thoughts; our unsettled feelings we have about ourselves and our
place in your world, in our local community, and in our community of faith.

Holy God, we give thanks that the writers of the Psalms tell us how life
was for them! We give thanks that those reactions within his life found
acceptance within the Scriptures, and that even though the author shared
his faith and belief that the God he worshipped grieved over lost people
and lost opportunities for grace and mercy; and that God was totally forgiving
and compassionate; he also did not even hesitate to imply that our Loving
God could also be the God who was and is filled with anger and anguish!
We give thanks that this frees us to express to God our deepest feelings
and needs; our hidden fears and anxieties; and our hopes and dreams.

Hope-inspiring God, we come to our Welcoming God to offer our prayers;
our feelings and fears; and our disappointments and failures. Because of
your unfailing love, we can come to this place of worship, confident in God’s
grace and mercy, and to offer to God our praise, our petitions on behalf of
ourself, and on behalf of others who are as needy of God’s love as we are.
We bring to God our vulnerability and our uncertainties; we bring the issues
that we cannot resolve by ourself; and the difficulties we have in relationships.
We give thanks that God knows us for who we really are, and not the “public
face” we put on each morning; and that God knows our motives and our acts
of manipulation. Hear these our prayers we pray, O Hearing God, and guide
us into your paths of truth and understanding; and lead us into the way of trust
and openness; so that we may more truly become who you created us to be.
Because of God’s unfailing love, we come to worship God in trust, hope and faith. Amen.

A Personal Meditation
Pentecost 4C [Ordinary 11C] or [Proper 6C] 2013
Psalm 5: 1-8

It is not very often that I become angry, but when I do, I can become
very angry about a variety of things, whether that anger is merited or
not; and whether it is just simply a release of feelings and inner tensions!
One thing that is so special to me about God is that our God in not an
indifferent or apathetic bystander, but that your and my God is the Holy
One, deeply involved in all that has been and is being created right now.
I am always rather tentative when thinking about God, to even consider
what the anger of God would be like; and yet the Psalmist quite clearly
assumes that God is as capable of anger, as God is capable of loving!

Creative pause: Why am I hesitant to believe that God can be angry?

I am not sure why I become so anxious about God’s anger, but maybe it
is because I do not want to personally experience God’s anger, and I am
simply much more comfortable and unthreatened by God’s forgiving love!
Yet the Psalmist used words such as: “You take no pleasure in wickedness,
you cannot tolerate the slightest sin… for you hate all who do evil. You will
destroy those who tell lies. The Lord detests murderers and deceivers….”

These are very strong words!!! I am sure they challenge me and many other
people to think again about the God we worship, and to even reassess our
comfortable images of God. If we take seriously the concept of God being a
God who grieves and loves, then why not a God who also has such very strong
“emotions” of anger and even of rejection? I need to find a balance between
the God of love and mercy and the God of anger, and above all – not connect
to God any concepts of human fear, anger, hatred, uncertainty and rejection.

Creative pause: I must not connect human emotions with God’s responses to us.

Today’s reading commences thus: “O Lord, hear me as I pray; pay attention
to my groaning….”
and concludes with “…. Tell me clearly what to do, and
show me which way to turn…”
The author is obviously troubled and anxious,
on his own behalf, but also on behalf of God! I puzzled over this dilemma—
and an answer came to me in a hymn I had selected for worship that day.
1 “All my hope on God is founded; / all my trust he will renew, / through all
change and chance he guides me, / only good and only true. / God unknown,
he alone calls my heart to be his own…. / Daily the Almighty Giver / will his
bounteous gifts bestow; / in his will our souls find pleasure, / leading us
where’er we go. / Love will stand at his hand; joy shall wait for his command…”

Creative pause: “All my hope on God is founded: / all my trust he will renew…”

1 Hymn words by Robert Bridges 1844-1930
after Joachim Neander 1650-1680. (altered)
Words are in the Public Domain.
From “Together in Song” #560

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.


Download/view a pdf file of this document here: pentecost4[11]c_2013.pdf