A Call to Worship
Pentecost 5C [Ordinary 12C] or [Proper 7C] 2013
Psalms 42 and 43

Refreshing God, we come to you, thirsting for your comforting presence—
We come together with a firm hope in our God, but also with mixed feelings.

Guiding God, even now the destructives waves of life surround and threaten us—
So we come, even as we battle the pressures of life from our loving and living.

Restoring God, yes we come, putting all our hope and trust in your unfailing love—
Every day and night, we place our hope in God, who is our safe haven through
all the storms of life! May God’s eternal light and truth be our everlasting guide. Amen.

Prayers of Lament and Trust
Pentecost 5C [Ordinary 12C] or [Proper 7C] 2013
Psalms 42 and 43

Faithful God, we come with our worship and prayers seeking your very near
presence with us this day, as we struggle with the pressures of life and our
relationships. You are our God, and each day we place our hope and trust
in you; but today, we especially need the reassurance of your mercy and love.
We know we can come to our God at any time of the day or night to calm
our fears and concerns, and to receive God’s comfort and strength to face
up to life’s tensions; but, day by day, we are challenged by all that threatens
our faith and trust in God as we experience the acute cynicism of the world.
Yet, why are we so discouraged? Why are we so sad, so wary and restless?
Together, we will put our hope, and our complete trust in our Saving God.

Helping God, we cannot but feel some nostalgia for the “good times”, when
our churches were filled with people at worship and prayer; when people really
wanted to go to church to worship and thank their Generous God for all their
many blessings; and when the glad sounds of people singing their praises to
God filled our hearts with reverent awe! Very regretfully, we realise that those
times have changed, and that people do not seem to even recognise their need
for God in their lives. But, we take encouragement from history's lessons, and
that times do change and apparent failures can become real blessings. Help us
to always keep our faith in God’s abiding presence, and in God’s patient love.
Yet, why are we so discouraged? Why do we doubt that our God is in control?
Together, we will put our hope, and our complete trust in our Renewing God.

Supporting God, we so easily recognise within ourselves our personal need for
God’s presence, and we also recognise and accept that sense of security and
peace that God’s presence gives us. This is very reassuring, especially when
doubts cloud our minds, and we feel threatened by unfounded questions about
God’s merciful love. Forgive us for the way doubts blunt our faith and trust in God,
and when we allow outside influences to colour our judgement. But, sometimes
people’s words are so plausible, and they appear to be concerned for our welfare—
so that we start to question our beliefs and trust in God’s guidance and blessings.
Yet, why are we so discouraged? Why do we so easily let people influence us?
Together, we will put our hope, and our complete trust in God’s unfailing love for us. Amen.

A Personal Meditation
Pentecost 5C [Ordinary 12C] or [Proper 7C] 2013
Psalms 42 and 43

The author of these Psalms appeared to be troubled by many different
images of water. He mentioned streams of water, tears day and night, the
river Jordan and its sources, a vast tumult of raging seas with waves and
tides that threatened to sweep him away. He also described God as his
“Safe Haven”, which in nautical terms, means a secure and quiet resting
place; a safe anchorage for a boat; or a quiet harbour away from swells,
tidal changes or storm damage. Water and its dangers are often included
in the Psalms, and it is usually described as places of mystery that causes
deep fears and awakens superstitions. Here the author described his deep
longing for God as being like a lost and thirsty animal, in drought-stricken
lands, where all the streams have dried up. Flowing water is active water,
with a good supply of oxygen that invigorates and enlivens the spirit – so it is
that we can also be enlivened by the refreshing and life-giving powers of water.

Creative pause: Fresh water is also life-giving, and life-restoring.

How much value should I place on sentimental nostalgia, and my longing
for the “good old days”? Why is it that it is easier to believe people who are
critical of us – that is – you and me, instead of what is said positively about
us/me? Why does the internet and its varying off-springs; the radio; TV and
newspapers prefer the negative stories rather than the positive stories of
goodness and beauty? These Psalmists certainly tell it how it was for them!
Yet, they also tell us about their deep well of faith and trust in God, and their
strong belief in their covenantal relationship with God. Despite all the ridicule;
and regardless of all his fears and doubts, he still clung to that life-line of hope.

Creative pause: The Psalmists had the courage to tell it how it was for them!

One of the wonders of water is that is spreads itself into the shape of its container;
the banks that limit its flow; or the shores that sets its parameters. So it is with
God’s presence, we need to be empty to allow God to fill the inner spaces of
our lives and allow God to shape our lives. The Psalmist was experiencing a
sense of emptiness, as he was utterly drained by the pressures of his living, and
in maintaining his faith in the face of the oppression and taunting of his enemies.
Their cynical abuse of his faith was very hard to bear, but in the God-given light
and truth of his faith in God that flowed into and filled all his emptiness, he cried:
“I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again – my Saviour and my God!”

Creative pause: “I will put my hope in God!.. My Saviour and my God!”

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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