A Call to Worship
After Pentecost 6C [Ordinary 13C] or [Proper 8C] 2016
Psalm 77: 1-2, 11-20

Holy God, we gather together as your people to recall all your mercies.
Generous God, we give thanks for our shared memories and blessings.

Amazing God, we your people gather to remind each other of your grace.
Mysterious God, we give thanks for each new revelation you bless us with.

God of great wonders, your awesome powers and holy presence amongst
us guides and blesses us, as we gather as your people to praise your name.
God, the Source of all beauty and holiness, we give you our thanks for the
way you liberate your people, and show us new ways to be your holy people. Amen.

Psalm 77: 1-2, 11-20
For Jeduthun, the choir director: A psalm of Asaph.

1 I cry out to God; yes, I shout. Oh, that God would listen to me!
2 When I was in deep trouble, I searched for the Lord.
All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven,
but my soul was not comforted.

11 But then I recall all you have done, O Lord;
I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.
12 They are constantly in my thoughts.
I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works.
13 O God, your ways are holy.
Is there any god as mighty as you?
14 You are the God of great wonders!
You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations.
15 By your strong arm, you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.


16 When the Red Sea saw you, O God,
its waters looked and trembled! The sea quaked to its very depths.
17 The clouds poured down rain; the thunder rumbled in the sky.
Your arrows of lightning flashed.
18 Your thunder roared from the whirlwind;
the lightning lit up the world! The earth trembled and shook.
19 Your road led through the sea,
your pathway through the mighty waters—a pathway no one knew was there!
20 You led your people along that road like a flock of sheep,
with Moses and Aaron as their shepherds.

Prayers of Confession and Trust
After Pentecost 6C [Ordinary 13C] or [Proper 8C] 2016
Psalm 77: 1-2, 11-20

Trustworthy God, we gather together as your people and we ask that you listen to
our prayers as we have come this day to make confessions to you. We come now,
because our hearts are heavy and our minds are confused as to the way you want
us as your people to live and react in our current circumstances. We know we have
failed you and our commitments to you; and to your way of truth and holy love. We
have been so focussed on ourselves and what we want, that we have not listened for
your guidance. When we did pray to you, we only thought about our ‘wants’; and not
in thankfulness for your many blessings to us in the past. We have not honoured your
Holy Name as we ought to have, nor have we praised you appropriately in our worship.
Forgive, us, renew us and redirect us into the ways of truly worshipping our Holy God.

Forgiving God, we confess that we called on you many times for help and guidance;
and when things did not work out for us as we expected; we thought you had forgotten
us, and did not appreciate our efforts for you any more. We prayed to you, begging for
things that we were sure were strategically necessary, but they did not arrive; and so
we thought we knew better! Generous God, now we know where we went wrong! In our
so-called worship, we only thought about ourselves and overlooked your role in being a
God-worshipping community! We neglected to commit ourselves to you and your plans
for humanity and creation; or to turn our focus on you and your holy word; and to wait
for your guidance and blessing on all we sought to achieve here in this your sacred place.
Forgive, us, renew us and redirect us into the ways of truly worshipping our Holy God.

Listening God, we give thanks that you do listen to us as we make our confessions; and
we understand that you do hear our prayers; and that you helped us to realise why we
were on the wrong path. We give thanks for the faithful people who have put us back
on the right track; and for their commitment to praying for their church, her people and her
leaders; and that through their loyalty and fidelity to you, we were redirected back on to
the God-guided path. We give thanks for their memories of holier ways of living and serving
God, and for their patience with us as we struggled to discern what was God’s will for us.
God of great wonders, your awesome powers and holy presence amongst us blesses and
guides us, and so as we gather as your people to praise and worship God’s Holy Name. Amen.

A Personal Meditation
After Pentecost 6C [Ordinary 13C] or [Proper 8C] 2016
Psalm 77: 1-2, 11-20

The psalmist was miserable! He whispered to God; he shouted at God! He cried
out in prayers to God, but found no peace. In the section of the psalm not included
for our reflection and prayers, the long-ago psalmist dared to question the fundamental
understandings of the very Being and Nature of God’s-Own-Self. He demanded to
know if his rejection by God was permanent; if God’s kindness had evaporated; if God’s
unfailing love had been all used up; if God had forgotten all his promises or how to still
be gracious; and had God slammed the door shut on all acts of compassion? Using the
most powerful of titles for God as the “Most High”, the psalmist accepted his situation;
and all the fears, doubts and soul-searching that had plagued him! After wallowing at
length in his misery and depression; the psalmist was inspired to start to think again
and to re-remember! His focus changed from self-centred pity to God’s holy grace.

Creative pause: When you are praying, who has your central focus – you or God?

In the first half of the psalm the author claimed of God: “...You don’t let me sleep. I am
too distressed to pray...”
then followed a series of “I”, “me” and “my” statements as he
bewailed God’s failures as he claimed them to be facts! Yet that supposedly absent and
non-functioning God blessed the psalmist with memories of God’s dealings with Israel—
his very own people; and therefore through HIS forebears, he was a descendent of those
recipients of Godly acts of liberation and new beginnings. So all the questions resolved
themselves through remembering, and he accepted that YES – God’s acceptance, mercy,
love and the eternal promises were indeed all as active as they ever were; and that they
were revealed to the people who had eyes, minds, and the spirituality to recognise them.

Creative pause: Do you recognise God’s graces, gifts and mercies poured out on you?

The difference in the message of the second part of the psalm to the first half is that the
psalmist, instead of thinking in circles about God; the Being of God was visualised to him,
and he remembered this of God’s-Own-Self: “...O God, your ways are holy. Is there any
god as mighty as you…?”
He also remembered that he was part of that community that had
been liberated and blessed by God, rather than one self-centred individual bemoaning his
supposed isolation. What can we learn from this psalm? Does God change - or is it that our
own experiences of God changes us; and how do we recognise, know and understand God?

Creative pause: Does God change – or do our new experiences of God change us?

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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