We come together in response to the invitation to joyously sing God’s praises:
A Call to Worship
Advent 3A 2016
Psalm 146: 5-10
“All you nations sing out your joy to the Lord: Joyfully shout all you on earth,
give praise to the glory of God; and with a hymn sing out his glorious praise!”1
We come together in response to the invitation to worship our Universal Lord:
“All you nations sing out your joy to the Lord: Lift up your hearts, sing to your
God: tremendous his deeds for us all! ... Let all the earth kneel in your sight...”1
We come together in response to the invitation to bring honour to God’s Name:
“All you nations sing out your joy to the Lord: extolling your marvellous fame;
fall on your knees before his glorious throne: honour your name, ...in highest
heaven give praise:.... Lord, you brought your people into your peace: Alleluia!”1 Amen.
Psalm 146: 5-10
5 But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper,
whose hope is in the LORD their God.
6 He made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them.
He keeps every promise forever.
7 He gives justice to the oppressed and food to the hungry.
The Lord frees the prisoners.
8 The LORD opens the eyes of the blind.
The LORD lifts up those who are weighed down.
The LORD loves the godly.
9 The LORD protects the foreigners among us.
He cares for the orphans and widows, but he frustrates the plans of the wicked.
10 The LORD will reign forever. He will be your God, O Jerusalem,
throughout the generations. Praise the LORD!
Prayers of Praise
Hope-giving God, we come together in response to the invitation to joyously sing
Advent 3A 2016
Psalm 146: 5-10
God’s praises, because we know from past experiences that God is our Helper in
times of joy or sorrow; in times of elation or despair; or in times of involvement or
depressed apathy. We praise our God, especially when we, as a community of faith,
are so blessed by having God as the central focus of our shared life and living,
because God becomes for us the ever-present Fulfiller of ancient promises. Together
as a spiritual family under God’s guidance, we rejoice in the shared knowledge of sin
being forgiven; of hope renewed; and trust in God reinvigorated through God’s grace.
Justice-giving God, we come together in response to the invitation to worship the Great,
Universal Lord, because we know that from the beginning of time, the Creating God has
brought into being the world and universe we inhabit and which we call ‘home’; the local
community in which we live and work; and the community of faith that gathers to worship
and praise our Eternal God. We offer to God our praises because of the loving acceptance
that God demonstrates every day and night; and who offers pardon and restoration in
broken relationships; and who graciously lifts people up from their depths of despair and
anguish into the bright light of God’s new life made available to us in God’s Holy Word.
Liberating and Generous God, we come together in response to the invitation to bring
honour to God’s Name, because the Name of God has become known to us through
our shared faith in God; through our shared worship of God; our shared prayers and
praises of God; and our shared answers to our prayers. “Let all the earth kneel in your
sight... tremendous his deeds for us all! ... All you nations sing out your joy to the Lord:
extolling your marvellous fame; fall on your knees before his glorious throne: honour your
name, ...in highest heaven give praise:.... Lord, you brought your people into your peace!”1 Amen.
A Personal Meditation
Although the first verse is not included in the selected verses for today, it sets
Advent 3A 2016
Psalm 146: 5-10
the context for the entire reading: “Praise the LORD! Let all that I am praise the
LORD…” Verse five then elaborates: “…joyful are those who have the God of
Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the LORD their God...” The prophet Isaiah
in today’s Old Testament reading describes how “all that I am” also meant that
many of God’s faithful people were fearful; had weak knees from age or infirmity;
and their hands were tired from stressful work. However: “…the LORD will display
his glory, the splendour of our God. With this news, strengthen those who have
tired hands, and encourage those who have weak knees. Say to those with fearful
hearts, ‘Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to.... save you.’ And
when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf.
The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy...!”2
|Creative pause:||Joyful are those who have God as their helper.|
The psalmist urges each of us to be joyful, “...whose hope is in the LORD their God...”
“All you nations sing out your joy to the LORD: Alleluia, alleluia! / Joyfully shout all
you on earth, / give praise to the glory of God; / and with a hymn sing out his glorious
praise; alleluia! / Lift up your hearts, sing to your God...Let all the earth kneel in your
sight,/ extolling your marvellous fame; / honour your name, in highest heaven give
praise: / alleluia!....Your eyes keep watch on all the earth, your strength is forever
renewed;... Lord, you brought your people into your peace: alleluia!... alleluia!...1
Singing is one of the best ways to celebrate ‘joy’! We are enriched by the many
hymns that encourage us to sing for joy unto the LORD our God. Joy can also be
expressed or experienced exuberantly or quietly, almost regardless of one’s current
situation - as opposed to ‘happiness’ – as written in some translations. Joy can be
experienced in the most dire of circumstances, because it is grounded in the health
and condition of one’s spiritual life, regardless of one’s physical or mental status.
|Creative pause:||Be joyful, “...whose hope is in the Lord their God...”|
Professor Walter Brueggemann highlights promises made by God: “... The same
God who guards heaven and earth to keep them functioning is the one who also
guards the hungry, the oppressed, the bowed down, and the strangers. The two
spheres are the same, both transformed by and responsive to God’s sovereign
fidelity. The praise of Israel makes no distinction between God’s fidelity toward
stars and moon, and toward widows and prisoners. Both forms of God’s fidelity
are cause for wonder in our world where such fidelity is so unknown... None of our
usual intellectual habits – appeal to tradition, appeal to reason, appeal to objectivity,
appeal to proximate institutional authority – will hold against such wonders. The
deeds of Yahweh takes away our breath... Our knowledge restarts at a different place,
now rooted in amazement...”3 The wonderful word ‘fidelity’ means demonstrated
loyalty and support; and our response is instinctive amazement at God’s actions
of strengthening, encouragement, and God’s life-changing acts of renewal so that
we sing praises for joy, because God will be our God throughout all the generations.
|Creative pause:||“...God’s fidelity is cause for wonder in our world..”2|
1 From “Together in Song” #36
All you nations sing out your joy to the Lord:
Paraphrase by Lucien Deiss 1921 -
Used with Permission,
Word of Life International Licence #2425
2 Isaiah 35: 2b-6a (NLT)
3 Text by Professor Walter Brueggemann
“The Psalms and the Life of Faith”
Chapter 2, page 40
©1995 Augsburg Publishing House
Minneapolis MN 55440, USA
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 A. Used with permission.
Download/view a pdf file of this document here: advent3a_2016.pdf