Faithful God, as your people, we gather together to praise your Holy Name.
A Call to Worship
All Saints' Day, Year C 2016
We gather as one people, to sing today’s special songs of praise to our God.
Renewing God, as your people, we give thanks for our renewed faith in you.
We gather as one people, to celebrate today’s renewal of our faith in our God.
Reconciling God, as your people, we gather to learn again the lessons of being
reconciled to our past and present, to each other, and to you, our Generous God.
We gather as one people, to listen and learn from each other; from our teachers;
and from the Holy Word, what is God’s guiding and healing message to us this day. Amen.
1 Praise the Lord!
Sing to the Lord a new song.
Sing his praises in the assembly of the faithful.
2 O Israel, rejoice in your Maker.
O people of Jerusalem, exult in your King.
3 Praise his name with dancing,
accompanied by tambourine and harp.
4 For the Lord delights in his people;
he crowns the humble with victory.
5 Let the faithful rejoice that he honours them.
Let them sing for joy as they lie on their beds.
6 Let the praises of God be in their mouths,
and a sharp sword in their hands—
7 to execute vengeance on the nations
and punishment on the peoples,
8 to bind their kings with shackles
and their leaders with iron chains,
9 to execute the judgement written against them.
This is the glorious privilege of his faithful ones.
Praise the Lord!
Prayers of Praise and Thankfulness
On this day when we remember with thanks to Almighty God, the faithfulness of
All Saints' Day, Year C 2016
the witness of all the saints and martyrs who have gone before us, showing the way
to committed and faithful living, by their trust in God’s own merciful faithfulness.
As people who are part of our Faithful God’s family here, we gather together to
praise God’s Holy Name; and as one people, to sing today’s especially new song
of praise to our God. We have had so many blessings in the past, but today, we are
here to give thanks and to praise God for today’s new blessings. We rejoice in the
blessings of people’s faithful prayers and witnessing, and especially for those people
who have influenced us in our faith journey; and we give thanks their own faithfulness.
Renewing God, as your people here in this place and time, we give thanks for our
own renewed faith in you, and that you have so blessed us with today’s new insights
and understandings of what it means to be your child, your beloved in the faith. It is
because of this personal blessing, that we can gather together as one with others of
your committed people to be further nurtured in our faith and witness, and to celebrate
today’s renewal of our faith in our God. We gather together too, to hear again your call
to us to witness and service amongst your needy children; and the care of your creation
which is being spoiled by the selfishness and greed of humanity, each one of whom was
created in God’s image. Forgive us our failings and renew us and the whole of creation.
Reconciling God, as your called and commissioned people, we gather to worship and
praise you as we again learn the lessons of being reconciled to our often painful past;
and to our present situation with all its challenges. You have called us to live in harmony
and in reconciled relationships with each other, and with you, our Generous God; and we
praise you and give thanks that you trust us with your message of hope in our local and
faith communities; and that you give us the courage and strength to fulfil that mission.
We gather as one people, to listen and learn from each other; from our faithful teachers;
and from the Holy Word, what is God’s ever-relevant guiding message to us each new day. Amen.
A Personal Meditation
Psalm 149 is the psalm chosen for ‘All Saints' Day’, on the day we honour all those
All Saints' Day, Year C 2016
heroes of the faith who are referred to three times in our psalm as being the “faithful”.
Professor Brueggemann names this as a “problematic” psalm, because in the first
half it follows the usual pattern of psalms that praise God as King, and are known
as ‘Enthronement’ Psalms’; but, in the second half it changes drastically with these
words: “...Let the praises of God be in their mouths, and a sharp sword in their hands...”
That theme of violence and warfare continues almost to the end of the psalm, when
the psalmist claims “...This is the glorious privilege of his faithful ones. Praise the
Lord!” It may almost be standard practice to only read this psalm’s first six verses
in worship and private meditation, leaving unread the last half of the psalm. You may
also be uncomfortable about these words as being a glorification of violence and war.
|Creative pause:||Do you only read the ‘good/appropriate’ parts of the Bible?|
What is the real message of the last half of this psalm? Old Testament Professor
Emeritus Fred Gaiser, of the Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA writing
in 2013 in the Textweek website offers a different perspective. The early part of
the psalm reads thus: “...Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song. Sing his
praises in the assembly of the faithful. O Israel, rejoice in your Maker. O people
of Jerusalem, exult in your King. Praise his name with dancing, accompanied by
tambourine and harp....” Gaiser wrote: “...the dance described in the psalm seems
to have resembled the ritualised war dance of native tribes more than the gracious
movements of young women and men in a church chancel...: The connection of
Psalm 149 to tribal dance is appropriate. Israel, too, was a tribal culture, and its
worship would have expressed those traditions, including enacting ritualised victories
over real and mythic enemies. Such ritual victory anticipated and celebrated God’s
own ultimate victory over wickedness, and preparing the present congregation to
recognise and share in the working out of God’s justice and righteousness in the
present....”1 Whatever is your own cultural heritage, if you were able to include any
of that heritage within or into your worship, would that be helpful to you spiritually?
|Creative pause:||“Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song...”|
Later, Gaiser went on to say: “...praise was by no means a retreat from the world;
it provided hope, encouragement, motivation, and support to the congregation to
join with God is gathering the outcasts, healing the broken hearted, and lifting up
the downtrodden. Healing the world is serious work - God’s work, of course - and
those who are called first to praise that divine work and then to participate in it will
need metaphorical and sometimes perhaps real two-edged swords...”1 Jesus always
acted to bring healing to people in all of life’s circumstances, as a visible sign of the
Reign/Kingdom of God is active in the world bringing wholeness to needy people. The
caring healing we offer people will be different to that of Jesus, but it is still healing!
|Creative pause:||Through your loving and living – you, too, offer healing!|
1 Professor Fred Gaiser
Used with permission under Textweek approval processes.
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.
Download/view a pdf file of this document here: allsaintsdayc_2016.pdf