“Praise the Lord!” We praise our God as individuals and as a community.
A Call to Worship
Christmas 1A 2017
So we offer: “...praise in the common things of life, its goings out and in…1
“Praise the Lord!” All creation joins us in praising God, our Eternal Creator.
So we pray: “...Fill every part of me with praise: let all my being speak of you…”1
“Praise the Lord!” May God be praised forever and ever! May we all, with
one voice pray: “Fill my whole life, O Lord my God, in every part with praise…”1
So we pray that: “...my whole being may proclaim your being and your ways…
So shall no part of day and night from sacredness be free; but with you, Lord…”1 Amen.
1 Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens!
Praise him from the skies!
2 Praise him, all his angels! Praise him, all the armies of heaven!
3 Praise him, sun and moon! Praise him, all you twinkling stars!
4 Praise him, skies above! Praise him, vapours high above the clouds!
5 Let every created thing give praise to the Lord,
for he issued his command, and they came into being.
6 He set them in place forever and ever.
His decree will never be revoked.
7 Praise the Lord from the earth, you creatures of the ocean depths,
8 fire and hail, snow and clouds, wind and weather that obey him,
9 mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars,
10 wild animals and all livestock, small scurrying animals and birds,
11 kings of the earth and all people, rulers and judges of the earth,
12 young men and young women, old men and children.
13 Let them all praise the name of the Lord. For his name is very great;
his glory towers over the earth and heaven!
14 He has made his people strong, honouring his faithful ones—
the people of Israel who are close to him. Praise the Lord!
Prayers of Praise
“Praise the Lord!... For his name is very great; his glory towers over the earth
Christmas 1A 2017
and heaven...!” We come together as your people in this time and place, and
we, as individuals and as a community of faith, seek to praise God for every good
and perfect gift that we have received from our Holy and Gracious God. We come
to offer our: “...praise in the common things of life, its goings out and in…;1 and
we praise God for: “...each duty and each deed, however small…”1 that we offer
to our God in praise and thankfulness for God’s generous love and forgiveness.
We give God our thanks for the gift of life itself, for relationships that are precious
to us; and for the miracles of grace that God blesses us with every night and day
“Praise the Lord! ... Let every created thing give praise to the Lord, for he issued
his command, and they came into being...” Creating God, we are often overwhelmed
by the majestic beauty of your creation, for the many massive signs of your powers;
and also for the minute creatures that are evidence of your tender gentleness towards
fragile and easily overlooked creatures, that are signs and symbols of your
compassionate care over all vulnerable creation. We come together as your beloved
family of people, promised to each other in love and support; and we pray that you
will fill us all to overflowing with praises that magnify and honour our Revered God.
“Praise the Lord!... kings of the earth and all people, rulers and judges of the earth,
young men and young women, old men and children...” May we all, with one voice
pray that: “...no part of day and night from sacredness be free; but with you, Lord, in
every step, in fellowship will be.”1 We praise our God for the privilege of being in such
a relationship of trust with God, that we can actually be in fellowship with God, and with
each other. Glory and everlasting praises be to our Wonderful and Gracious God. Amen.
A Personal Meditation
Psalm 148 is a psalm of praise – but what do we mean when we say: “Praise
Christmas 1A 2017
God!” Is praising God an attitude of heart and mind; a response to a received
blessing; or something that we say without even thinking what it means? The
first sentence in the book by Professor Walter Brueggemann titled “Israel’s Praise”
is a quotation by Professor Geoffrey Wainwright - the Methodist theological historian:
“Praise is the duty and delight, the ultimate vocation of the human community;
indeed, of all creation.” Brueggemann then expanded on that sentence: “Yes, all
of life is aimed towards God and finally exists for the sake of God. Praise articulates
and embodies our capacity to yield, submit, and abandon ourselves in trust and
gratitude to the One whose we are... We have a resilient hunger to move beyond
self, to return our energy and worth to the One from whom it has been granted. In
our return to that One, we find our deepest joy. That is what it means to ‘glorify
God and enjoy God forever.'2 As praise is appropriate to human community, so
praise is appropriate to the character of God, for our praise is a response to God’s
power and mercy. Nothing more can be said to God. Nothing more can be added to
God...”3 As creatures of our Creator, we offer God our praises as the only way we
can honestly and humbly come before God - in response to God’s own goodness.
|Creative pause:||Offering is our praises to God is our “duty and delight.”3|
Most Bible translations simply use the phrase “Praise the Lord” or “God be praised”,
to introduce Psalm 148, which grows out of the Hebrew exclamation ‘Hallelujah!’, as
the word is broken up into the Hebrew ‘halal’ which means ‘praise’, whilst the ‘jah’ is
an abbreviation of YWHW or Yahweh/Jehovah meaning God – and ‘Hallelujah!’ is a
song of joy in praise of God. The words of the hymn express so well our desire to praise
God: “Fill my whole life, O Lord my God / in every part with praise / that my whole being
may proclaim / your being and your ways…. Fill every part of me with praise / let all
my being speak / of you and of your love, O Lord / … So shall no part of day and night
from sacredness be free; but with you, Lord, in every step…”1 ‘Hallelujah indeed!
|Creative pause:||“Fill my whole life, O Lord my God / in every part with praise...”1|
The “Westminster Shorter Catechism” was created in 1640s by a group of English and
Scottish clergymen; and as a child, each week I was required memorise one of its
107 and questions and answers, along with a Biblical text to recite to my Sunday
School teacher. These memories of learned truths have stayed with me, especially
the number one in that Catechism. “What is humanity’s chief end or goal?” The answer:
“To glorify God and to enjoy God forever....”2 Praising God together is just one part
of our shared ‘enjoyment’ of God’s many and gracious gifts and revelations, and it is
our “duty and our delight”3 in God’s presence; and of experiencing the gifts of God’s
grace, mercy and blessings as together, we celebrate and praise our Generous God.
|Creative pause:||“So shall no part of day and night from sacredness be free…”1|
1 From “Together in Song” #596
“Fill my whole life, O Lord my God”
© Words by Horatius Bonar (alt)
Words are in the Public Domain
2 From the ““Westminster Shorter Catechism”
3 Text by Professor Walter Brueggemann
from “Israel’s Praise” Chapter 1, page 1
© 1988 Fortress 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:
© 2017 Joan Stott – ‘The Timeless Psalms’ RCL Psalms Year A. Used with permission.
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