Come, together let us praise the Lord our God, for great is God’s Holy Name!
A Call to Worship
Christmas 1B 2014
“...As the saints in heaven adore you, we would bow before your throne...”1
Come, now, let us sing to the Lord our God, who honours his faithful people.
“...young and old, their praise expressing, join your goodness to proclaim...”1
Come, together let us worship and praise the Lord our God, whose “...glory
towers over the earth and heaven...!” For wonderful is God’s Glorious Name!
“...Worship, honour, glory, blessing, Lord we offer to your name; as your angels
serve before you, so on earth your will be done...”1 All praise forever be to God. 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
“The God who reigns on high the great archangels sing; and ‘Holy, holy, holy’, cry,
Christmas 1B 2014
‘Almighty King, who was and is the same, and evermore shall be Jehovah, Father,
great I AM! We worship thee.’”2 Yes, our Great and Glorious God, we are gathered
to worship you, whose “...glory towers over the earth and heaven!...Praise the Lord!”
We are gathered to praise and worship you, Great Creator, Powerful Word, because
there is no other response that we can offer you! We join with all the heavenly beings;
all the saints in light of the past centuries; and all of creation in outer space that owes
its existence to the will and purposes of our God – who saw that all things were good—
to praise the Glorious Eternal One - the God of the heavenly hosts, and of all creation!
“...Hail, Abraham’s God and ours! Join the heavenly throng, and celebrate with all our
powers in endless song...”2 Yes, our Great and Glorious God, we are gathered to
worship you, whose “...glory towers over the earth and heaven!...Praise the Lord!” We
your people who are bound by time and space, yet who are also free to look beyond
those limiting dimensions to join in the eternal chorus of praise to God’s Holy Name.
This freedom allows us to join with all God’s creatures - great and small – primitive or
highly developed in their capacities - yet all with a knowledge and recognition of God
as their Beloved Creator and Sustainer. Age and youth, male and female all offer to
God their “Amens” and “Hallelujahs” to honour the Lord whose “name is very great..”
“...The God of Abraham praise, who reigns enthroned above, Ancient of everlasting
Days, and God of love...”2 Yes, our Great and Glorious God, we are gathered here to
worship you, the God of Steadfast and Faithful Love, the God gives and shows that
love so freely and willingly to all creation – to all of the heavens and the earth - and all
that is beyond the earth into the unknown places where there are “vapours high above
the clouds!” We offer our praises that God chooses to honour those who faithfully serve
their Lord and God, and who strengthens them in their service to God and to all creation.
“...Worship, honour, glory, blessing, Lord we offer to your name; as your angels serve
before you, so on earth your will be done...”1 All praise forever be to the Lord our God. Amen.
A Personal Meditation
“Praise” is an interesting word and how it is used often depends on the motivation
Christmas 1B 2014
for that praise. The earliest meanings of the word “praise” related to expressions
associated with “value” and “worth”. Words of praise may offer encouragement to a
student or child to persevere in trying to learn something difficult; or “praise” such as:
“That was brilliant - I must say” simply drips with sarcasm and discouragement! People
may offer praise to others in an attempt to manipulate a situation that only benefits
the one offering praise. In the worship and praise of God, some of the more elaborate,
extravagant or even ancient expressions of praise extol and “magnify” the Lord our
God. Does that magnification mean that we intend to open ourselves up to enlarging,
intensifying or expanding our experiences, understanding and knowledge of the Lord
God? “Praise” to God is given thirteen times in Psalm 148, and why? “...Let every
created thing give praise to the Lord, for he issued his command, and they came into
being. He set them in place forever and ever. His decree will never be revoked.....”
|Creative pause:||How do you praise the Lord your God?|
Psalm 148 invites us to lift our hearts, our minds, our souls, and even our bodies—
or parts of it - up and out of our everyday existence to see and experience the
biggest of all big pictures – God the Creator and all of creation! This psalm invites
us - even if only for a few moments - to leave behind the things that keep us tied
to the reality that is our daily life, and to know that there is Something or Someone
bigger, better, higher, greater and more glorious than our daily living. We are reminded
that our Creating God is still active and present in the universe, and if we choose to
respond to that Holy Being, life will burst open in front of us and beyond our “little” life,
and demand that we speak or sing a song of thanks and praise for opening up our
imagination to all sorts of possibilities beyond ourself, into the reality of God’s presence.
|Creative pause:||God is still active and always present in the universe.|
When opening up our imagination to all sorts of possibilities into the worship of the reality
of God’s presence, what do we discover? None of us have complete knowledge of God’s
Being or attributes, and it would be irreverent to even suggest that! However, we have
felt the thrill of creating something of beauty – even to our own prejudiced eyes; we have
seen and experienced love; we have given and received gifts; and we have seen beautiful
scenery and heard wonderful music, so we know about beauty and interpretive expressions
in sound. Hopefully, we have seen and experienced faithfulness and trust in relationships;
hope that is realised; and strength and power that is gentle and supportive. If we have been
blessed any of these experiences, then we can use our imagination to amplify them, into a
deeper understanding of the faithful and steadfast love that initiates all God’s creative actions.
|Creative pause:||Do you ever use your imagination when worshipping God?|
1 From “Together in Song” #772
Worship, honour, glory blessing
Words by Edward Osler 1798-1863
Words in Public Domain.
2 From “Singing the Faith” #91
The God of Abraham praise
Words by Thomas Olivers (1725-1799)
Words in the Public Domain.
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 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:
© 2014 Joan Stott – ‘The Timeless Psalms’ RCL Psalms Year B. Used with permission.
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