“Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness,
A Call to Worship
Christmas Eve (i) Year C 2015
bow down before him, his glory proclaim…”1
We come: singing a new song to the Lord!
“...Fear not to enter his courts in the slenderness
of the poor wealth”1 - we always assume is ours.
We come: for great is the Lord and worthy of praise!
“...truth in its beauty, and love in its tenderness,
these are the offerings to lay on his shrine....”
...he will accept.... for the Lord is his name..!”1
We come: to offer to our Holy God and Creator
our songs and prayers of praise and thankfulness—
as we give to the Lord, deserved honour and glory. Amen.
1 Sing a new song to the LORD!
Let the whole earth sing to the LORD!
2 Sing to the LORD; praise his name.
Each day proclaim the good news that he saves.
3 Publish his glorious deeds among the nations.
Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.
4 Great is the LORD! He is most worthy of praise!
He is to be feared above all gods.
5 The gods of other nations are mere idols,
but the LORD made the heavens!
6 Honour and majesty surround him;
strength and beauty fill his sanctuary.
7 O nations of the world, recognize the LORD;
recognize that the LORD is glorious and strong.
8 Give to the LORD the glory he deserves!
Bring your offering and come into his courts.
9 Worship the LORD in all his holy splendour.
Let all the earth tremble before him.
10 Tell all the nations, “The LORD reigns!”
The world stands firm and cannot be shaken.
He will judge all peoples fairly.
11 Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice!
Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise!
12 Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy!
Let the trees of the forest sing for joy
13 before the LORD, for he is coming!
He is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with justice, and the nations with his truth.
Prayers of Praise and Thankfulness
“Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness, bow down before him, his glory
Christmas Eve (i) Year C 2015
proclaim…”1 We come, our God and Creator, to sing a new song to the Lord
our God because our old songs are now obsolete, as today we have had a
new experience of our God; and so we come to sing a new song of praise and
thankfulness. Holy Lord, when we dare to come into the holy presence of God,
whether we bow physically or mentally before God, it is in humble and awed
reverence that we offer you our worship. We have been so blessed by the Lord—
the Creator who created all things in and through love, so we come to sing
our praises within a community of believers – for you are truly in our midst.
Welcoming God, we celebrate the fact that we are indeed welcome into God’s
holy presence, despite our sin and failings; and despite the poverty of our
offerings that we bring to God. “...Fear not to enter his courts in the slenderness
of the poor wealth...”1 we always assume is ours. Forgive us all for assuming
always that all we have is ours; and that all our gifts and graces are ours forever;
when instead, they are only ours to be used in God’s name in the service of
other people. Help us always to recognise that God is the God of all peoples—
the God of all nations, all tribes, all cultures and traditions; and of all languages.
Holy God, each day we have the opportunity to proclaim the wonders of our
God as Lord and Creator to all whom we meet, and amongst all with whom
we live as family or neighbours. The Holy One is deserving of our songs and
prayers of thankfulness and praise; and our offerings of committed service
in proclaiming the good news of God’s presence amongst us as the Lord and
the Lover of all creation; and especially the Lord and the Lover of all peoples.
“....O nations of the world, ....recognise that the LORD is glorious and strong.
Give to the LORD the glory he deserves! ... Worship the LORD in all his holy
splendour. Let all the earth tremble before him. Tell all the nations, ‘The LORD
reigns!’..” “Sing a new song to the Lord” because Holy is God’s name forever. Amen.
A Personal Meditation
From both a historical and present day perspective, leaders of nations and
Christmas Eve (i) Year C 2015
tribes, have often determined the path that their people must follow - whether
it is in care of the people they have a responsibility for; by choosing a path of
violent oppression and forced labour; or whether it is warring actions against
their neighbours – both near and far; these leaders all have powerful and great
influences over their peoples. They may have become leaders by declaring
war upon their own people; by political manoeuvring and take-over tactics;
or by an inherited form of leadership. These leaders may express their power
over their peoples through the use of an ideology that promotes their nation’s
racial superiority; their intellectual prowess; or their practical skills in building
or maintenance. They may also express their power over their peoples through
a religious doctrine by which they brainwash their followers into believing that
theirs is the one and only way to believe in some “being” greater than themselves—
and to live by that doctrine, regardless of the costs involved or its implications.
Do any of these varied descriptions fit in with your nation’s or continent’s leaders?
|Creative pause:||How do the leaders of your nation/tribe express their power?|
How different is the expression of power by the ancient psalmist who urged his
people to sing a new song about their God! Singing a new song? Singing a new
song! “Sing a new song to the LORD! Let the whole earth sing to the LORD! Sing
to the LORD; praise his name. Each day proclaim the good news that he saves...”
Has that psalmist of old discovered a new way to exert power over other people?
Or was he simply pointing to “One” who is very much higher, holier and much more
powerful than any other known leader or “being”? Has he in fact discovered that
and the real power of bringing people together in a common cause that is non-violent;
and the opposite of oppression and forced labour and ideological manipulation?
The art of singing together requires people to listen to and react in response to that
listening, so that all together with one purpose – harmony occurs, and people arrive
at their goal all together at the same time. How different is that expression of power!
|Creative pause:||Is singing together in praise of God a new way to peace?|
Maybe I am being naïve, but I believe that worship of One True God has a unifying
effect on people; and that there are only differences and problems when individuals
or groups begin to interpret and promote their own ideas of what the Hebrew Scriptures
and the New Testament are saying or teaching. An international call is made through
Psalm 96: “...O nations of the world,... recognise that the LORD is glorious and strong.
Give to the LORD the glory he deserves! ...Worship the LORD in all his holy splendour.
Let all the earth tremble before him. Tell all the nations, ‘The LORD reigns!’ The world
stands firm and cannot be shaken. He will judge all peoples fairly.... He will judge the
world with justice, and the nations with his truth.” I believe that it is in the recognition
of God, in all of God’s glory and splendour, that people find their true place in God’s plan.
|Creative pause:||“Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness...”1|
1 From “The Australian Hymn Book” #382
“Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness”
Words by John S. B. Monsell, 1811-1875
Based on Psalm 96:9
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:
© 2015 Joan Stott – ‘The Timeless Psalms’ RCL Psalms Year C. Used with permission.
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