Awesome God, we gather to worship you, as awe of God is the start of true wisdom.
A Call to Worship
Epiphany 4B [Ordinary 4B] 2015
Beloved by God, the whole of creation responds in praise to God’s glory and powers.
Compassionate God, you care about and supply the needs of all vulnerable people.
Delight in the Lord’s deeds is worthy of quiet meditation and our thankful prayers.
Ever-faithful God, how holy and truly awe-inspiring is the name of the Lord our God.
Forgiving and freedom-giving God, you have guaranteed forever your holy covenant
with your people, as they show their obedience to you with integrity and faithfulness.
Gracious and loving God, we praise the Lord and give thanks for your generous mercy. Amen.
1 Praise the Lord! I will thank the Lord with all my heart
as I meet with his godly people.
2 How amazing are the deeds of the Lord!
All who delight in him should ponder them.
3 Everything he does reveals his glory and majesty.
His righteousness never fails.
4 He causes us to remember his wonderful works.
How gracious and merciful is our Lord!
5 He gives food to those who fear him;
he always remembers his covenant.
6 He has shown his great power to his people
by giving them the lands of other nations.
7 All he does is just and good,
and all his commandments are trustworthy.
8 They are forever true, to be obeyed faithfully and with integrity.
9 He has paid a full ransom for his people.
He has guaranteed his covenant with them forever.
What a holy, awe-inspiring name he has!
10 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom.
All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom.
Praise him forever!
Prayers of Praise
How amazing are the deeds of the Lord; and how gracious and merciful
Epiphany 4B [Ordinary 4B] 2015
is our Lord! Initiating God, everything “you do is just and good” and you
have gifted your people with so many blessings. Joy fills us as we recall
all God’s “wonderful works” and we are all so very blessed. Kindness and
mercy are” characteristics” or signs of our Generous God; and so we come
today to praise and glorify the name of the Lord our God. Lord of all life,
your “righteousness never fails”; and we praise God that we can always
depend on the unfailing wisdom of God’s commandments and precepts.
Majestic God, your great powers and your mighty deeds are celebrated by
your people with praises and thankful hearts. No one amongst your godly
people ever doubted their memories of God’s past actions, that brought relief,
freedom and liberation to God’s people. Our faithful and Dependable God
has never ever let us down, especially when we were vulnerable or in need!
Praise, honour and joy-filled thanks belong always to you, our Amazing Lord.
Quiet Centre of all that we are and ever will be, we rest in your presence, so
that we may receive all the blessings of your wisdom and guidance. Renewing
God, your Holy Name refreshes and invigorates us to praise you, and to meet
with our brothers and sisters in worship of you; we gather together
with your godly people to bless, support and encourage each other in our faith.
Sustaining God, your guidance and counsel is “the foundation of true wisdom”
and therefore, we celebrate your continuing involvement with all your creation.
Trustworthy God, we know we can rely on your commandments every day, and
we give thanks their teachings and guidance in all our relationships and our living.
Unshakable God, your righteousness is the signpost for all of our decisions in
life, because we cannot fail with those holy directions. Voices from the past help
us to remember God’s “wonderful works”. Worthy is the Lord our God for praise.
“X” is usually the symbol for where treasures are found, but we give thanks that
this “treasure” is God’s holy covenant with God’s people for all time. Years that
are beyond counting show us the faithfulness of our God; and if we tried to count
them - “ZZZZZZ” would be our response. “Praise the Lord! ...How amazing are
the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Everything
he does reveals his glory and majesty... Praise him forever!” Hallelujah! Amen!
A Personal Meditation
Acrostic psalms are scattered throughout the 150 psalms that we have in
Epiphany 4B [Ordinary 4B] 2015
the Bible, although there are probably many more that were not included!
They were the ancient songs and prayers the people of Israel used in their
worship through countless generations. These acrostic psalms were used
as tools to teach the psalms not only to children, but also for priests in training.
These acrostic psalms were created in a sequential order with each letter of
the Hebrew alphabet used to commence each sentence or section - as they
are in the mighty Psalm 119 and its 176 verses! Acrostic-styled psalms in the
“books” of Psalms include numbers 9, 10, 25, 34, 37, 111, 112, 119 and 145.
I have used the English language for my acrostic prayers - please accept my
apologies to those people who have a different alphabet to the English one.
|Creative pause:||Did you have to learn Bible texts and Catechisms as a child?|
The use of all of the Hebrew alphabet for these psalms by their Jewish creators
suggested that the people of Israel in their prayers to God, or their praises of
God, were complete acts of praise or worship. However, no hymn, psalm, prayer,
essay - or even a learned lecture ever adequately or totally tells the unknown
“dimensions” or “characteristics” of God – yet the psalmists and their people
apparently liked defining their moral and spiritual convictions in an orderly style.
|Creative pause:||No prayer, hymn, psalm or essay has the complete story of God!|
The New International Version translation of Psalm 111: 7-10 twice uses the
word “precepts” - not a word used in every day language. “…The works of his
hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy. They are established
for ever and ever, enacted in faithfulness and uprightness. He provided redemption
for his people; he ordained his covenant forever—holy and awesome is his name.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have
good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.”1 The gifted Professor Walter
Brueggemann writes: ...the historical recital continues with attention to the divine
“precepts”. The term is about the covenant instructions given to the community as a
basis for living. Such covenant living is labelled as “faithfulness and uprightness....”2
God’s ancient covenantal relationship with the people of Israel, and fulfilled and lived
out with the coming of Jesus Christ amongst us as the Holy Deliver, Liberator and
Saviour of humanity and the created world, is a great basis for a life committed to
God and lived out every day within a covenanted community of God’s faithful people!
|Creative pause:||“...all who follow his precepts have good understanding...1|
1 New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011
by Biblica, Inc. ® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
2 Text by Professor Walter Brueggemann & William H Bellinger Junior
Psalm 111, page 483
© 2014 Cambridge University Press
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 B. Used with permission.
Download/view a pdf file of this document here: epiphany4b_2015.pdf