We come to you, O God, because we have committed ourselves to worship only you.
A Call to Worship
Good Friday, Year B 2015
We come, because our life is fulfilled within our commitment - we are God’s people.
We come to you, O God, because we want to thank you for your past gracious mercies.
We come to you, O God, because we have known failure, despair, sorrow and loss of
identity and purpose. We come to you, O God, because you have healed and blessed us.
We come to you, O God, because we not only want to thank you, we also want to praise
you. As our enthroned God, honour and glory are rightly yours, for you rule all the nations.
“I will praise you among your assembled people.... I will praise you in the great assembly. I will fulfil my vows in the presence of those who worship you… All who seek the LORD will praise him. Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy… Praise the LORD.” Amen and Amen.
For the choir director: A psalm of David, to be sung to the tune “Doe of the Dawn.”
1 My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
Why are you so far away when I groan for help?
2 Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer.
Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief.
3 Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.
4 Our ancestors trusted in you, and you rescued them.
5 They cried out to you and were saved.
They trusted in you and were never disgraced.
6 But I am a worm and not a man. I am scorned and despised by all!
7 Everyone who sees me mocks me.
They sneer and shake their heads, saying,
8 “Is this the one who relies on the LORD?
Then let the Lord save him! If the LORD loves him so much,
let the LORD rescue him!”
9 Yet you brought me safely from my mother’s womb
and led me to trust you at my mother’s breast.
10 I was thrust into your arms at my birth.
You have been my God from the moment I was born.
11 Do not stay so far from me, for trouble is near,
and no one else can help me.
12 My enemies surround me like a herd of bulls;
fierce bulls of Bashan have hemmed me in!
13 Like lions they open their jaws against me,
roaring and tearing into their prey.
14 My life is poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart is like wax, melting within me.
15 My strength has dried up like sun baked clay.
My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth.
You have laid me in the dust and left me for dead.
16 My enemies surround me like a pack of dogs;
an evil gang closes in on me.
They have pierced my hands and feet.
17 I can count all my bones.
My enemies stare at me and gloat.
18 They divide my garments among themselves
and throw dice for my clothing.
19 O LORD, do not stay far away!
You are my strength; come quickly to my aid!
20 Save me from the sword; spare my precious life from these dogs.
21 Snatch me from the lion’s jaws and from the horns of these wild oxen.
22 I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters.
I will praise you among your assembled people.
23 Praise the LORD, all you who fear him! Honor him, all you descendants of Jacob!
Show him reverence, all you descendants of Israel!
24 For he has not ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy.
He has not turned his back on them, but has listened to their cries for help.
25 I will praise you in the great assembly. I will fulfil my vows
in the presence of those who worship you.
26 The poor will eat and be satisfied.
All who seek the LORD will praise him.
Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy.
27 The whole earth will acknowledge the LORD and return to him.
All the families of the nations will bow down before him.
28 For royal power belongs to the LORD. He rules all the nations.
29 Let the rich of the earth feast and worship.
Bow before him, all who are mortal, all whose lives will end as dust.
30 Our children will also serve him. Future generations will hear
about the wonders of the LORD.
31 His righteous acts will be told to those not yet born.
They will hear about everything he has done.
Prayers of Trust and Petition
We come to you, O God, because we have committed ourselves to worship only you—
Good Friday, Year B 2015
and we want to thank you for your past gracious mercies to us; especially when things
have been tough. We come to you, O God, because we have known failure, despair,
sorrow, even a loss of identity and purpose, and this has made us very depressed and
miserable. O God, we come to you with thanks because you have healed and blessed
us, by turning our pain and despair into a strong and vibrant trust in our Timeless God.
As God’s people in this day and age, we acknowledge our continuing commitment to our
God; and we seek God’s guidance about how best we may serve the Lord, as we share
the good news of God’s liberating powers. Healing God, you have lifted us up, and we
know there are many people who have suffered as we have, and we want to help them.
Help us to discern the best way to supportive of your suffering and depressed people.
God of the promises, we look to you as people who know what it is like to be scorned,
despised and isolated by people’s insensitive actions. In the past, we have often relied
on your promises, and they have encouraged and blessed us when we have struggled
with hurt and rejection. We know that this lack of respect and treatment can be damaging;
so help us to be aware of people as they experience rejection and bullying. Help each of
us to remember and to share the news that each one of us are one of God’s cherished
creations, loved and valued by God; and that we are part of God’s plan for this our world.
Lord God, King of all realms and all peoples, we come to you not only because we trust
you, but we also want to praise you as our enthroned God and King; and that honour and
glory are rightly yours; for you rule all the nations; the earth; and even all the vast spaces
beyond this world. Help each of us, whilst accepting the universal power of our God; to also
accept that the source and energy of that power resides in God. You are our strength and
our song; and you are trustworthy – always. “…Our ancestors trusted in you…, they cried
out to you and were saved. They trusted in you and were never disgraced…” Help us to
grow in our trust and hope in you, because “... All who seek the LORD will praise him.
Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy… Praise the LORD, all you who fear him…!” Amen.
A Personal Meditation
Whoever was the author of Psalm 22, that person had known an intimate and very
Good Friday, Year B 2015
personal relationship with God, and has known a sense of being “at home” with God;
and of being totally secure in a mutual relationship of trust and acceptance. Yet, the
first words in the psalm are a loud cry of dereliction, desertion and abandonment! All
that had previously been accepted as the norm, was suddenly gone! “Home” had gone!
In its place were a variety of spiritual, physical and societal reactions to that sense of
abandonment. He believed that God had not answered his calls for help, even though
God had blessed him at his birth and guided him into a relationship with God from the
day he was born. His physical response to his desertion by God left him helpless and
weak, with his bones feeling dislocated and sticking out everywhere; he suffered from
thirst and exhaustion; his extremities tingled from lack of blood; and his heart pounded
so hard, that he felt ill! His emotions showed the whole classic signs of bereavement,
grief and loss – with physical pain, unstable levels of anger; shock and shakiness; and
wildly swinging moods! Despite this collapse of his being, he recalled past events and
his many blessings from God; and was comforted by his forebears deep trust in God.
|Creative pause:||“...From darkness to light, you will song a new song - a song of life.”1|
The spiritual response to the psalmist sense of abandonment was even more marked!
From being “at home” with God, suddenly he was deprived of all contact and influence—
leaving him bereft and with nowhere else to go! He even pleaded with God about their
apparent separation and the vast distances he experienced from God. He remembered
that Israel rested under God’s throne, while they chorused their praises to the holiness
of God! But he sensed that trouble was nearer at hand, and he needed God’s guiding
hand resting on him, because God was always his strength especially in times of trouble.
The shadow of spiritual isolation called forth his nightmare-type dreams of evil in its many
formations - such as the well-fed bulls raised in Bashan, powerful and fearless and trained
to attack; the lion with its ready appetite for meat; and the ferocious pack of wild dogs who
were ready to rush at him to knock him under the hooves of those strong bulls. His spiritual
emptiness left him at the mercy of his worst fears; and yet, in desperation he again called
on the God of his forebears to rescue him from his isolation; and his fear-filled imagination.
Suddenly, the shadows of grief were gone, and the light of God shone warmly upon him—
and his spiritual reaction was immediate as he sang God’s praises before his family and
the gathered community! All who are in awe of God’s presence – praise the Lord your God!
|Creative pause:||“...those who struggle for justice and peace, a day will dawn…”1|
Which was worse for the psalmist? His nightmare-type fears – or the people who knew
him and his reputation as a devout man, committed to God; who now knew of his weakness—
and taunted with derision? It is very hard to be sneered at and ridiculed about something
as precious as one’s faith in God! How should one respond? Do you ignore them? Hide
from their caustic remarks? The psalmist chose to honour and revere God, even as he
faced criticism and abuse. His witness was an invitation to honour and revere God, all you
descendants of God’s faithful people. Through the faithfulness of God’s people, generations
have learned of God’s abundant and steadfast love; and God’s compassionate care for people
who feel isolated or cut off from the fellowship of God’s presence, and from God’s people.
“…those who cry out and cling to God, a day will dawn with a new and glorious light….”1
|Creative pause:||“....those who place all their trust in God, the day will dawn
when God’s Kingdom, will truly be theirs….”1
1 From “A Special Collection” CD - track 1
“A new dawn (You may sow in tears)”
Words and music by Sister Monica Brown
© 1994 Monica Brown & Emmaus Productions
Used with Personal Permission
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.
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