“Come, let us sing to the LORD! ...Let us come to him with thanksgiving...”
A Call to Worship
Lent 3A 2017
We come to the LORD our God, in reverent awe and with our praises.
“Come, let us sing to the LORD! ...Come, let us worship and bow down...”
We come to the LORD our God in humility, as we also confess all our sin.
“Come, let us sing to the LORD! ... Let us kneel before the LORD our maker,
for he is our God… We are the people he watches over, the flock of his care...”
We come to the LORD our God, aware of many failures in our faithfulness—
and in our promised commitments; and asking for God’s merciful forgiveness
and the restoration of our close relationship with the our Guiding Shepherd. Amen.
1 Come, let us sing to the LORD!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come to him with thanksgiving.
Let us sing psalms of praise to him.
3 For the LORD is a great God, a great King above all gods.
4 He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the mightiest mountains.
5 The sea belongs to him, for he made it. His hands formed the dry land, too.
6 Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the LORD our maker,
7 for he is our God. We are the people he watches over, the flock under his care.
If only you would listen to his voice today!
8 The LORD says, “Don’t harden your hearts as Israel did at Meribah,
as they did at Massah in the wilderness.
9 For there your ancestors tested and tried my patience,
even though they saw everything I did.
10 For forty years I was angry with them, and I said,
‘They are a people whose hearts turn away from me.
They refuse to do what I tell them.’
11 So in my anger I took an oath: ‘They will never enter my place of rest.’”
Prayers of Confession and Trust
“Come, let us sing to the LORD! ...Let us come to him with thanksgiving...” Today,
Lent 3A 2017
we come to the LORD our God, in reverent awe and with our praises; and to give
our thanks for our many blessings. We also come today, in trust and hope that
God hears our prayers and listens to our pleas for help and guidance; and that
our Almighty and Creating God, will respond in love and merciful generosity to our
needs. Great is the LORD our God and worthy of all our praise and thankfulness.
“Come, let us sing to the LORD! ...Come, let us worship and bow down...” We come
to the LORD our God in humility, as we also confess our sin and our failure to honour
our pledges of loyalty and commitment. Holy One, we find it so easy to glibly talk of
our promises and vows, yet when the time comes, we procrastinate; and we make so
many excuses as to why not just now, dear LORD! Please God, can’t you wait for a
more appropriate time to call us to service to those needy people; for a more suitable
time and place for us to be involved in that particular program; and for a much more
acceptable time and place which fits in with our plans? God of all times and places—
forgive us our surly responses; our grumbles and complaints about being too busy to
serve you and our neighbour; and challenge us anew to love and serve you as called.
“Come, let us sing to the LORD! ... Let us kneel before the LORD our maker, for he
is our God… We are the people he watches over, the flock of his care...” We come
to the LORD our God, aware of our many failures in faithfulness, and in our promised
commitments; and asking for God’s merciful forgiveness and the restoration of our
close relationship with the our Guiding Shepherd. Forgive us too, we pray, for our lack
of care of your creation, which we seem to think is there solely for our exploitation
and use; instead of understanding that creation is another gift from God, to be seen
and recognised as yet another example of God-with-us, to be cherished and valued
for all its beauty and diversity! Help us to understand and act upon the importance
of always listening for God’s voice today, amidst all the noise and chatter in our world—
and then “...Let us sing psalms of praise to him. For the LORD is … a great King...” Amen.
A Personal Meditation
In his book “Worship in Ancient Israel – the Essential Guide” Professor Walter
Lent 3A 2017
Brueggemann described Israel’s worship as “covenantal conversation”.1 God
has always revealed God’s-Own-Self to Israel and to humanity in general through
“utterances”,1 that is, through speech, shared dialogue or actions. In Psalm 95,
we learn of God’s actions that called forth praises and worship; and we learn of
God’s responses to the people of Israel’s disobedience and neglect of their worship—
even though they had in all sincerity made their covenantal commitments to God.
Along with Psalms 50 and 81, the psalmist reminds us of the privilege and dignity
of reverently worshipping God; and using the words of the ancient and traditional
marriage service vows: the worship of God is not something to be “...entered into
unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the
fear of God...”2 When we speak or reflect on being in “fear of God”, it is usually
understood to mean being in awe of God’s holy presence. So, the true worship
of God is serious in the sense that it is not done “...unadvisedly or lightly”;2 but
loyally, along with committed personal conviction; and in awed wonder because
of the miracle of God’s loving grace; that we, the created, can worship our Creator.
|Creative pause:||Our awed wonder of the miracle of God’s loving grace!|
As in marriage, so is worship to be entered into joyfully, as a celebration of shared
love and commitment; and an understanding of the “utterances” involved! But, as
sometimes happens, there is hurt and disillusionment in committed relationships,
in marriage, and relationships in faith communities, with commitments torn apart;
and love can die. If, through a miracle of God’s grace, forgiveness is born, given, and
accepted; then a new love could be born and celebrated. Through God’s gracious
mercy, forgiveness is again possible, and a new beginning has become a possibility.
|Creative pause:||Through God’s merciful grace, we are forgivable and forgiven!|
Psalm 95 has two distinct halves with the first half a song of celebration for God’s
creative powers as King and Ruler of all creation; and a call to worship that Almighty
and awe-inspiring King, who continually demonstrates God’s imaginative powers over
all creation. The second half is a look back at the people of Israel’s lamentable story—
and of their disobedience to God – so that God’s anger was kindled against them and
God swore an oath: ‘“They will never enter my place of rest.’” God’s oath was sworn
against the people and their leaders – a terrible indictment against them all. There is
lesson for us in that God is no ‘pussy cat weakling’ who can be manipulated to suit us.
Through God’s grace and mercy, God eventually relented and allowed Moses to see
the ‘promised land’ from a nearby mountain, but Moses never set foot there. Thanks be
to God that we worship a compassionate and generous God, who understands our
human weaknesses; and who through the grace of steadfast love for all of creation,
forgives us our deeply regretted and confessed sin; and blesses us with forgiveness.
However, our primary goal in life must be to trust God at all times - in hope and joy.
|Creative pause:||Trust God at all times - in hope joy and forgiveness.|
1 Text by Professor Walter Brueggemann
from “Worship in Ancient Israel – An Essential Guide”
Chapter 3 , pages 26
© 2005 Abingdon Press
201 Eighth Avenue South, Nashville TN 37202-0801 USA
2 From “1892 Book of Common Prayer” marriage ceremony
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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