A Call to Worship
Pentecost 25B [Ordinary 33B] or [Proper 28B] 2015
Psalm 16

We come to sing with the psalmist: “LORD, you alone are my inheritance”,
We respond to the psalmist with our own song: “LORD, my cup of blessing.”

We come to sing with the psalmist: “Every good thing I have comes from you”
We respond to the psalmist words with our own song: “Lord, you are my Lord.”1

We come to sing our songs of praise and of confident trust in the Lord our God:
We respond psalmist’s confidence in God with our personal song: “You will show
me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of
living with you forever...”
All together, we “…will bless the LORD who guides …” us. Amen.

Psalm 16
A psalm of David.

1 Keep me safe, O God, for I have come to you for refuge.
2 I said to the LORD, “You are my Master!
Every good thing I have comes from you.”
3 The godly people in the land are my true heroes!
I take pleasure in them!

4 Troubles multiply for those who chase after other gods.
I will not take part in their sacrifices of blood
or even speak the names of their gods.
5 LORD, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing.
You guard all that is mine.
6 The land you have given me is a pleasant land.
What a wonderful inheritance!

7 I will bless the LORD who guides me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
8 I know the LORD is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.
9 No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice.
My body rests in safety.
10 For you will not leave my soul among the dead
or allow your holy one to rot in the grave.

11 You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy
of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.

Prayers of Thankfulness and Trust
Pentecost 25B [Ordinary 33B] or [Proper 28B] 2015
Psalm 16

God of the past, the Refuge and Strength of past generations, with thankful
hearts and minds, we sing with the psalmist: “...LORD, you are my cup of
blessing, you alone are my inheritance...”
We give thanks for the many rich
blessings we have known and received from past generations of teachers,
mentors, leaders, ministers, friends and family members who have guided us
in our life and faith journey. We give thanks for the communities in which we
grew and matured; for the wise counsel we received; and for the corrections
and discipline that people gave us when we wandered from the way of faith.
We give thanks that God has indeed been our Mentor, Guide and Companion.

God of the present moment, when we are quietly reflecting on life’s blessings
and giving God thanks for the minute by minute connection we have with God
as our Maker; God as our Guide; and God as our Refuge and Protector notably
in times of struggle, fear and doubt. With grateful hearts and minds, we join with
the psalmist in singing: “...Every good thing I have comes from you…Lord, you
are my Lord.”
1 and all of what that means in our understanding of God’s Lordship.
Trustworthy God, we give you thanks and praise for everything that you have
been and done for each one of us as an individual, and as a community of faith—
our trust in you is justified and our continuing trust in you is valid and relevant.

God of the unknown future, whilst we may not be sure of what lies ahead of us—
one thing that we do know and can trust in is God’s abiding presence with each
of us, and as a faith community. With joy we can individually sing: “...You will
show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures
of living with you forever…”
Listening God, although this psalm is a lament, it grew
out of a long and trusted relationship with God through the varied past and present
struggles of its author. We give thanks that we can be honest and share with God
all our anxious fears and apprehension about the future. Timeless God, you are
before and behind us; above and below us; within us and surrounding us with your
loving presence and gracious mercy; so with confidence we take God’s hand and
go on into the unknown singing: “…No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice…” Amen.

A Personal Meditation
Pentecost 25B [Ordinary 33B] or [Proper 28B] 2015
Psalm 16

The secular definition of a “lament” is an expression of deep and passionate grief,
regret, mourning, sorrow, wailing, sobbing, disappointment, or moaning and groaning.
However, “laments” in the Biblical Psalms are an act of worship of God, when the
lamenter – either a person or a community – call on God for help and guidance—
because in the past, God has always heard their anguished calls for help, guidance
and blessing. Depending on how they are counted, over one-third of the psalms are
“laments” because of a threatened disaster, or a commemoration of a major disaster.
In the first section of the 150 Psalms, there are 19 individual or shared “laments” by
people worshipping God, even as they sought refuge in times of trouble They had
every confidence in bringing a “lament” to God in prayer because of their long and
trusting relationship with God; and also because of the physical and spiritual refuge
that was found in Temple worship, all of it being an act of trusting faithfulness in God.

Creative pause: Are you surprised that there are so many “laments” in the Psalms?

Professor Walter Brueggemann listed multiple examples from the Psalms as reasons
for the “laments” and he wrote: “.....The lament/complaint describes as fully as possible
the speaker’s situation of trouble. This often includes situations of sickness, loneliness
and a sense of abandonment, danger from enemies, shame and humiliation, and death.
The laments lead directly and necessarily to the petition or supplication... Together with
the complaint and petition, we may mention the practice of giving reasons that God
should act to right the wrong. These ‘motivations’ include (1) appeal to God’s reputation;
(2) appeal to past action of God with which God should be consistent; (3) the guilt of the
speaker; (4) the innocence of the speaker; (5) the promise of praise; (6) the helplessness
of the speaker; and (7) the trust of the speaker....”
2 The listing of the reasons of asking
God to intervene in difficult circumstances is not “bargaining” with God - “I’ll do this if you
do that”.
Instead, the “lament” was an act of worship before God – although vulnerable,
yet confidently asking God in prayer for the strength to deal with the current issue. The
subsequent act of worship was/is thanksgiving and praise for God’s mercy – whether the
answer requested was/is provided or not. If God’s transforming action is not to our liking,
it is because God sees and knows things differently than we do and may have other plans!

Creative pause: When we pray our petitions, do we always expect to like God’s answers?

The author of this psalm knew all about the vulnerability of humanity, especially during the
long night hours, when any problem becomes impossible; and when anything stressful can
become so magnified that it becomes a major disaster! The author sang: “I will bless the
LORD who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. I know the LORD is always with
me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me…”
I can attest to the night-time vulnerability
and to the reassurance of God’s abiding presence and the blessed “instruction” received!

Creative pause: Does “shaken” describe how you feel when things go wrong for you?

1 New Revised Standard Version
Copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches
of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

2 Text by Professor Walter Brueggemann
“The Psalms and the Life of Faith”
Chapter 3, pages 70/72 ©1995 Augsburg Publishing House Minneapolis MN 55440, USA

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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