Good morning and welcome to our home worship sheets for Sunday 24th May. This week we are looking at Psalm 27 together.
Let us start by saying these words together:
In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Merciful God: We come to worship longing for tenderness, because this world can be hard. We come longing for light because our lives are crowded with shadows. We come desperately needing direction. Fill us this morning with your peace we pray. In Jesus name Amen
Let’s sing/read/listen to our first song Far and near hear the call (Source 90) To listen on YouTube click here
Far and near hear the call,
Worship him, Lord of all;
Families of nations come,
Celebrate what God has done.
Deep and wide is the love
Heaven sent from above;
God’s own son for sinners died,
Rose again, he is alive.
Say it loud, say it strong,
Tell the world what God has done;
Say it loud, praise his name,
Let the earth rejoice
For the Lord reigns.
At his name let praise begin,
Oceans roar, nature sing.
For he comes to judge the earth
In righteousness and in his truth.
And let’s continue to worship God as we think about all the things we are grateful for this week and the money we offer towards the work of the kingdom. (If you normally put an envelope or money in the collection bag please take a moment to set it aside now thanking God for his many blessings) Please take a moment to give thanks to God for all the ways he has blessed you and pray that through our giving God’s love and goodness might be shared with those around us and in the world.
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall.
3 Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.
4 One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.
5 For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.
6 Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord.
7 Hear my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer me.
8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek.
9 Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, God my Saviour.
10 Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.
11 Teach me your way, Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.
12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, spouting malicious accusations.
13 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
This is a wonderful Psalm, isn’t it. I loved reading it and thinking about it and preparing for these sheets. Psalms 26, 27 and 28 are a little triad of Psalms that go together and have a common theme where the Lord’s house comes into view. As the worshipper approaches the house of the Lord, in Psalm 26, he is searched out by God for sincerity. In our Psalm for today, Psalm 27, the worshipper sees the house and finds it a place of refuge from enemies and a place for meeting with God. And in Psalm 28 the worshipper brings their requests, to God and receives answers and gives thanks.
At this strange “in-between” time, a time of uncertainty and confusion, between ascension and Pentecost, this psalm would have been a huge encouragement for Jesus first disciples. Under threat from both the Jewish leaders and the Roman authorities the disciples reading this Psalm would be praying for safety from their enemies and expressing their trust in God. Trusting that in spite of the way things seemed God would not leave them and had great plans for them. In their time of waiting they were encouraged to “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
For us, we don’t really have to face physical enemies and oppressors in the same way that they did. But maybe the enemies we face are actually inside us; the negativity that drags us down and tells us we’ll never be good enough; the laziness that stops our attempts at healthy habits in their tracks; the greed that tell us we should just carry on consuming regardless. These enemies are just as real and maybe even more dangerous because they can damage our bodies and our souls. The theologian Richard Rohr calls these enemies our “shadow self”. He says “Our shadow self is any part of ourselves or our institutions that we try to hide or deny because it seems socially unacceptable.” These feelings of inadequacy or worthlessness or anger or frustration or unhealthy desires, they are part of us, they will be with us for as long as we live and we need to wrestle with them and learn to resist them, but they are not who we were created to be.
We are created to be sons and daughters of God, to live and breathe with Him and live in relationship with Him experiencing His love and goodness. And the Psalmist seems to know this too. The language the writer uses is one of intimacy and confidence that the Lord will protect him and help him through.
Of course, on Pentecost Sunday the first disciples would suddenly receive God’s Holy Spirit to strengthen them to help them to live in a generous and loving way that attracted attention. The Spirit would give them the power and the courage to speak to all kinds of people, and the ability to teach and heal and help. The same Spirit of God lives in each of us who calls Jesus Lord. Our verse of the year reminds us “Surely you know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you!” (1 Cor 3:16). That same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead is at work in each of us. God hasn’t changed! If we let him, he still wants to fill us and strengthen us to live in generous loving ways. The Holy Spirit still wants to give us power and courage to speak and teach and heal and help.
- What does “dwelling in the house of the Lord” mean to you?
- What enemies do you struggle with?
- What helps you to “be strong take heart and wait for the Lord”?
Let us pray together:
Light-giving, salvation-making God, we have staked our living and our dying and our being raised to new life on your steadfast love and faithfulness.
You have promised to hide us in your shelter in the day of trouble.
You have promised to set us high on a rock, above those powers and forces
that batter us, that tempt us, that work against us.
We have sought your presence here, listening for your Word: your Word that gives life; your Word that heals the wounded heart; your Word that speaks truth.
Teach us your Way, O Lord Jesus. Lead us on a well-lighted path. In the times when you seem silent, grant us the courage to wait, trusting in your grace that brings your resurrection power to our dead ends.
You are doing a ‘new thing’ among us. though, it is hard to see at times what that ‘new thing’ is.
We bring to you our grieving over what is being lost, our fears about what the future might hold, our desire to love and serve you.
By the power of your Holy Spirit, you are refining us, purifying our discipleship, pulling us into following Jesus in this new world.
Grant us mercy and grace to trust you more deeply, for the only secure place is with you, our light and our salvation, the stronghold of our life.
We pray all these things in the name of Jesus, the first-born of your new creation our hope, our life. Amen
Let’s sing/read/listen to the song Faithful God (Source 88).
To listen on YouTube click here
Faithful God, faithful God,
All sufficient One, I worship You.
Shalom my peace,
My strong Deliverer,
I lift You up, faithful God.
We’re going to take a moment now to offer our prayers for others.
Let’s pray for:
Our world……………………………..Lord hear us, Lord graciously hear us
Our country………………………….. Lord hear us, Lord graciously hear us
Our community……………………… Lord hear us, Lord graciously hear us
Our families and friends…………… Lord hear us, Lord graciously hear us
To finish our time of prayer let’s share the Lord’s prayer:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come,
your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom,
the power, and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen.
We’re going to listen/read/sing our final song that reminds us about God’s great faithfulness and love “Great is thy Faithfulness” (Source 138).
To find it on YouTube please click here
Great is thy faithfulness,
O God my Father,
there is no shadow
of turning with thee;
thou changest not,
thy compassions they fail not;
as thou hast been,
thou for ever wilt be.
Great is thy faithfulness!
Great is thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning
new mercies I see;
all I have needed,
thy hand hath provided
great is thy faithfulness,
Lord unto me!
Summer and winter,
and springtime and harvest,
sun, moon and stars
in their courses above,
join with all nature
in manifold witness
to thy great faithfulness,
mercy and love.
Pardon for sin
and a peace that endureth,
thine own dear presence
to cheer and to guide;
strength for today
and bright hope for tomorrow,
blessings all mine,
with ten thousands beside!
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all evermore, Amen