This week’s offering combines both the First Reading and the Psalm from the Revised Common Lectionary, in a “three-way conversation”. L and R originally indicated Left and Right parts of the congregation while I read the third voice (the Job lection). Alternatively, three individual readers could be used.
|Psalm 22:1-15 and Job 23:1-9,16-17|
||Then Job answered: “Again today my complaint is bitter;
his heavy hand increases my groaning.
If only I knew where I might find him,
that I might come to his place!
|(L)||Where are you God, where are you??
Nothing compares with the pain of your absence.
|(R)||God, I cry out for you all day, and there is no answer — nothing;
but at night there is no silence or rest from my inner turmoil.
||I would set out my case in front of him,
and fill my mouth with arguments.
I would learn what his defense would be,
and understand his reply to me.
|(L)||Yet you are holy,
the praises of your people in every generation are your throne;
|(R)||those who trusted in you, and whom you delivered;
those who cried out to you and were not disappointed.
||Would he use his great power to debate with me?
No; but he would hear what I have to say.
There a sincere person could argue it with him,
and I should be successful in my case
||But in my present circumstance I am not worth calling human,
rather, I’m the scorn of all humanity, despised by everyone.
It makes no difference who sees me,
without exception they curl their lip and shake their head:
|(R)||“He trusted in the LORD, let the LORD look out for him,
let the LORD rescue him if he delights in him.”
It’s as though they know you’re nowhere near.
|(L)||Yes, you brought me out of the womb,
and made me safe on my mother’s breasts.
I was cast on you at birth;
all my life you have been my God.
|Job||If I go east, he is not there;
and west – I cannot make him out;
to the north he hides, and I cannot see him;
I turn to the south, but I cannot look at him.
||Don’t be so far away right now;
there is trouble almost upon me, and no one to help.
I am surrounded by fearful intimidating strength,
circling about me, around and around.
|(L)||I haven’t the strength to withstand their taunts or your absence;
my body is feeble,
and the very core of my being has melted like wax.
|Job||God has made my heart weak;
the Almighty has filled me with terror;
Indeed, I am silenced by the darkness,
and thick darkness covers my face!
|(R)||I’ve become paralysed and speechless —
and you have set me in the dust of death.
The quotations from the book of Job are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. and are used by permission. All rights reserved)
we bring the work of our hands
and the longing of our hearts,
acknowledging that we do not always give
as freely as Jesus calls us to do.
May your Spirit of grace enable us
to live in ways that reflect Jesus. Amen.
A CREATIVE MOMENT – Psalm 22:1-15, Job 23:1-9,16-17
Drape a black cloth from the communion table/altar onto the floor in front to symbolise the “heavy hand” that Job experiences; absence of God and the pain of that absence, which the psalmist experiences; the “thick darkness” that covers Job’s face; the “dust of death” in which the psalmist finds himself. What other aspects of these readings might be symbolised by the black?
THE PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
(A prayer to gather the spoken and silent concerns/joys/thanks expressed by the congregation and lead into a more structured Intercession with connection to the lections for the day. Sometimes this prayer borrows lightly from other sources e.g. Uniting in Worship 2 or publications of the Iona Community.)
Hear our prayers for all that concerns us
that the light of your Word and the warmth of your Spirit
may comfort and encourage,
today and in the days to come,
those whom we name in our words
and in our silence.
In Jesus’ name we pray….
(The Prayers of the People continue)
|HYMN SUGGESTIONS FOR SUNDAY 28B
|All the sleepy should have a place to sleep||TIS 697|
|Comfort, comfort, all my people||TIS 647|
|Entered the holy place above||TIS 374|
|Great God, your Spirit, like the wind||TIS 416|
|Happy are they that walk in God’s wise ways||TIS 1|
|Lord, you have been our dwelling place||TIS 144|
|Our God, our help in ages past,||TIS 47|
|Spirit of truth, essential God||TIS 426|
|Thank you for giving me the morning||TIS 162|
|What shall I do my God to love,||TIS 122|
|You servants of God, your master proclaim||TIS 215|
|All go to God when they are sorely placed||TIS 240|
|In suffering love the thread of life||TIS 177|
|Lord, hear my praying, listen to me||TIS 689|
|When human voices cannot sing||TIS 682|
|All who see me deride me||TIS 9|
|In the presence of your people||TIS 727|
|Lead us, heavenly Father, lead us||TIS 580|
|The God of Abraham praise||TIS 125|
|A man there lived in Galilee||TIS 235|
|Alleluia … The Word of the Lord lasts||TIS 257|
|And now, O Father, mindful of the love||TIS 519|
|Christ is alive! Let Christians sing||TIS 387|
|Come, let us with our Lord arise||TIS 375|
|Forty days and forty nights||TIS 591|
|God of mercy, God of grace||TIS 452|
|Jesus, lover of my soul||TIS 211|
|Join all the glorious names||TIS 205|
|Lord enthroned in heavenly splendour||TIS 520|
|Praise to the Holiest in the height||TIS 141|
|They that believe and are baptized||TIS 479|
|Where cross the crowded ways of life||TIS 608|
|Where high the heavenly temple stands||TIS 377|
|With joy we meditate the grace||TIS 206|
|Give thanks with a grateful heart||TIS 717|
|Jesus calls us! O’er the tumult||TIS 589|
|My God, accept my heart this day||TIS 485|
|O Master, let me walk with thee||TIS 601|
|Safe in the shadow of the Lord||TIS 644|
|You satisfy the hungry heart||TIS 539|