Text for Sunday 20th June with Rev. Geoff Davis

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A warm Welcome to Worship on Sunday 20th June

From Upper Tay and Tenandry Churches of Scotland

Welcome to worship this morning for
the Churches of Scotland of the Upper
Tay and Tenandry

CH4 459
1 Crown him with many crowns,
the Lamb upon his throne ;
Hark ! how the heavenly anthem
drowns
all music but its own.
Awake, my soul, and sing
of him who died for thee,
and hail him as thy matchless King
through all eternity.
2 Crown him the Lord of life,
who triumphed o’er the grave,
and rose victorious in the strife
for those he came to save.
His glories now we sing
who died and rose on high,
who died eternal life to bring,
and lives that death may die.
3 Crown him the Lord of love ;
behold his hands and side,
rich wounds yet visible above,
in beauty glorified.
All hail, Redeemer, hail !
for thou hast died for me :
thy praise shall never, never fail
throughout eternity.
Matthew Bridges (1800–1894) and Godfrey Thring
(1823–1903)

Opening Prayer
The day is here, Lord
And we, your people, are back where they
belong
In this church, this small place
So ordinary to others; so precious and holy to
us
We sense your presence, Lord, within these
old walls
You know our names, and we are glad
We surrender to the wonder and mystery of
your love for us
And we are sustained
We acknowledge your constancy and
steadfastness to us, your wayward children
And we are humbled
But we know our failings, Lord
We have judged when we should have shown
compassion
We have turned away when we should have
opened our arms
We have forgotten that we meet Christ in the
disguise of the stranger
Forgive us, Lord, cleanse us, heal us
Reset us in your grace
To follow in your steps the way of the Cross
In the name of Jesus, we ask these things
Amen

Reading – Psalm 9
I will give thanks to you, LORD, with
all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
2
I will be glad and rejoice in you;
I will sing the praises of your
name, O Most High.
3 My enemies turn back;
they stumble and perish before you.
4
For you have upheld my right and my
cause,2
sitting enthroned as the righteous
judge.
5 You have rebuked the nations and
destroyed the wicked;
you have blotted out their name for
ever and ever.
6
Endless ruin has overtaken my enemies,
you have uprooted their cities;
even the memory of them has
perished.
7
The LORD reigns forever;
he has established his throne for
judgment.
8 He rules the world in righteousness
and judges the peoples with equity.
9
The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
10 Those who know your name trust in you,
for you, LORD, have never
forsaken those who seek you.
11 Sing the praises of the LORD, enthroned
in Zion;
proclaim among the nations what he
has done.
12 For he who avenges blood remembers;
he does not ignore the cries of the
afflicted.
13 LORD, see how my enemies persecute
me!
Have mercy and lift me up from the
gates of death,
14 that I may declare your praises
in the gates of Daughter Zion,
and there rejoice in your salvation.
15 The nations have fallen into the pit they
have dug;
their feet are caught in the net they
have hidden.
16 The LORD is known by his acts of justice;
the wicked are ensnared by the work
of their hands.[c]
17 The wicked go down to the realm of the
dead,
all the nations that forget God.
18 But God will never forget the needy;
the hope of the afflicted will never
perish.
19 Arise, LORD, do not let mortals triumph;
let the nations be judged in your
presence.
20 Strike them with terror, LORD;
let the nations know they are only
mortal.

Sermon –Psalm 9
One of the most important questions I am
asked as a minister
is
“How do I pray?”
Or more often perhaps, someone will say to
me
“I don’t know how to pray…”
or
“I find praying really difficult…”
And there is a pause,
I am expected to be able to say something…
And people are right to have that pause there,
If there is something that might be reasonably
expected of me as someone who is a minister,
Is that I might be able to give some points as to
how to pray…
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, when he was
Archbishop of Johannesburgh in South Africa,
was once giving a training conference to to
priests in the Diocese of Natal.
He spoke to them about the confidence we can
have in God
Who will ultimately triumph over injustice, and
violence and evil
And then he turned to the clergy, to speak to
them of the importance of prayer in their own
lives and he said3
“Our people will not expect that we will be
experts in drains or finance,
But they will expect us to be experts in prayer.
And that is what they should expect from us.”
And I wonder, how have you been taught to
pray.
When Jesus was once asked by his disciples
how to pray
The answer he gave was probably the most
famous prayer ever
“Our father in heaven, hallowed be your
name…”
That might have been the way you were taught
to pray.
Or you might have been taught to pray, if you
were an Anglican
Through the Prayer Book
“Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open,
all desires known…”
You might have been taught the Lord’s prayer
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name
You may have been taught through bedtime
prayers….
“Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
Keep me safe through all the night
And wake me with the morning light.”
Or you may have been taught the mnemonic
ACTS
Adoration
Confession
Thanksgiving
Supplication – asking for things
Or you may have been taught to pray in
silence.
Like Centering Prayer
I find great wisdom in the words of Ignatius of
Loyola who advised
Don’t pray the way you can’t
Pray the way you can…
But if you had been a Jewish child, the way
you may very well have been taught to pray,
would have been through 150 prayers to learn
The psalms
This vast collection of varied, human, divine
prayers.
And this collection of prayers has had an undue
influence as well on us Scottish Presbyterians,
As long as there have been Scottish
Presbyterians
We have been compiling Psalters, a psalter,
spelt psalter, is collecting of psalms
And if those psalms are metrical psalms
Then they are meant to be sung.
In 1569, 3 years after John Knox had been
settled in Scotland, the General Assembly
convened in December 1562 – no May
meetings in those days – December 1562 for
printing of the psalms, the Kirk lent one Robert
Lekprevik, twa hundred punds tae buy irons,
ink and paper and to find craftsmen to print
the psalms
So that the people could sing.
It was the singing of the psalms which brought
the Scots round to presbyterianism
The singing of the psalms which fortified the
faith of the Covenanters4
It was the psalms which have been with us in
the days of our lives
Psalm 23
The Lord’s my shepherd
He makes me lie down in green pastures
Psalm 121
I to the hills will lift my eyes
Psalm 51
Have mercy on me O God according to your
steadfast love
According to your abundant mercy blot out my
transgressions
And these psalms bring all of our human
emotions
Our complaint
In Psalm 13
How long, O Lord, will you forget me forever
Or Psalm 88
Your anger has swept over me
Your surround me like a flood all day long
All of ourselves is brought to all of God
And the images of God are used
God as shepherd
God as rock
God as mother – Psalm 131
God as a hiding place – Psalm 32
God as fortress – Psalm 27
God as an instructor – Psalm 32
This is an image of us giving our whole selves
To the fullness of God,
In doing this,
In meditating on God’s law day and night
The psalm says
We become like trees planted by trees the
yield fruit in its season.
And this is how our reading Psalm 9 begins
A full giving to God…
“I give thanks to you Oh Lord with my whole
heart
I will tell of your wonderful deeds
I will be glad and exult in you
I will sing praise to your name most high.”
When we learn to pray in the psalms, we learn
to give of the fullness of ourselves
Into the fullness of God.
If you read the psalms,
You might gain the impression that Israel was a
country where it rained a lot
Everywhere you turn
There are floods, and waves, and rivers
The waters came up to my neck
Your floods surrounded me
Your waves and your waterfalls came over me.
And this seems especially strange given that
Israel is a very dry country
Floods are rare
There are not many rivers
These water images in the psalms are pictures
of something else5
At times they are pictures of sustenance
But most often than note
The floods are pictures of chaos
Of a world run out of control
Of things beyond us
Of a world where all does not make sense
These floods can be disease
Or empires
Or pscyhological distress
Or enemies
John Paul Sartre once said “hell is other
people”
Sometimes the psalms are not far away from
this
Constant talk enemies
Of evildoers
The wicked
There are floods,
And there is one image above all that the
psalms invite us into to contend with this
flooded, chaotic world,
This world where out of control forces beyond
us can come against us
And that picture is the picture of God as King
And Psalm 9 is full of this
“The Lord sits enthroned forever
He established his throne for judgement”
And then you have God doing king things
He defeats your enemies
The psalmist has no hesitation claiming that
God is on my side
If people are annoying you
Then don’t conduct some kind of tribunal to find
out if you are in the right
And they are wrong
Just decide it
God came against my enemies
Those who contend with me, Contend with God
And this God is counted on to win battles
This God is counted on to be a stronghold
When do you need a stronghold, when you
feel weak
This God executes Justice
This is God as king
And this is a king who operates on a personal
level – he is my king
And on a national level – he is the king who
operates at the level of the nation
At the level of wars
At the level of trade agreements
At the level of voting systems
At the level of asylum laws
And defence contracts
And health policy
And education policy
And housing policy
If you believe in God as king
Then you believe in God of all these things
And the thing about God as king
Is that he is not a king who is interested in a
form of kingship which is about favours for the
powerful
He is a king for the poor.6
If you want to have a God who is king
Then you are also going to have to have a
God of the poor
Verse 16
“For the needy will not always be forgotten
And the hope of the poor perish forever”
There is a phenomena in our society where we
choose to know much about the rich,
And little about the poor.
We have a newspaper which every year prints
a list of the 1,000 richest people in Britain,
Tells their stories, tells who is moving up our
down
Imagine if you had a newspaper who
published the story of the 1,000 poorest
people in Britain
We tell myths and fables about the poorest,
they too often exist as caricatures, benefit
cheats or scroungers
But not so with God
The hope of the poor will not perish forever
The word for hope here is the idea of a taught
bow string,
It is something that is taught, and expectant,
something that wait and wait to happen
It pulls at you
And the poorest have these, they have a hope,
it is something that you can be tempted to let
go of, but God will not
He knows the hope of the poorest.
If you want God as king
You have a God who is on your side
You have a God who is interested in politics
You have a God who is with the poor
As Desmond Tutu said
To believe in God who sides with the innocent
against the unjust
The vulnerable against the powerful
Is also to learn to pray
And Psalm 9 finishes with a warning
“Rise up, O Lord, Do not let mortals prevail
Let the nations be judged before you
Put them in fear O lord
Let the nations know that they are only human”.
When politicians believe their own myths of
power
That they belong to a superior class
Put them in fear,
It is this picture of God we are asked to plunge
into,
To celebrate
To live prayerfully in this God soaked word.
AMEN

CH4 6
PSALM 9
1 God shall endure for aye ; he has
for judgement set his throne
to rule the nations equally,
justice to give each one.
2 God also will a refuge be
for those who are oppressed ;
a refuge he will be in times
of trouble to distressed.
3 And they who know your name, in you
their confidence will place :
for you have not forsaken them
who truly seek your face.
4 Sing, then, sing praises to the Lord
on Zion’s sacred hill ;7
let all the earth be made aware
of God’s work and God’s will.
Psalm 9, verses 7-11
The Scottish Psalter, 1929

Prayer for Others
Oh God
We have heard
That poor folk won’t always be forgotten
We have heard
That the needy will not hope in vain
So rise now we pray
To bind up the wounds of the broken hearted
To give hope to the oppressed
To give strength to broken
Where poverty means debt
Or unemployment
Or shame
Or hunger
Oh God rise now
Give hope to the needy
And strength to the oppressed
Where need is for
Safety
Or Justice
Or a home
Oh God rise now
Give hope to the needy
And strength to the oppressed
And where the system is cruel – bring justice
Where reformers have given up – bring hope
Where profit has taken priority over
compassion
Oh God rise now
And give hope to the needy and
Strength to the oppressed
And now hear us in the prayer of Jesus
Our Father in heaven
Hallowed be your name
Your kingdom come, your will be done on
earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our
debtors
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us
from evil
For yours is the kingdom, the power and the
glory
Forever,
AMEN

CH4 5198
1 Love divine, all loves excelling,
joy of heaven, to earth come down,
fix in us thy humble dwelling,
all thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesus, thou art all compassion,
pure, unbounded love thou art ;
visit us with thy salvation,
enter every trembling heart.
2 Come, almighty to deliver ;
let us all thy life receive ;
suddenly return, and never,
never more thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
serve thee as thy hosts above,
pray, and praise thee, without ceasing,
glory in thy perfect love.
3 Finish then thy new creation :
pure and spotless let us be ;
let us see thy great salvation
perfectly restored in thee,
changed from glory into glory,
till in heaven we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before thee,
lost in wonder, love, and praise.
Charles Wesley (1707–1788)

Blessing
May God hold you in the floods and the
place of chaos
May God make you rich when you come to
him in poverty
May God bring you with singing into this
morning
And every morning beyond
In the name of the Father, the Son and Holy
Spirit,
AMEN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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