From the Revised Common Lectionary website here. Creator God, you prepare a new way in the wilderness and your grace waters the desert. Help us to recognize your hand working miracles beyond our imagining. Open our hearts to be transformed by the new thing you are doing, so that our lives may proclaim the extravagance of your love for all, and its presence in Jesus Christ. Amen.
The following paraphrase of Psalm 126 is from my dear friend and mentor, Michael Morgan. This paraphrase of Psalm 126 (and, in fact, every psalm) can be found in his published psalter, Psalter for Christian Worship, Revised Edition. The suggested tunes for this Psalm (22.214.171.124. D) are IN BARILONE, HOLY MANNA, and BEACH SPRING. Psalm 126 is the lectionary psalm for the fifth sunday in lent, year c. When the Lord brought home our treasure, All delights were like a dream; In defeat, a shout of vict'ry; In the sand, a flowing stream. Mouths that once were parched with anguish Now with shouts of joy are filled; Laughter now displaces sadness For the goodness God has willed.
Bring us back to former glory, Lost through years of exile's pain; Generations long forgotten Seek God's favor to regain. Those who plant their seeds with grieving, Wetting soil with falling tears, Shall rejoice in time of harvest, Reaping hope for all their years.
Used with permission from Michael Morgan.
The following prayer is by Joan Stott. We come offering praise and glory to our great and glorious God who has breathed new life into our dry and dusty souls, giving us fresh hope and new enthusiasms for life and living, both individually and as a community of faith. We have each experienced times of loss and disappointment, yet our trustworthy God has turned these sorrows and pains into times of hope and expectation, breathing new life and joy into all our actions; as we seek to live in and through God.
Holy God, we pray that we may be good representatives and stewards of our roles and responsibilities, as we daily seek to live a faithful witness to you. We hope that others may see and know, that you are a God who is worthy of all honour and worship, and that your faithfulness and mercy is available to all who respond, and offer their love and commitment to you.
Renewing and restoring God, we rejoice in the new beginnings that you have made possible for us through your generous and forgiving love; and that past tears and regrets can stay in the past; and that with your inspiration and encouragement, we may reap a harvest of joy and peace, as your name is honoured and praised forever. Amen.
— Joan Stott, posted on the Geelong City Parish UCA website. If used in shared worship, please provide an acknowledgement as follows: © 2011 Joan Stott – "The Timeless Psalms" RCL Psalm Year B, used with permission.
I stumbled across the liturgy by Dan Schifeling and was intrigued by the contextual specificity of this prayer. He takes the fortunes that are named in the Psalm and combines them with the narrative of his community. How might you use the language of Psalm 126 to give voice to the grace that God has bestowed to the community which you serve? When God brought our people back from captivity in Babylon, we were like those who dream. Then we shook with laughter, then we shouted for joy! When God came to us in a poor baby born in a stable... When God spoke to us from a mountain top... When God shattered the power of the tomb... When God poured out Spirit from the heavens... When God built our church on a farm field... When God blessed us with children and a church school... When God called us into small groups... When God empowered us to serve the hungry... When God comforted our broken hearts... When God helped our youth build houses for the poor... When God strengthened us in a time of illness... When God joined our voice for justice with other churches... When God inspired us to create wonderful music... When God moved our 3rd & 4th graders to raise a mile of pennies... When God started us thinking about an elevator... When God opened the way for us to welcome all kinds of people... Then we shook with laughter, then we shouted for joy! May we always trust in your goodness, Loving God! May our tears of sorrow water seeds of joy. May our times of tribulation bear a harvest of justice and peace.
~ written by Dan Schifeling, and posted on the WorshipCalls blog. http://worshipcalls.blogspot.ca/