Psalm 41
Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, my God.
My soul is thirsting for God, the God of my life; when can I enter and see the face of God?
My tears have become my bread, by night, by day, as I hear it said all the day long: “Where is your God?”
These things will I remember as I pour out my soul;
how I would lead the rejoicing crowd into the house of God,
amid cries of gladness and thanksgiving, the throng wild with joy.
Why are you cast down, my soul, why groan within me?
Hope in God, I will praise him still, my Saviour and my God.

The response to our prayers of praise and thanksgiving is:
Praise to You, my Saviour and my God!
SCRIPTURE READING:  1 Peter 2:9-10
You are a chosen race, a kingdom of priests, a holy nation, a people to be a personal possession to sing the praises of God who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were a non-people and now you are the People of God; once you were outside his pity; now you have received pity.
The word of the Lord.
In times of crisis and tribulation, when we are shaken out of our sclerotic habits, the love of God comes out to purify us, to remind us that we are a people. Once we were not a people; but now we are God’s people. The closeness of God calls us together. “Thou hast made me known to friends whom I knew not,” says the poet Rabindranath Tagore. “Thou hast brought the distance near and made a brother of the stranger”. This time for action asks us to recover our sense of belonging, the knowledge that we are part of a people.
What does it mean to be “a people”?  This category draws on and expresses many sources: histories, linguistic, cultural (especially in music and dance), but above all, a collective wisdom and memory. A people is held together by that memory, treasured in history, custom, rites (religious or not), and other bonds that transcend the purely transactional and rational.
At the beginning of the story of every people is a quest for dignity and freedom, a history of solidarity and struggle. For the people of Israel, it was the exodus from their slavery in Egypt. For the Romans, it was the foundation of a city. For the nations of the American continent, it was the struggle for independence.
Just as a people comes to an awareness of its shared dignity in times of struggle, in war and hardship, so, too, a people can forget  that awareness. I people can become oblivious to its own history, In times of peace and prosperity, there is always the risk that the people might dissolve into a mere mass, with no unifying principle to bind them.
When this happens, the centre lives at the expense of the margins, people divide into competing tribes, and the exploited and disrespected might burn with resentment at the injustice. Rather than thinking of ourselves as members of a people, we have competition for dominance . . . and so the people no longer see the natural world as their inheritance to be nurtured; the powerful seize and extract all they can from it, while putting nothing back.  Indifference, egotism, a culture of complacent well-being, and deep divisions within society, spilling out into violence – all these are signs that a people has lost awareness of its dignity. It has ceased to believe in itself.
Every now and then, however, great calamities awaken the memory of that original liberation and unity, Times of tribulation offer the possibility that what oppresses the people – both internally and externally – can be overthrown, and a new age of freedom begin.

INTERCESSIONS:  Lord, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer

CLOSING PRAYER:  Glory be to the Father . . .

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