Grace - fresh vital worship since 1993

March 2004: Psalms 2

Grace 2003-04 flyer frontGrace 2003-04 flyer back

Set up in the polygon with a café - food and drink served from the start not just the end.


Recap the Psalms 1 service and the homework sheet. introduce the Psalm Structure Twister idea. Explain that this service is our own presentation/creation of psalms.

Psalm structure twister

Psalms have an inner structure, marking the stages of a spiritual journey. Usually they start by looking at the world or the situation as it is, in all its alienation, injustice, distress. Then the psalmist turns to God, in anger, in a cry for help, in thanksgiving - and then things look different. There's a change of perspective. There's hope or strength or the promise of justice, and the thought of these leads to praise. There aren't many psalms that stay in one place, all praise or all lament.

Psalm Structure Twister has the elements of psalms marked out on a Twister board. The participants place hands and feet on the relevant spots to indicate the structure of a psalm. See images below.

The Twister positions were performed by Anna and Joshua.

Reading and prayer

Mark will then lead us in a psalm (maybe read by two halves of the room alternately) - Ps 40 I thnk? We’ll then play 40 by U2 and which is about waiting and there will be a prayer lighting three candles on each table.

Our own psalms

It’s then over to the Psalms – somehow we need to MC this? Maybe we need to get a list of who has psalms and get an order so they can run one after the other.

Psalm of boredom was Steve Collins' response.


What happened here differs from the order of service - see photos below. We made paintings responding to various psalms.

Closing prayer

Jonny will end the service with a psalm – city type theme with the video of traffic in tokyo (arrive) and a prayer to close

This follows up the previous service on psalms -- participants were invited to bring their own psalm.

Some examples:

My Psalm of Complacency by Jonathan Hassell

Oh Lord,
It's too easy to forget you
Your call on me often doesn't get through
Muffled by the bustle of my life
My multi-tasking mind
To you I call
Break through any barriers I have erected
Whether knowingly or by accident
Through trying to be contemporary
Break through
My complacency
My arrogance
My intellect
Help me to be more than observer
Finding new neuroses
To keep life full
And yet empty
Guide me
Make me unable to contain your gifts
Move me
Help me to hold on until it hurts
Because although I crave your peace
I need your justice
Do not leave me in my self-sufficiency
Help me to need you more
Take me places where I must turn to you
To get me through and find you're all I need
And when I need it
As you often do
Send your irrepressible joy
Blowing through
Leave me startled
Grinning uncontrollably
Almost giddy
Embarrassingly happy
A gift bestowed by a spendthrift
The Inspirer of all
Oh Lord,
It's too easy to forget you
Break through
I am frustrated by the mundanity of life
the superficiality of what I am offered each day
or my own lack of energy.
My life threatens to stagnate
when what I really want to do is fly away, to run for the horizon.
But what will happen to the people I leave behind?
I remember moments when things were different.
The most intense times
when someone kissed me unexpectedly or cried on my shoulder
when God spoke to me or took hold of my hand.
I thank God for those times.
And I thank God for stability day-to-day - for I can't stay on the mountain top.
I can no longer praise God like I once did.
Once I could follow formulas
sing songs ("Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee...")
say the standard prayers ("Almighty and most merciful Father...")
spend certain specified times in a church building.
Now I see that praise must be earned.
Now I see that it is not tied to words or times.
My soul longs for something - but what?


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Josh and Anna play Psalm Structure Twister.

Josh and Anna play Psalm Structure Twister.

Paintings inspired by psalms.







Psalm structure twister

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The elements of psalms are shown on the Twister board. Can you find which one is not present in real psalms? Can you say why?

Psalms of Thanksgiving
(65, 67, 75, 107, 124, 136, 18, 30, 32, 34, 40, 66, 92, 116, 118, 138...)
Gratitude for God's specific acts of goodness, protection, blessing. A needed corrective to our infantile tendencies.

Psalms of Lament
(3, 22, 31, 39, 42, 57, 71, 120, 139, 142, 12, 44, 80, 94, 137...)
Most common type. Both individual and corporate laments expressing fear, distress, anger at circumstances and adversaries.

Hymns of Praise
(8, 19, 33, 103, 104, 111, 114, 117, 145-149...)
According to God his worth for who he is: Creator, protector and benefactor, Lord of history...

Salvation History
(78, 105, 106, 135, 136)
These psalms review God's work historically, and often include biting commentary on Israel's spiritual state and God's faithfulness.

Wisdom Psalms
(1, 36, 37, 49, 73, 112, 127, 128, 133 (cf. Prov. 8 is a psalm)
Much like the proverbs, these psalms address practical life issues from the perspective of trust in God. Themes center on the righteous/wicked, wise/fool in terms of aphorisms.

Celebration and Affirmation
Liturgy for corporate celebrations relating to:
Enthronement Psalms, celebrating the new king and God as King (24, 29, 47, 93, 95-99);
Reaffirmation of the Davidic Covenant (eg 132);
Royal Psalms addressing both David and messiah (2, 18, 20, 21, 45, 72, 89, 101, 110, 144);
Songs of Zion, Psalms celebrating the place where God is present and where his kings reign (46, 48, 76, 84, 87, 122)

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