Tag Archives: Psalm

Kirkin’ o’ tha Tartans

For thousands of years tartans have reflected the preferences of particular weavers and the tastes of particular regions, and families who lived in those regions. Following the Dress Act of 1746, when the British government attempted to suppress wearing tartans, particular designs became associated with clans and bear the names of the clan.

Tartan09On February 26th, in the year of our Lord 2017, the Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church will celebrate Scottish heritage with grand pageantry, parading tartans of clans that have worshiped in this congregation.

This service will emphasize Scottish influence: we will repeat portions of the Scots Confession of Faith, prayers from the Scottish Book of Prayer, and hear the Lord’s prayer in Gaelic.

Pastor Robert Shaw’s sermon will consider how Celtic theology might influence our appreciation of our place in the world.

Almost Divine

I remember a cousin calling out “Mrs. Shaw” at a family gathering then smiling as nearly every woman in the room turned to look at him. Such is the power of having someone’s name!

O LORD, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
— Psalm 8:1

Most translations honor a deep respect for the sacred name of God, using the word LORD in all capitals to represent the four Hebrew letters. A name so powerful ancient priests would only whisper it in the temple but once a year lest they use it too lightly or wrongly.

Yet we humans have been given this name to call upon the Creator of the heavens and the earth!

When I look into the heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what are humans that you are mindful of them,
Children of Adam, that you care for them?

— Psalm 8:3-4

The Celts perceived God not as sitting out beyond the edges of creation, but having created all that is from within the very substance of God, adding a divine dimension to all things seen and unseen.

I will have more to say about Psalm 8 at 10 AM on Sunday, February 26th at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church.

Prayers for Good Friday

On Good Friday, the day Christians remember Jesus having been betrayed, arrested, quickly tried and convicted, then crucified and buried.

On the Friday between Palm Sunday and Easter our sanctuary will be open from noon until 3 pm for anyone interested in quiet meditation and prayers. Should you be unable to come here, we offer the following for your family or personal devotions.


The ancients called this day “Triumph of the Cross” reminding us to gather not to mourn this day, but to celebrate Christ’s life-giving passion and thus find strength and hope in the tree of life.

As you consider these readings, listen carefully for signs that
God is Good.

Throughout this day, as you ponder these readings, members of our Worship Committee or Congregational Care Committee or the Pastor will be available to sit with you and pray alongside you.

Please silence all cell phones and other devices to enhance your time with God.


Invitation To Worship Isaiah 53:4

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
All the while we thought
that his suffering was punishment sent by God.

But because of our sins he was wounded,
beaten because of the evil we did.

We are healed by the punishment he suffered,
made whole by the blows he received.
All of us were like sheep that were lost,
each of us going his own way.
But the LORD made the punishment fall on him,
the punishment all of us deserved.

Prayer of the Day

Almighty God,
for our sake Christ Jesus allowed us to betray him,
and allowed himself to be given into angry hands,
and allowed himself to suffer death on a cross;
look with mercy on your people again,
may we confess our sins, turn back to you,
and receive your overflowing love.

Moment of silent reflection…

This we ask in the name of our Lord Jesus the Christ,
who now lives with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever and ever. Amen!

Scripture Readings:

John chapters 18 and 19

In these two chapters, John summarizes Jesus’ arrest, trial, conviction, crucifixion, and burial.

Some cultures consider a rooster to be a Christian symbol.
How have you responded when “the rooster” called for you?

Psalm 22

Mathew and Mark record Jesus reciting the first verse of this Psalm as he hung from the cross. At that time, before chapter and verse numbers were invented, merely citing an opening verse indicated reading of an entire Psalm or chapter.
How does this Psalm offer hope in the face of trial?

Hebrews 10:16-25

Having gained complete restoration through Christ,
how have you encouraged one another?

Prayers From and For the People and The Lord’s Prayer

O crucified Jesus, Son of the Father,
conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of Mary,
eternal Word of God, we worship you.
You came into the world not to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through you,
so that all who trust in you
might be delivered from the power of sin and death
and become heirs to eternal life.

Hear our/my prayers for the whole Church:
for its witness and service wherever it is found,
for its leaders and the people whom they serve,
increase your love and preserve your peace in it.


Hear our/my prayers for all nations and all peoples:
for those in authority and those who seek office,
and for all who serve for the common good.
Assist them, O Spirit,
that they may seek your justice and truth
so all people may live in peace and harmony.


Hear our/my prayers for all who suffer in body, mind or spirit:
for the hungry and the homeless,
for the destitute and the oppressed,
for those suffering persecution, doubt, or despair,
for the sorrowful and bereaved,
and especially for …
Comfort and relive them, O Father,
grant them knowledge of your love,
stir up in us/me patience and desire to minister with them.


Hear our/my prayer for all who have not received your Good News:
for those who have never heard the words of salvation,
for those who have lost their faith,
for those who have become indifferent to Christ,
for those who are enemies of your cross and your disciples.
Open their hearts to truth, O Christ,
teach us/me how to lead them to faith and obedience.


Eternal God of unchanging power and light,
look with mercy upon your whole Church.
Bring completion to your saving work.

Hear us/me now O Lord as we pray the prayer you taught us/me to say:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your Kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever.

Committed to Giving – Sunday

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
the world and its inhabitants too. (Psalm 24:1)

The Bible begins with God’s creation of the world. In Genesis 1, God turns the stewardship of the creation over to human beings, who as male and female are created in God’s image. They are to care for and steward the creation, working diligently to bring about its flourishing. They are to do so as God’s representatives, for the earth remains God’s possession, the fruit of God’s labors. The psalmist reminds us of this above: “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.”

The truth of this statement has tremendous implications for our understanding of financial giving. All our possessions are gifts given to us that we are to steward and put to good use. The portion we return to God through the tithe or other special gift is a recognition of the origin of all that we possess. God has graciously provided us with all we have, whether it be financial prosperity, or the health, mental acumen, and diligence that were necessary for us to obtain what we have earned.

Financial giving is a much more inviting proposition when we first declare to God, “It’s all yours!”

Generous God, help me to see all that I have as yours,
whether I have much or little. Amen.

From Committed to Christ: Tweets, Posts, and Prayers by Ben Simpson, Copyright © 2012 by Abingdon Press. Used by permission.

Committed to Worship – Saturday

Enter his gates with thanks;
enter his courtyards with praise!

Thank him! Bless his name!
(Psalm 100:4)

How thankful are you?

What do you have that you are thankful for? What possessions? What people? What experiences? What has brought joy to your life?

You may think of many things. List them on a piece of paper, or share them in the comments. If you can’t think of anything, take a moment to consider: Are you focused on the wrong things? Are you so overwhelmed by negative experiences that you cannot be thankful for what you do indeed have? Do you love coffee? Do you love ice cream? Be thankful for those things! Even the simplest experiences and most commonplace objects can be a perfect occasion for thanksgiving.

Next time you enter a place of worship, bring with you those things in your life that you are truly thankful for. Tell God what they are. Give thanks. This simple act will transform your experience in worship. Though it may be only a trickle at first, it will turn on the faucet of joyfulness in your life and may eventually grow into a flood.

God, help me to know you as you truly are,
and to experience you in fullness of joy. Amen.

From Committed to Christ: Tweets, Posts, and Prayers by Ben Simpson, Copyright © 2012 by Abingdon Press. Used by permission.

Committed to Worship – Monday

I will praise God’s name with song;
I will magnify him with thanks.
(Psalm 69:30)

In worship, we sing hymns and praise songs to express our faithfulness and devotion to God. The songs chosen for worship are as significant as the sermons preached and the prayers prayed. They capture important points of doctrine and teaching, but they also stir the soul and awaken the affections. They help the people gain a deeper love for God.

Through singing, proper doctrine is imparted to the hearers, and truth moves from the head to the heart. Christian truth should not only enable right thinking, but also right feeling. Combined, right thinking and right feeling yield right living, or a transformed life. For those committed to Christ, all dimensions of the human person are changed through discipleship, and one avenue for discipleship runs through the singing of songs.

Praise God’s name with song. Magnify your praise with thanks. And rejoice as God transforms your heart in accordance with Christ-likeness.

Jesus, let me look upon you and discover the motivation for worship.
Help me to sing to you in such a way that my love for you is deepened. Amen.

From Committed to Christ: Tweets, Posts, and Prayers by Ben Simpson, Copyright © 2012 by Abingdon Press. Used by permission.

Committed to Bible Reading – Monday

I keep your word close, in my heart,
so that I won’t sin against you.
(Psalm 119:9)

Opening our Bible and reading its contents grounds us, helping us remember who we are and to whom we belong. We have been created in God’s image, and, in Christ, we have received an inheritance as a child of God. By coming to grips with our identity, we are able to act accordingly. The choices we make, whether it be for sin or for righteousness, are a reflection of our self-understanding. Are we “lousy sinners” or “those in whom Christ dwells”?

The psalmist instructs us: by taking God’s words as they are found in Scripture and placing them at the center of our being—our heart—we are enabled to avoid wrong behavior and sinful action. When we read our Bible daily, we internalize what we encounter. Through familiarity with the narrative accounts, the commandments, and the wisdom sayings, we are empowered to live righteous and holy lives before God.

The Bible places us on solid ground.

Father, may your word saturate my thoughts,
so that the story of Scripture permeates my life in such a way that I live blamelessly. Amen

From Committed to Christ: Tweets, Posts, and Prayers by Ben Simpson, Copyright © 2012 by Abingdon Press. Used by permission.

Committed to Prayer – Thursday

Let my prayer stand before you like incense;
let my uplifted hands be like the evening offering.
(Psalm 141:2)

The Psalms contain a record of many powerful prayers. They range from lament to celebration and record the full range of human emotion. There is happiness and sadness; hope and despair. But in all instances, God hears the cry of his people, even when his people sense God to be very distant.

Take a moment to focus on a particular concern you need to bring before God. If you need to confess your sin and offer repentance, you may wish to lay face down on the floor in a posture of humility and contrition. If you need to offer thanks, you may wish to raise your hands high in celebration. If you need to receive grace, you may want to extend an open hand, asking God to fill your palm with grace overflowing.

You may wish to consider your body posture during prayer. Do you sit still in a comfortable chair? Do you kneel beside your bed or another place you have designated as an altar? You may have a kneeler for this purpose. How does your posture communicate to God in a way that transcends your words?

Like the psalmist, let your body and your words guide your prayer.

God Who Is Worthy of Glory and Praise, let me come before you,
body, soul, and spirit, bringing to you my entire being as an offering. Amen.

From Committed to Christ: Tweets, Posts, and Prayers by Ben Simpson, Copyright © 2012 by Abingdon Press. Used by permission.