Share |

A House of Prayer: Reading for a dedication service

On January 16, 1994, Church of the Servant (CRC) in Grand Rapids, Michigan, held services of celebration and dedication in its new sanctuary (pictured). On these pages you will find the dedication readings from the evening service and the call to worship from the morning service of the following week. The call to worship was adapted from a sermon of St. Augusting.

Semi-circular seating for 500 wraps around the worship center, which contains communion table, baptismal font, and lectern. The structural steel "tree," which supports the translucent skylight dome and spire, is draped with paraments in different colors for each liturgical season.

The fellowship arcade surrounding the worship center promotes the fellowship that proceeds from worship and reflects the architect's concept of a "village" (the functional rooms of the church) clustered around the "town square" (the worship space). Ecclesiastical art displayed along the outside wall reflects the artistic gifts of many members of the congregation.

Hand-crafted offering plates and the baptismal bowl stand out on the simple birch communion table.

The baptismal bowl (on stand at left) is located in the sitting area and is carried forward to the worship center for baptism services.

The living room, named to commemorate the congregation's first meeting place, functions as library, lounge, and meeting room.

Striking exterior colors like periwinkle blue, mulberry purple, ask gray, golden brown, and forest green are derived from foliage, wildflowers, and other elements of the natural setting surrounding the building.

CALL TO WORSHIP

Leaders 1,2,3: Today we celebrate the completion of our church building.

People: This is our house of prayer. But we ourselves are the house of God, whose construction continues until it is completed and dedicated at the end of time. A house, in its construction, involves hard work; its dedication is an occasion for rejoicing.

Leader 1: The building of this church resembles what happens when believers are built up into Christ.

Leader 2: When they first come to believe, they are like timber and stone taken from woods and mountains.

Leader 3: In their baptism, instruction, and formation they are shaped, leveled, and smoothed by the hands of carpenters and artisans.

Leader 1: They do not make a completed house of God until they are one in charity.

Leader 2: The timber and stone must fit together into an orderly plan, be joined in perfect harmony, give each other the support of love, or no one would enter the building.

Leader 3: When you see the stones and beams of a building holding together securely, you enter the building with an easy mind; you are not afraid of its falling down in ruins.

People: The work we see complete in this building is physical; it finds its spiritual counterpart in our hearts. As we see here the finished product of carpenters and masons, so we look for the handiwork of God's grace in our lives.

Leaders 1,2,3: Our house of prayer is completed; but God's house of love is still under construction throughout the world.

Leader 1: When God's house was rebuilt after the Exile, it was prophesied, in the words of the psalm:

All: Sing a new song to the Lord; sing to the Lord, all the earth.

Leader 1: A new song implies a new inspiration of love.

Leader 2: To sing is a sign of love.

Leader 3: The singer of this new song is full of the warmth of God's love.

People: So let us offer thanksgiving to the Lord our God, from whom comes every good and perfect gift.

All: Let us praise God's goodness with a new song.

Hymn "Sing, Sing a New Song" / "New Songs of Celebration Render"
[PsH 98, PH 218, RL 119, TH 14]

DEDICATION

Call to Commitment (people standing)

Minister: Friends of Jesus Christ, what has God called us to be?

People: We are a community of Christ's servants,
a home for God's children,
and a prism for God's light in liturgy and life.
We are called to be a reconciling community in Christ,
one that
proclaims the good news of salvation,
celebrates God's healing grace,
nurtures the growth and gifts of God's people,
and restores the joy of God's reign.

Minister: As members of this community Church of the Servant, let us dedicate ourselves and this building to Christ's service.

Dedication to Worship

[Leader 1 places worship symbol on the table]

Leader 1: As children of the light, we desire to worship with a liturgy that is catholic and celebrative and calls on all members to participate.
[Dancers light candles from the Christ candle]

Leader 2: For bringing us to worship in the beauty of your holiness:

People: We give you thanks, O God.

Leader 2: For word and water, bread and water, agents of your grace:

People: We give you thanks, O God.

Leader 2: For hands that weave and mold, eyes that see new colors, ears that hear harmonies; for shapes and gestures, shades and tones; for stone arid wood and steel, tokens of your goodness:

People: We give you thanks, O God.

Leader 2: That it may reflect your glory and delight our souls and senses:

People: We dedicate this place to you, O God.

Leader 2: That we may be faithful in teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, arid in prayer:

People: We dedicate this place to you, O God.

Leader 2: That through worship in spirit and in truth we may become the living temples of your presence:

People: We dedicate ourselves to you, O God.

Leader 1: I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the Lord!"

Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem.
To it the saints go up, the saints of the Lord.
To give thanks to the name of the most High.

Hymn "Sing to God with Gladness" (people stand)

Dedication to Fellowship

[Leader 3 places fellowship symbol on the table]

Leader 3: As children of the light, we desire to create a
fellowship
where the burdened and suffering will find support
and comfort,
where the alienated will be accepted,
where those seeking God will be shown the way and where those who have ministries will be affirmed.

[Dancers light candles from Hie Christ candle]

Leader 4: For fashioning us into a fellowship of love that spans the whole wide earth:

People: We give you thanks, O God.

Leader 4: For caring households and faithful friends, for uncommon kindness and unexpected comfort:

People: We give you thanks, O God.

Leader 4: For camping trips and softball games, pots of soup and baby clothes; for every opportunity to share and build community:

People: We give you thanks, O God.

Leader 4: That the warm light of hospitality may shine on all who enter here:

People: We dedicate this place to you, O God.

Leader 4: That we may be refreshed by one another's presence and equipped to love our neighbors as ourselves:

People: We dedicate this place to you, O God.

Leader 4: That all who seek you may find the way and all who are called by you to special tasks may find support and strength:

People: We dedicate this place to you, O God.

Leader 3: How very good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters live together in unity! It is like fresh dew, which falls on the mountains of Zion. For there the Lord bestows this blessing: life forevermore.

Leader 3: Let us now express this unity in Christ to one another, saying "The peace of God be always with you."

Song "Diverse in Culture, Nations, Race"

Dedication to Education

[Leader 5 places education symbol on Hie table]

Leader 5: As children of the light, we desire to prepare God's people for service.
[Dancers light candles from the Christ candle]

Leader 6: For all wisdom and insight, arid for making known the mystery of your will:

People: We give you thanks, O God.

Leader 6: For wonders of the cosmos and varieties of human culture; for traditions that sustain, for prophets who inspire:

People: We give you thanks, O God.

Leader 6: For the skills to teach and the passion to learn, for creative curiosity, for every healthy habit of heart and mind:

People: We give you thanks, O God.

Leader 6: That we may know the mind of Christ and learn to walk more fully in the light of your word:

People: We dedicate this place to you, O God.

Leader 6: That we may see with the eyes of Christ and learn to give thanks more freely for your constant care:

People: We dedicate this place to you, O God.

Leader 6: That through our nurture and example our children's children may be drawn to praise and serve you in this place:

People: We dedicate this place to you, O God.

Leader 5: My soul waits for the Lord, and in God's word I hope.
My soul waits for the Lord, and in God's word I hope.
My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning.

Songs "Open Our Eyes, Lord"
[TWC 536]

"Make Me a Servant"

Dedication to Mission

[Leader 7 places mission symbol on the table]

Leader 7: As children of the light, we desire to
present Christ
to others
by showing God's love in Jesus for the world
and promoting justice and peace for our neighbors near arid far.
[Dancers light candles from the Christ candle]

Leader 8: For every sign of your shalom in this broken world of ours:

People: We give you thanks, O God.

Leader 8: For every hungry neighbor fed and every homeless neighbor sheltered, every injured neighbor healed and every captive neighbor freed; for eveiy burden lifted and every fear dispelled:

People: We give you thanks, O God.

Leader 8: That each of us may find new ways of service, so that the light of your love may shine more brightly on those around us:

People: We dedicate this place to you, O God.

Leader 8: That we may weep with those who weep, lift up those who fall, and cry for justice with those who suffer:

People: We dedicate this place to you, O God. Leader 8: That we may be filled with holy impatience for the final dawning of your rule:

People: We dedicate ourselves to you, O God.

Leader 7: May those who sow tears reap with shouts of joy. Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.