All Saints’ Day (also called All Souls’ Day) is a part of the church calendar that dates back to the early church. Originally a day was set to commemorate the life and death of each martyr. As the number of martyrs increased, a special day was set aside to remember these many saints and their commitment to Christ and his church—a commitment that led to their suffering and death. More recently this service has also come to include a time of reflection and thanksgiving for friends and loved ones who have died in the past year.
Litany for a Service of Installation
This litany was prepared by Jerry Kramer for the installation service of copastors at the beginning of their ministry. The litany could easily be adapted for the installation of one pastor. Congregations could also consider different symbols appropriate to their situation.
The meal that we know as the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist is derived from a rich background of meals—meals and meal customs recorded in Scripture. Traces of these meals can be found in the sacrament.
A year ago, I received a brochure inviting me to the Calvin Symposium of Worship, 2005. Even though the dates precluded my attendance, I could not put down the striking booklet, full of black and white pictures of hands: clapping, praying, welcoming, signing hands—hands performing on musical instruments, in drama and painting. The photographer beautifully depicted hands not only engaged in communal worship but also in preparation for worship, across generational and cultural divides.
The growing attention paid to the “emerging church” has certainly got people talking. And whatever the “emerging church” is, it seems to be quite a chameleon. Depending on who you talk to, it’s either the latest threat to biblical faith or that which will save us from two thousand years of error!
Being intentionally intergenerational in worship can sound like an overwhelming task. Indeed, it does require some time and effort. As a place to start, consider planning a service that celebrates each generation and the particular gifts it brings to the body of Christ. Doing so may jumpstart your thinking about how to draw in all generations on a more regular basis. Following are two resources that could be used in such a service.
Litany of Thanksgiving for the Seasons of Life
This litany was originally adapted from the Wellspring Worship Group, based in the north of England, by Christine Jerrett and Susan Woodhouse for use in conjunction with the “Family Tree” service described in RW 75 (p. 20). It is suitable for any service that focuses on passing the faith from one generation to the next, such as All Saints’ Day or a profession of faith. The image of light also fits well with a service on evangelism, mission, or serving.
Sometimes God uses things like this to strengthen the whole church,” Ruth said to me, shortly after my father died.
This order of service was prepared for Reformation Sunday 2003 at First Presbyterian Church, Royal Oak, Michigan. It includes several liturgical elements from the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century, including contributions from Luther in Germany, Bucer in Strassbourg, Calvin in Geneva, Zwingli in Zurich, Knox in Scotland, and from the English Reformation. The songs include a psalm, canticle, and hymns from these traditions; they can be found in the Presbyterian Hymnal as well as in many other hymnals.
Call to Worship
We can never find enough musicians for our worship band or enough leaders for our worship committee.”
“Our church is dying. Once the kids turn sixteen or seventeen they leave the church and never come back.”
Comments like these represent two major crises in churches across the country, in both urban and suburban contexts: