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Let All Nations Praise the Lord: A service celebrating the musical heritage of all nations

Worldwide Communion Sunday (or 'All Nations Heritage Sunday/' as it is often called in the Christian Reformed Church) is held each year on the first Sunday of October. The day presents a wonderful opportunity to broaden the perspective of the local church and experience and celebrate "the Communion of the Saints," as is professed in the Apostles' Creed.

Ever since the production of the 1987 Psalter Hymnal, I have had in mind to design a special service centering on the music of the nations. This edition of the Psalter Hymnal does a wonderful job of presenting tunes and complete hymns from a grand variety of traditions. Truly our local churches are blessed by the cultural variety of the music in the church, and it is most fitting on Worldwide Communion/All Nations Heritage Sunday to expose ourselves to that variety and celebrate it.

Our special service, conducted October 4,1992, turned into a "musical tour around the world." We proceeded from continent to continent, singing or hearing a few songs from each area of the world. Our congregation has many children, and a number of them were chosen to read Scripture passages. Others placed a poster map on an easel and introduced the various sections of the service. To enhance the "international flavor" of the service, the readers wore costumes from the part of the world they were introducing, and we borrowed flags of the nations from our World Mission Board to decorate the worship area.

Keeping the service to our normal one hour was one of the greatest challenges we faced. The original manuscript of the service had over thirty songs. After careful review and selection, we cut the list to close to twenty. We'll try the service again next year, using some of the songs we missed.

The people gathered for worship responded well to a service with such musical variety. As a congregation, we truly achieved our goals of broadening our appreciation for the contributions of God's church around the world and praising our great, gathering God.

Introduction:

In today's service we will sing and hear music from all over the world. Together we will celebrate the worldwide scope of God's love and the richness we enjoy as a Christian church through the various heritages that are a part of the family of God.

A special word of thanks to all the readers and singers who are a part of this service! We also thank our World Mission Board for loaning us flags of the nations, representing the twenty countries in which our denomination is doing mission work.

Welcome and Announcements

Call to Worship: Psalm 96:1-3

Opening Hymn: Alabare," verses 1 and 2

A song from Central and South America, a Spanish-speaking part of the world
[PsH 234]

God's Greeting

Greeting One Another

Songs from Africa

Introduction: John 1:1-4,9

Hymn: "Jesu, Jesu, Fill Us With Your Love"
A song from Ghana
[PsH 601]

Solo: "That Boy-Chid of Mary"
A song from Malawi
[PsH 352, PH 55]

Hymn: "Kum Ba Yah"
A chorus from Angola

1 Kum ba yah, my Lord, kum ba yah!
Kum ba yah, my Lord, kum ba yah!
Kum ba yah, my Lord, kum ba yah!
O Lord, kum ba yah!
2. Someone's praying, Lord, kum ba yah....
3 Someone's singing, Lord, kum ba yah....
4. Someone's praising, Lord, kum ba yah....

Songs from North America

Introduction: Childrens Message

Song by the Children: "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands"
An African-American song
[PsH 457]

Hymn: "Amazing Grace," verses 1,2 and 3
A "Virginia Harmony"
[PsH 462, PH 280, RL 456, TH 460]

Songs from Europe (Part 1)

Introduction: Luke 2:10-14

Hymn: "Angels We Have Heard on High," verses 1 and 3
A French carol
[PsH 347 PH 23, RL 206, TH 214]

Hymn: "Infant Holy, Infant Lowly," verses 1 and 2
A Polish carol
[PSH 353, PH 37 RL 221, TH 216]

Psalm 23: "The Lords My Shepherd"
A Scottish psalm
[PsH 161 PH VO, RL 89-90, TH 85-87]

Scripture: Ephesians 3:14-21

Message: "Is It a Small World?"

Prayers of the People

Songs from Europe (Part 2)

Introduction: Psalm 67:1-5

A Medley of Hymns for Congregational Singing "Hallelujah, Hallelujah," verse 1
A Dutch psalm
[PsH HZ TH 10]

"A Mighty Fortress Is Our God," verse 1
A German hymn
[PsH 469, PH 260, RL 179, TH 92]

"Let All Things Now Living" verse 1
A Welsh hymn
[PsH 45a PH 554, TH 125]

"How Great Thou Art" verse 1
A Swedish hymn
[PsH 483,PH 467,TH 44]

Songs from Southeast Asia

Introduction: Isaiah 43:5

Solo: "Here, O Lord, Your Servants Gatheif' verses 1 and 2
A song from Japan
[PsH 251, PH 465]

Hymn: "Christ, You Are the Fullness," verses 1 and 2
A Korean tune
[PsH 229, PH 346]

Songs from Eastern Europe and Asia

Offertory: "The King of Glory Comes," verses 12, and 3

Verses: Choir

Chorus: All
An Israeli hymn
[PsH 370, TH 240]

Offertory Prayer

Choir: "In Our Households, Heavenly Father"
A Latvian hymn
[PsH 586]

Hymn: "Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above," verse 1
A Bohemian hymn
[PsH 465, PH 483, RL 146]

Excerpt
ALTERNATE SONGS

The following songs are all listings from the 1987 Psalter Hymnal. Many of the new hymnals offer rich resources in this area. Consult the index to your own hymnal for other possibilities.

African-American Spirituals

[PsH 264,265,304,356,365,367 377 457 476,494,540,617]

Alsatian (Eastern France)

"Praise and Thanksgiving Let Everyone Bring"
[PsH 631]

American Christmas Tune

"Away In A Manager"
[PsH 348-349]

Chinese

"Father, Long Before Creation"
[PsH 464]

"Fount of Love, Our Savior God"
[PsH 564]

Dutch

"Lord, I Pray"
[PsH 268]

Finnish

"O Jesus, I Have Promised"
[PsH 285]

Irish

"Lord of AH Hopefulness"
[PsH 558]

Israeli:

"In the Presence of Your People"
[PsH 160]

"I Will Sing Unto the Lord"
[PsH 152]

"In the Beginning Was the Word Eternal"
[PsH 218]

Moravian

"Christian Hearts in Love United"
[PsH 513]

"Hours and Days and Years and Ages"
[PsH 443]

Puerto Rican

"Oh, How Good Is Christ the Lord"
[PsH 401]

Russian:

"Praise God in the Highest," verses 1 and 4
[PsH 595]

Scottish

"Forgive Our Sins as We Forgive"
[PsH 266]

"God Moves in a Mysterious Way"
[PsH 434]

"Now Blessed Be the Lord Our God"
[PsH 630]

Sicilian

"Lord, Dismiss Us with Your Blessing"
[PsH 320]

Swedish

"Children of the Heavenly Father"
[PsH 440]

Welsh

[PsH 22,144,395 453 460,591,606]

David Koll is pastor at Good Shepherd Christian Reformed Church, Bushing, Michigan.
The hymns in this service were selected from the most recent editions of the following hymnals: The Psalter Hymnal (PsH)
The Presbyterian Hymnal (PH), Rejoice in the Lord (RL), and he Trinity Hymnal (TH)