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Summer Festival of Praise

THE GATHERING

Words of Welcome and Introduction

Tonight we rejoice and give thanks for the arrival of summer. We celebrate God's glorious creation, we express gratitude for a season of accomplishments in school and at work, and we offer thanks to God for his gift of leisure that we will enjoy in the vacation days ahead.

Call to Worship

God's Greeting

Psalm 148: Praise the Lord, Sing Hallelujah (PH 188, TH 105)
[with organ and trumpet]

Prayer for the Service

CELEBRATION OF GOD'S BEAUTIFUL CREATION

Hymn: All Creatures of Our God and King (HB100, PH 431, RL 4) [with organ; trumpet descant on final stanza; stanzas 12$ by everyone; stanza 2 by women and children; stanza 4 by men)

Responsive Reading (from Psalm 104:1, 10, 12-15, 24 a, 31 and Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 9)

Praise the Lord, O my soul.
O Lord my God, you are very great;
you are clothed with splendor and majesty.

He makes springs pour water into the ravines;
it flows between the mountains.

The birds of the air nest by the waters;
they sing among the branches.

He waters the mountains from his upper chambers;
the earth is satisfied by the fruit of his work.

He makes grass to grow for the cattle,
and plants for human cultivation—
bringing forth food from the earth:

wine that gladdens the heart of humanity,
oil to make his face shine,
and bread that sustains her strength.

How many are your works, O Lord!
In wisdom you made them all.

May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
may the Lord rejoice in his works!

God formed the land, the sky, and the seas,
making earth a fitting home
for the plants, animals, and human beings he created.

The world was filled with color, beauty, and variety;
it provided room for work and play,
worship and service,
love and laughter.


God rested—and gave us rest.

In the beginning everything was very good.

Reflection on God's Good Creation
[Both this reflection and the one in the next segment of the service were commentary or testimony by a young person. Each reflection lasted several minutes and was concluded with a prayer that strongly emphasized thanksgiving.]

Prayer

Hymn: All Things Bright and Beautiful
(TH 456, PH 435, RL15, TH 636) [with piano and guitars; refrain and stanza 1 by children; then rest of hymn by everyone]

CELEBRATION OF ACHIEVEMENT IN SCHOOL AND WORK

Bible Song: Clap Your Hands, All You People (PH 166) [with piano, guitars, and hand clapping; sing as a 2-part round between left and right sides of church]

Responsive Reading (from Proverbs 4:5-6,8-9; Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 50; Ecclesiastes 3:12-13; Colossians 3:17; and Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 51a)

Get wisdom, get understanding;
do not forget my words or swerve from them.

Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
love her, and she will watch over you.

Esteem her, and she will exalt you;
embrace her, and she will honor you.

She will set a garland of grace on your head
and present you with a crown of splendor.

In education we seek to acknowledge the Lord
by promoting schools and teaching
in which the light of his Word shines in all learning,

where students, of whatever ability,
are treated as persons who bear God's image
and have a place in his plan.

I know that there is nothing better for people
than to be happy and do good while they live.

That everyone may eat and drink,
and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed,

do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.

In our work, even in dull routine,
we hear the call to serve our Lord.
We must work for more than wages,
and manage for more than profit,


so that mutual respect
and the just use of goods and skills
may shape the work place,
and so that, while we earn or profit,
useful products and services may result.



Reflection on a Past Season of Achievement

Prayer

Bible Song: I Will Sing of the Mercies of the Lord (PH 169) [with piano and guitars]

CELEBRATION OF GOD'S GIFT OF LEISURE

Hymn: Praise the Lord with the Sound of Trumpet (PH 569) [with organ and trumpet; sing stanza 2 as a two-part round between males and females]

Responsive Reading (from Ecclesiastes 4:4-8; Matthew
6:25-26, 33-34; and Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 51 b)

Leader 1: I saw that all labor and all achievement spring from human envy of our neighbor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

The fool folds his hands and ruins himself. Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.
Again I saw something meaningless under the sun:
There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother.
There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. "For whom am I toiling," he asked, "and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?" This too is meaningless—a miserable business!


Leader 2: Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Rest and leisure are gifts of God to relax us
and to set us free to discover and explore.
Believing that God provides for us,
we can rest more trustingly
and entertain ourselves more simply.



Sermon

Prayer (mostly a prayer of petition for various blessings on the summer activities in the church and on family and personal vacations)

Hymn: O God, Your Constant Care and Love
(PH592 sungto WINCHESTER NEW PH 593)

SENDING FORTH TO SERVE

Thank Offering

Hymn: Forth in Your Name, O Lord I Go
(PH 324, RL 79) [with organ and trumpet; stanzas 1,2 and 3 only]

Benediction, concluded with three-fold Amen (sung)

This service was first held at Immanuel Christian Reformed Church in Hamilton, Ontario, on June 26,1988. It was planned by Rev. Ken Baker (then pastor of the church) and Bert Polman (director of music) together with other members of the church's worship committee.

The hymns in the service appear in one or more of the following hymnals: The Hymnbook (HB), Psalter Hymnal (PH), Rejoice in the Lord (RL).