This service, organized around the six parts of the church year, was led by the junior choir of Park Christian Reformed Church, Holland, Michigan, at the conclusion of their choir season. For each part of the service, one choir member changed the pulpit parament with its appropriate colors and symbols. Others read passages from Scripture or Our World Belongs to God, a contemporary testimony found in the Worship Edition of the new Psalter Hymnal. And both choir and congregation sang songs for that season. This service gave choir and congregation the opportunity to review the entire church year and provided the choir with one more chance to sing the songs they had learned during the year.
"Full Circle" could easily be adapted for a church school or for a congregation with several choirs. Banners that can be hung quickly may be used instead of pulpit paraments. If your congregation does not have banners or pulpit paraments, you may wish to commission a set to be introduced during the next church year.
The idea for the service came from a VBS program developed by Amy Van Gunst at Christ Memorial Church. Laura Koster and Lois Smits, youth choir director at Park CRC, helped to write this service.
Processional - "Let's Celebrate"
Call to Worship: Psalm 145:1-7
This service will celebrate the life of Christ and his gift of salvation. The two key salvation events in the church year are the birth of Jesus and the resurrection of Jesus. Leading up to both is a time of preparation: Advent for Christmas and Lent for Easter. Following both is a time of reflection. Christmas is followed by Epiphany. Easter is followed by Pentecost, the sending of the Holy Spirit. Join us now to CELEBRATE!
Meaning and Symbols of Advent
During the season of Advent, Christ's people wait eagerly for his coming. Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas and lasts until Christmas Day. The colors for Advent are dark blue or purple and the symbol we are using is a candle. Candles remind us of the biblical teaching that Christ is the light of the world.
Our World Belongs to God, 24
God remembered his promise to reconcile the world to himself. He has come among us in Jesus Christ, the eternal Word made flesh. He is the long-awaited Savior, fully human and fully divine, conceived by the Spirit of God and born of the virgin Mary.
Hymn: "Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus" (HB 151, PH 329, RL 183, TH 145)
Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins. A voice of one calling: "In the desert prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken."
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
Comfort Ye"................ Natalie Sleeth
Meaning and Symbols of the Season of Christmas
The celebration of Christmas begins on December 25 and lasts twelve days, until January 6. During this season we celebrate Christ's birth. The color for Christmas is white, and the symbol we are using is the trumpet. The trumpet is often used for announcing the good news and for praising God (Ps. 98:6).
This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.
The Lord told Joseph: "She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."
Choral Anthem: Jesus Is His Name".....Paul and Donna Williams
Meaning and Symbols of the Season of Epiphany
On January 6 or on the Sunday closest to January 6 we celebrate the Epiphany of Jesus. Ephiphany is a Greek work meaning "to show." Jesus was shown to be the Savior of the whole world when the wise men came from the East to worship him. The season of Epiphany lasts several weeks, until Ash Wednesday. During Epiphany we celebrate the coming of the wisemen, Christ's baptism, and ministry on earth. The color for Epiphany is green and the symbol we are using is the star.
Hymn: "The King of Glory Comes" (PH 370:1,3,4)
"Bright and Glorious Is the Sky" (PH360) [recited, not sung, by a choir member]
Offertory "As Moses Raised the Serpent Up" (PH 219) [played by two flutes and organ]
Meaning and Symbols of Lent
During this season we remember Christ's suffering on the cross for us. The season of Lent begins forty weekdays before Easter and lasts until Easter. The color for Lent is purple, and the symbol we are using is the cross.
"Part of the Plan".......Natalie Sleeth
Our World Belongs to God, 27-28
As our substitute, Jesus suffered all his years on earth, especially in the horrible torture of the cross. Being both God and man, Jesus is the only Mediator between God and his people. He alone paid the debt of our sin; there is no other Savior!
Hymn: "Lift High the Cross" (PH 373, RL 415)
Meaning and Symbols of the Season of Easter
After the season of Lent, we celebrate with great joy the resurrection of Jesus from the grave. The season of Easter lasts for fifty days, until Pentecost. The color of Easter is white, and the symbol we are using is the lily. The lily—a flower that grows from a decaying bulb—symbolizes life from death.
"This Is the Day".......Natalie Sleeth
Our World Belongs to God, 27
Our World Belongs to God, 27
Jesus walked out of the grave, the Lord of life! He conquered sin and death. We are set right with God, we are given new life, and called to walk with him.
Hymn: "I Serve A Risen Savior" (PH 405:1,3)
Meaning and Symbols of Pentecost
The day of Pentecost celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit. Its color is red, and the symbol we are using is tongues of fire.
Our World Belongs to God, 30,32,33
On Pentecost the Holy Spirit was given to the church. Now people from every tongue, tribe, and nation are gathered into the unity of the body of Christ. The Spirit impels young and old, men and women, to go next door and far away with the good news of God's grace.
Hymn: "There's No God As Great" (PH 517)
Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-3
Scripture Text: 1 Thessalonians 1:3
Message: "Our Spiritual Roots"
Prayer of Application
Meaning and symbol of the Season after Pentecost
The Season after Pentecost lasts from Pentecost Sunday until Advent comes again next fall. Sometimes the season is called "Growing Time." Its color is green, and the symbol we are using is a growing branch with leaves.
Our World Belongs to God, 57 and 58
We look forward to the day when Jesus will return as triumphant king. Our daily lives of service aim for the moment when the Son will present his people to the Father. Then God will be shown to be true, holy, and gracious. He will heal our hurts, end our wars, and make the crooked straight. Then we will join in the new song to the Lamb. Everything will be made new, and every eye will see at last that our world belongs to God! Hallelujah! Come, Lord Jesus.
Choral Anthem: "Not As A Baby"..........C. Towler
Doxology: "In The Presence of Your People" (PH 160)
Moment of Meditation