We prepared this service for the beginning of Advent. It would also be suitable for the Sunday before Advent, when celebrating Christ the King Sunday, since it covers the entire Christian year. Worship leaders had printed copies of the service, including all the texts. The congregation had no printed worship folder; all the texts were projected on a screen. Also projected were the section titles of each section of the service along with medieval art depicting the Holy Family (also see front cover). Each section of the service was named from a line of the song “The King of Glory Comes.”
Readers were positioned at the right (Reader A), center (Reader B), and left (Reader C) of the platform. We chose to present some song texts as poetry, both for variety in presentation and to introduce some new songs to the congregation. Those texts were prepared by a fourth reader. Our musicians included a pianist, clarinetist, violinist, guitarist, and two singers.
Processional Hymn: “Make Way” SNC 98
Opening Hymn: “Hark! the Glad Sound” PsH 335, RL 251
Word of the Father: Come, Lord, come.
Refrain: And take our fear away; replace it with your love.
Healer and Helper: Come, Lord, come. Refrain
Servant and Sufferer: Come, Lord, come. Refrain
Resurrected Christ: Come, Lord, come. Refrain
Maranatha! Come, Lord, come. Refrain
Amen. Maranatha! Come, Lord, come.
—from the song “Word of the Father” in Come All You People, p. 50. ©1995 by WGRG The Iona Community (Scotland), used by permission of GIA Publications, Inc., exclusive agent. All rights reserved.
Song: “Come, Lord Jesus” SNC 103
[This followed immediately as part of the opening prayer, without announcement. We sang it four times, beginning quietly with the music team, then all women, all men, and finally everyone.]
Statement of Hope
We long for that day
when Jesus will return as triumphant king,
when the dead will be raised
and all people will stand before his judgment.
We face that day without fear,
for the Judge is our Savior.
With the whole creation
we wait for the purifying fire of judgment.
For then we will see the Lord face to face.
He will heal our hurts,
end our wars,
and make the crooked straight.
Then we will join in the new song
to the Lamb without blemish
who made us a kingdom and priests.
God will be all in all,
righteousness and peace will flourish,
everything will be made new,
and every eye shall see at last
that our world belongs to God!
Hallelujah! Come, Lord Jesus.
—Our World Belongs to God: A Contemporary Testimony, st. 57, 58 © 1987, CRC Publications, 2850 Kalamazoo Ave. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49560. 800-333-8300.
Poem: “Awake! Awake, and Greet the New Morn” SNC 91
Song: “The King of Glory Comes” PsH 370, SFL 156, TH 240,
“He Is Immanuel, the Promised of Ages”
Scripture: Genesis 3:8-15 (Reader A)
Poem: “There Is a Promise” (Song text in Carols, InterVarsity Press; ed. Hughes M. Huffman and Mark E. Hunt)
Song: “Song of Zechariah (Blessed Be the God of Israel)” SNC 104
Scripture: Isaiah 9:6-7 (Reader A); Isaiah 7:14 (Reader C); Matthew 1:18-23 (Reader B)
Song: “Emmanuel, Emmanuel” SNC 117
“He Goes Among His People, Curing Their Illness”
Scripture: Isaiah 61:1-3a (Reader C); Mark 1:28-39 (Reader B)
Poem: “We Cannot Measure How You Heal” SNC 69
Song: “Your Hands, O Lord, in Days of Old” PsH 363, TWC 409
“He Took upon Himself the Sin of the Nations”
Scripture: Isaiah 53:2-6 (Reader A); Isaiah 53:7-9, 12b (Reader C); Revelation 5:9-14 (Reader B)
Poem: “There in God’s Garden” SNC 138
Song: “Meekness and Majesty” SNC 109
“He Truly Has Risen”
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 (Reader C);
1 Corinthians 15:20-22 (Reader A); 1 Corinthians 15:54b-56 (Reader B)
Song: “Alleluia! Alleluia! Hearts to Heaven” PsH 387, TH 283, TWC 254
Poem: “Christ Is Risen” SNC 147
[Music for next song begins softly near end of poem.]
Song: “Halle, Halle, Hallelujah!” SNC 44
[All sang the refrain, with musicians improvising on the different repetitions; all hummed the refrain under the stanzas sung by different music leaders; the final refrain was sung with joyful abandon.]
“And He Will Share with Us His Heavenly Kingdom”
Scripture: Philippians 3:12-14, 20-21 (Reader A); Revelation 21:1-7 (Reader C); John 14:1-3 (Reader B)
Poem: “Jerusalem the Golden” PsH 618, RL 579, TH 539, TWC 754
Song: “Soon and Very Soon” SNC 106
Poem: “View the Present Through the Promise” SNC 90
[The three readers each read one of the stanzas, with everyone repeating the refrain line each time, “Christ will come again.”]
[Instrumental variations of “Shout to the Lord,” leading into the singing of SNC 223.]
Song: “Shout to the Lord” SNC 223
God holds this world in sovereign love.
He kept his promise, sending Jesus into the world.
He poured out his Spirit and broadcast the news
that sinners who repent and believe in Jesus
can live and breathe and move again
as members of the family of God.
We rejoice in the goodness of God,
renounce the works of darkness,
and dedicate ourselves to holy living.
As covenant partners, called to faithful obedience,
and set free for joyful praise,
we offer our hearts and lives
to do God’s work in his world.
With tempered impatience, eager to see injustice
we expect the Day of the Lord.
And we are confident
that the light which shines in the present darkness
will fill the earth when Christ appears.
Come, Lord Jesus!
Our world belongs to you.
—Our World Belongs to God: A Contemporary Testimony, st. 5, 6 . © 1987, CRC Publications, 2850 Kalamazoo Ave. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49560. 800-333-8300.
Poem: “Awake! Awake and Greet the New Morn” SNC 91
Doxology and Recessional: “Magnify the Lord” PsH 622, SFL 13