Seasonal Resources

Christmas marks the culmination of the Advent season. The time of waiting is past, and God's people eeiehrate the arrival of their Messiah, who has visited and redeemed his people.

*Everyone who is able, please stand

Include the Whole Family of God in Your Christmas Celebrations

The leaves were just beginning to change color a few years ago when I noticed the first displays of Christmas decorations in a local department store. It shouldn't have come as any surprise. In our highly commercialized society, shopping malls are known distorters of time and season: bathing suits and shorts appear in January, heavy winter coats in the midst of a major July heat wave.

In issue 7 of RW our Service Planning encompassed the beginning of the Season after Pentecost, and the Scripture commentary dealt with the three Common Lectionary passages for each Sunday. For this issue we have chosen the close of the Season after Pentecost (October 9-November 13), and rather than providing comment on all three passages, we have focused on the gospel reading. This focus will encourage preaching a brief series on one book—an aim of the lectionary for this season.

July
Psalm 34: Lord, I Bring My Songs to You

Psalm 34 is one of those psalms that the Bible explains in a fascinating heading: "When he [David] pretended to be insane before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he left." The psalm, constructed as an acrostic in Hebrew, is a prayer of thanksgiving for deliverance, followed by an invitation to others to join in the praise (st. 1-2). From praise, the psalm moves to instruction in godly living (st. 3—6).

Prelude: Our Father, Who Art in Heaven J.S.Bach

* Processional Hymn: Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven Rejoice in the Lord 144

st. 1-3 all
st. 4 choirs
st. 5 all

Invocation
Sola Scriptura

Scripture: Matthew 4:1-4

This Service of Thanksgiving was submitted by Rev. Donald Jansma, pastor of the Reformed Church of Palos Heights, Illinois. Parts of it were borrowed from the Hunger Packet distributed by the R. C.A. in 1985.

*Everyone who is able, please stand.

The Approach to God

Organ Prelude: "Now Thank We All Our God"
E. Hovland and G. Kauffman

Introit: "Father, We Thank Thee"

Call to Worship

As the new choir season gets under way each fall, many choral groups begin rehearsing anthems for two festive services: Reformation Sunday and Thanksgiving Day. Fortunately, a wealth of material is available for these two events. Many published anthems are based on familiar hymns associated with the Reformation and on traditional hymns of thanksgiving. You'll find some of those anthems listed on this page.

It's time again to start planning music for the Christmas season and devising ways to involve children in our Christmas worship. Year after year we search for new ways to tell the old story. What many weary children's choir directors and harried church school coordinators aren't aware of is that good complete programs are readily available.