Seasonal Resources

The organ music suggested on this page is based on hymn tunes in both the forthcoming new edition of the Psalter Hymnal (PH) and the recently released Rejoice in the Lord (RL). All the tune names are listed in alphabetical order, followed by hymn title, composer, publisher, and a letter that will tell you whether the piece is easy, medium, or difficult (E, M, D). We worked by tune names rather than hymn titles, since different texts are sometimes sung to the same tune.

The Common Lectionary (see REFORMED WORSHIP 1) provides pastors with a guide for preaching on the Christ-centered events and teachings of the liturgical church year. Below are the Scripture passages that year A of the lectionary suggests for the Sundays from Easter to Pentecost. Also listed are hymns and service music that focus on the themes of the resurrection and the presence of Christ in our lives. Hymn page numbers are given for four hymnals:

The Hymnbook (HB)

The "hymn festival" is rapidly growing in popularity. With the explosion of new songs for worship, the rediscovery of old gems, as well as the joy of singing familiar favorites, the hymn festival provides an opportunity for congregations, choirs, and instruments to join in varied ways of singing hymns together. A hymn festival can celebrate the hymns of a season or of a given tradition, author, composer, or theme. Any good reason will do!

Young children have deep within them a profound awareness of God and great potential for religious experience long before they are able to understand and articulate those theological constructs we adults are so eager to teach them. So insist internationally known religious educators Dr. Sofia Cavalletti of Rome, Italy, and Dr. Jerome W. Berryman of Houston, Texas.

For many congregations the Tenebrae service, usually held on Maundy Thursday or Good Friday, is one of the most moving and meaningful worship services of the year. In a candle-lit sanctuary Christ's suffering is commemorated through Scripture and song. Candles are extinguished one by one as the congregation listens to the account of Christ's suffering and death.

In most congregations children are an important part of worship during the Advent and Christmas season: small children stand on tiptoe to light the candles in the Advent wreath; the children's choir joyfully heralds the news of the Savior's birth; the children reenact the nativity scene during an evening program. To exclude children from worship during Advent and Christmas would be unthinkable. Yet in many of these same congregations children are all but forgotten during Lent.

"It's Tuesday and I still don't know what hymns we're going to sing on Sunday! I don't even have the text or sermon topic. How am I supposed to choose organ music that will integrate with the service"?"

Just then the phone rings. It's the pastor, and he's chosen his text. He's selected some hymns too, although he's still not sure which stanzas to sing.

"Oh well, at least I can choose the prelude, postlude, and offertory. I'll work on the hymns later—after he decides about the stanzas."

Every year more North American congregations are discovering the beauty of a traditional English service called, very simply, "Nine Lessons and Carols." The structure of the service is as simple as the title: nine passages of Scripture are followed by nine carols. But the content of those readings and the traditional way of conducting the service have become very meaningful to many congregations.