In the preceding article, Lester Ruth suggests a calendar for celebrating Advent early, perhaps in November, for the purpose of spending more time during December on the rich doctrines of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. Roger Eernisse took a similar approach in this four-week Advent series based on the opening verses, or prologue, to the gospel of John. Each week unpacks different aspects of the meaning of the Incarnation.
Series for the Season
Week Five: The fifth petition
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
On this day, we step boldly, humbly into the presence of our God, praying with our suffering Savior the prayer he taught us to pray:
The Lord’s Prayer bristles with a hopeful, contrary agitation. A finely embroidered version of it may hang in the family kitchen under a picture of the praying hands, exuding an air of simple piety, but this prayer is hardly an invitation to tranquillity. On the contrary, the Lord’s Prayer urges us to examine our loves and loyalties and engages us in personal and social transformation. Who will you serve? Who will you trust? What do you hope for? What loyalties set your agenda?
Like many historical congregations, we faced a daunting challenge: encourage our congregation to consider new expressions and more variety in worship, Finding liturgical resources was not a prohlem. Our music coordinators were aware of the myriad of sources for contemporary expressions of faith: praise music, newly published hymnbooks, psalters, choir anthems, and so on.
Go with the familiar! This advice has meant a lot to me as I consider worship planning. As a pastor, too often I have looked for unique, one-of-a-kind approaches to Christmas, Lent, and the other “standard events” of the Christian year. This year I felt compelled to go with the familiar and serve up a Lent/Easter series based on Psalm 23.
Commisioning Service for Week Two
“As We Gather” SNC 245
“The Steadfast Love” SNC 242
Call to Worship: Psalm 24
Response: “We Bow Down” SNC 42
Another September rolls around. If you’re a typical worship and liturgy planner, you’re probably thinking, “We really ought to highlight the beginning of another season of education.” On the heels of that thought comes another: “We need to commission our education leaders. Where do we find a liturgy for that?” You might rummage through your files, hoping to cobble something together. And that may be the end of it, at least until next September.
Week Four-Irresistible grace
Opening of Worship
For this Sunday, we used resources from our brothers and sisters inAfrica, starting with “Come, All You People,” arranged by John Bell(SNC 4). The two hymns were chosen for their focus on grace: “Amid theThronging Worshipers” (PsH 239) and “Marvelous Grace of Our LovingLord” (TWC 472).
Second Sunday of Eastertide
The Lord’s Supper
“Lift Your Heart to the Lord” PsH 515
Ties together last week (baptism) with this week (The Lord’s Supper)
Read responsively as follows:
1-4, 5-7, 8-12, 13-15 16-19; all on verse 20.
Eastertide offers the church a wonderful opportunity to explore what Laurence Stookey calls the “explosive force of the resurrection of the Lord,” a feat that is “too vast to be contained within a celebration of one day.” Eastertide can also give churches the chance to experience weekly communion for a short period of seven celebrative weeks. And it can reclaim for the contemporary church the historical season known as The Great Fifty Days—the days from Easter to Pentecost. (For reasons of space, we have not included the service for Pentecost Sunday.)