Series for the Season
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.
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.