Finding uplifting, theologically sound music for worship is a complex task! We’ve had many conversations in our congregation in recent years about how to mix up our singing. Our annual fee for a copyright license (CCLI) opens up thousands of songs to us. But then we have to figure out which ones we want to learn. Who will teach the congregation new songs? Or will the song leader just sing them for us? Which ones will become beloved and familiar? Sometimes I end up writing Didn’t go over well or Don’t use in the margin of the office copy of my hymnal.
Easter is the most important day in the Christian calendar, and its celebration should focus on the retelling of the resurrection story, the hope Jesus brought to the church, and the love of God toward humankind through Jesus’ selfless sacrifice.
"A psalm is the blessing of the people, the praise of God, the commendation of the multitude, the applause of all, the speech of every man, the voice of the Church, the sonorous profession of faith, devotion full of authority, the joy of liberty, the noise of good cheer, and the echo of gladness. It softens anger, it gives release from anxiety, it alleviates sorrow; it is protection at night, instruction by day, a shield in time of fear, a feast of holiness, the image of tranquility, a pledge of peace and harmony."
This Christmas service of songs and readings examines Jesus’ birth and how he is the fulfillment of God’s covenant from four perspectives: Isaiah the prophet, Mary the mother of Jesus, Paul the apostle, and the believers living in the present time. As the covenant people living under God’s faithfulness, we shall re-examine our role or responsibility in this grand story.
We often lead services that focus on a particular part of the gospel story, but we rarely step back to see the big picture—the “metanarrative,” as it is sometimes called. A Tapestry of Grace is a hymn festival that does just that, telling the story of God’s love from the garden of Eden to the new Jerusalem.
Singing songs of the oecumene—the whole inhabited earth—is rooted in the feast of Pentecost, portrayed in the book of Acts, when people from the whole known world gathered in Jerusalem and heard the disciples singing of God’s glorious acts in many tongues.
Now, as then, we are assured that we are surrounded by the unseen host of the saints of God, who in countless tongues sing with us the unending song of praise.