We return to Luke 10 with the story of Mary and Martha and what is necessary in terms of learning at the feet of Jesus. The service start with the Call to Worship from Psalm 34 and the posture of taking refuge in the Lord and coming to learn the fear of the Lord, We respond by singing Psalm 57: Be Thou O God Exalted High praying for His glory to fill the heavens. We continue by singing Psalm 138: With Grateful Heart for truth and grace together shine in His holy Word and mercy dwells with Him.
Our Old Testament Reading comes from Psalm 16 where acknowledge that we have no good apart from the Lord. Because He is with us, we shall not be shaken. Psalm 119 sets before us the importance and beauty of the Word of God, and so we turn there as our Prayer of Confession for we too often wander from His commands and do not store His word in our hearts. We pray that He would give us delight in His law.
We then sing Speak, O Lord as a prayer to be fed by His word that we might learn obedience and renew our minds. Our Profession this week comes from Psalm 19 as we speak together what God has said about His own Word. Communion Hymns include a new hymn for May—Worship the Lord in the Beauty of Holiness—and Give Me Jesus. Our final hymn, Be Thou My Vision, is a prayer that Christ would be the forefront of our thoughts and lives even as He leads us to the joys of heaven.
Love for our neighbor and serving one another continues as a theme with this week’s excursion in Matthew 5 and the call to be merciful. We begin with the Call to Worship from Psalm 95 and the invitation to come worship and bow down before the Lord, our maker. We continue by singing Come, Thou Fount and the reminder that the endless streams of mercy are cause for loudest praise. Next we sing There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy that is like the wideness of the sea.
The New Testament Reading from Luke 6 is the words of Jesus commanding us to love our enemies and to be merciful even as our heavenly Father is merciful. The Prayer of Confession from I Peter 2 reminds us that we are called and chosen, that we have received mercy, and that our conduct should be such that even unbelievers may see our good deeds and glorify the Lord. We continue with the sung prayer Tender Mercy.
Our Communion Hymns are Not What My Hands Have Done and Let Thy Blood in Mercy Poured. He has given Himself for us, and now we give ourselves to Him. In so doing, we will take the good news to all the peoples that they may also praise the Lord (Psalm 67: O God, To Us Show Mercy).
The parable of the Good Samaritan from Luke 10 again provides the core of our service—who is our neighbor and what does it mean to love and serve them. Psalm 111 reminds us in our Call to Worship that the Lord is gracious and merciful and He provides food for those who fear Him. We continue by singing Crown Him With Many Crowns for He is the Lord of love as well as O the Deep, Deep, Love of Jesus.
In the New Testament Reading from Galatians 5, Paul reminds us that loving our neighbor is one way we serve one another in freedom. The Prayer of Confession from I Peter 4 reflects our failure to do that by not loving others as He has loved us. We prayerfully respond by singing Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken for He has called us to leave everything and follow Him—He owns our love even as He calls us to serve those around us.
Our Communion Hymns—O Lord, How Joyful Tis to See and I Will Go both speak of our loves for others in dwelling together in unity as well as being a servant called to let go of anything that captures our attention other than the glory of Christ. Our final hymn, Awake My Zeal, Awake My Love, calls us to respond to the love of God by serving Him in the ways that we care for our neighbors and those in need. By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.—I John 3:16
Christ is risen indeed! The days of mourning and sorrow are past for Christ has risen from the grave. Great exuberance is expressed in the songs and readings of Resurrection Sunday. Some traditions refrain from the use of the word “Alleluia!” during the season of Lent, which is one reason why so many of the carols and songs of Easter make use of “Alleluia!” as a joyous refrain.
We start the service with the bold assertion that “I Know that My Redeemer Lives.” Christ the Lord is Risen Today and Christ Is Risen! Hallelujah! continue the statement of our hope and confidence in the risen Lord. The Corporate Prayer of Confession focuses on themes of the resurrection. In Christ Alone we are confronted with the sufficiency of the work of Christ and the power of living in the light of the resurrection.
Our Scripture passage from John 11 proclaims the glorious fact that Jesus is the resurrection and the life. The Communion Hymns, There is No Greater Portrait and I Will Glory in My Redeemer, both draw our attention to the cross and the work of salvation that Christ accomplished there.
Our final hymn, Christ the Lord Is Risen Again, is an energetic 12th century German Carol rejoicing in the ransom and restoration found in the cross and the “breaking of every chain” in Christ’s resurrection. The Benediction Response, He is Risen!, is a recent hymn text that looks forward to the spreading of the Gospel message to all nations.
This morning in Luke 9 we move through three stories in which Jesus confronts and confounds the expectations of the disciples as to whom He is—a humble servant rather than a political or cultural leader. It is this same image that we see of Jesus riding the donkey into Jerusalem while palm branches are strewn and the children sing out, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”
We begin the service with the children’s choirs leading us in the Prelude and the Introit. Our opening hymns are All Glory, Laud, and Honor and We Will Glorify. Following confession, we will sing Rock of Ages—humbly acknowledging our complete dependence on the blood of Christ and nothing that we can do.
Our first Communion Hymn is Because You Are Chosen with the words from Colossians, “You must clothe yourself with kindness, with heartfelt mercy, in the meekness of humility.” We close with the great triumphal hymn, Lift Up Your Heads from Psalm 24.
As we return to Luke 9, we are directly confronted with who Christ is and what he has called us to do. The Call to Worship from Psalm 34 invites us to “Taste and see that the Lord is good” for those who look to Him shall never be ashamed. We continue by singing Come Ye That Love the Savior’s Name” with the prayer that we would joyfully make Him known as the Sovereign of our hearts.
Our response to the Nicene Creed is Holy, Holy, Holy as a recognition of Jesus “the Christ of God” and the worthiness of Him to be praised, adored, and followed. The Corporate Confession of Sin focuses on the ways that we seek after desires other than God and that we sometimes are ashamed of the testimony about Him. But it is He who has called us to a “holy calling” in Christ (II Tim 1).
We respond by singing Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken—all to leave and follow Him. We continue this theme of leading and guiding in the first communion hymn, If Thou But Suffer God to Guide Thee. Our second communion hymn is an Easter carol in anticipation of Resurrection Sunday. Over the next few weeks, we will learn and practice some of the great but less familiar Easter carols. Rise Up in Early Morning is a song of praise that echoes the phrases of praise in Psalm 150 but appropriated to the risen Lord.
The final hymn, Come Ye Souls, is a prayer to look to the cross and the easy yoke that Jesus offers even as He guides our feet in obedience and service to Him.
This morning is the first Sunday in the season of Lent. As part of marking different parts of the year, we have made some adjustments to the flow of the liturgy to bring greater attention to the themes of the sermon, the penitential nature of this season, and to stir our hearts and affections to take notice of the Gospel as it weekly washes over us in the service.
The Introit is Behold the Glories of the Lamb as a sung preparation over these next weeks for us to consider the glories of the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world. The Call to Worship from Psalm 146 highlights the theme of God’s care for His people—in justice, provision, freedom and salvation. We continue by singing the words of this Psalm, Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah.
For Lent we will be using the Nicene Creed as our Profession of Faith. The Nicene Creed was written in A.D. 325 by the Council of Nicaea to clarify and to boldly declare the nature of Christ against the heresies of the day.
One of the more significant shifts in the service for this season is moving the Prayer of Confession to after the sermon. You will also notice that the form of the prayer emphasizes the call of the Gospel from the sermon and allows us to use various Scripture passages to pray and weave those truths in our hearts through the means of confession and petition. The following hymn, Awake My Zeal, Awake My Love, is a continued prayer that God would enliven us in our faith in the consistency of the Gospel to serve, feed, clothe, and share the Gospel.
The Hymns of Communion, Holy Father, Hear My Cry and Deck Yourself, My Soul, continue to reinforce our desire and need for the true Bread of Heaven. We conclude with the Psalm for February—Psalm 117: From All That Dwell which is our heart’s cry that every land and every tongue would sing the praise of the Redeemer.