Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Songs in Worship at Christ Church

Here is the order of songs in our worship service with the rational behind each set of songs. 

Entrance Hymn: This is the first song we sing after the prayer of praise. Here we want a lively, vigorous song, often a psalm. This song should be characterized by praise and thanksgiving for who God is and/or our great privilege in coming to His house. Some songs that we put in this slot are Psalm 24, Psalm 100, Psalm 122, Crown Him Many Crowns, and O Worship the King.

Hymn of Thanksgiving: This song follows the confession of sin and will usually go one of two directions. First, it can be a song of praise for the forgiveness of sins we have just experienced. If this is the case, it will be lively. Songs such as Psalm 34, Psalm 103, O For a Thousand Tongues, and Love Divine, All Loves Excelling fit well in this spot, as well as resurrection songs. Second, it could be a slower song focusing on the work of Christ on the cross, which is the basis of our forgiveness. If we take this second path we could use Psalm 6, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, Let Thy Blood in Mercy Poured, and O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus

Worship Set: The worship set is the two songs we sing after the Scripture reading. Almost any song fits this middle section. Usually, we do a slower song first and then a faster song second. If we are learning a new song, it will first show up in this section of the service.

Communion: We sing during communion. There are numerous reasons why we do this, which I will address in a future letter devoted entirely to the Lord’s Supper. I try to include at least one Psalm and one song that celebrates the work of Christ. Both of these songs are usually lively as the Supper is a foretaste of our final feast with Christ.

Doxology, Gloria Patri, and Creed: In the service we have two short songs and we also sing the Apostles’ Creed. First, following the Lord’s Prayer we have The Doxology proper. This is sung while the tithes and offerings are being brought up front. Then we end the service with the Gloria Patri. The model for these short doxologies is found in Revelation. As you read Revelation you will see that as God works his people frequently burst forth in praise.  As God works during our service we burst forth in praise as well. It is worth noting that the Doxology is sung to each other, not so much to God. Recently, we have added the Apostles’ Creed. All of these songs are designed to teach us the great truths of God’s Word and to cement those truths in our minds.  They are a musical catechism, where we and our children are taught the central truths of the Christian faith.  

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Let the saints be joyful in glory, let them sing aloud on their beds, let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the peoples; to bind the kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron. Psalm 149:5-8