If you were in worship this past week for World Communion Sunday, you noticed that our communion liturgy was more extensive than it has been in past months. With the concurrence of the Worship Committee, I chose to include the entire Great Prayer of Thanksgiving, including the three sung responses: the Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy), the Memorial Acclamation (Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again), and the Amen. We also printed both the spoken responses of the congregation and the parts of the Great Prayer spoken by the leaders. We will continue this pattern through the remaining seven Sundays of Ordinary Time, until the first Sunday of Advent. This allows the celebration of Communion to rekindle the gift of faith that resides in our congregation in a way that is perhaps new to some and perhaps long familiar to others!
You might also notice that we are singing a variety of hymns each week in worship – some which may be very familiar to you and some which may be new to most of the congregation. Usually, I select the hymns to resonate with the themes of scripture and the sermon for each particular Sunday. I also try to make sure that I am not turning to the same hymns week after week. I try not to choose the same hymn more than once every three months! Just as it is helpful for us to read and experience scripture passages from the entire scope of the Bible, not just reading the same scriptures over and over again in worship, so too it is helpful for us to sing a broad range of hymns from a variety of cultures and historical moments in the life of the church. In this way, we receive and rekindle the gift of faith that has been passed on from the saints who have gone before, and we celebrate the gifts of saints we perhaps have not yet met or experienced!
The blessing of worship is that it is a chance to be comforted by familiar words and songs of our faith, and it is a chance to be challenged by new insights from scripture and new tunes that speak to our hearts in ways we would never have imagined. I look forward to spending time in worship with each of you and with all of you!