Sometimes a worship plan seems great and doesn’t deliver. Sometimes a theme seems strong, but doesn’t connect. And then sometimes, a plan, a theme, a group of musicians, and a message combine in a beautiful way that could never have been anticipated. That was our worship this weekend. Oh, and Betty was still with us. It was a good day.
Theme Our pastor began a new series, ‘Chasing Wisdom’, beginning with Prov 9:10: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” He spoke about what it means to ‘fear the Lord’… how do we show God we ‘fear’ him? We tried to aim our entire worship service that direction, which means that we tried to focus on the holiness of God… the ‘otherness’….. the vastness. Our pastor invited us to think about how we acknowledge the ‘dangerous’ side of God in our lives. He invited us to take the risk of kneeling before God during the last song, which many did. It was a powerful thing to see men, women, kids, students, kneeling… people who usually don’t show variation in their posture during worship responded. I wonder how that act changed people?
Setting Aside from music & scripture choices, one of the main alteration-from-normal was lighting. We meet in a multi-purpose room with two walls of windows and no dimmable house lighting. House lights are halogen vapor or something like that, so they come on gradually, but turn off immediately. Usually, the house is fully lit, as well as basic, white stage lighting.
For Sunday, we started with full lighting, but turned off all house lights during the opening prayer and provided only enough stage lighting for the musicians to be able to see. Fortunately, it was an overcast day outside, so even without masking the windows, the natural lighting wasn’t overwhelming. We brought up the house lights before the message.
welcome/announcements/set the tone
video scripture: Psalm 19 — live keyboard underscore
Holy, Holy, Holy, 1 verse (Heber/Dykes)
Revelation Song (Riddle)
Unashamed Love (Ten Shekel Shirt)
I Lift My Hands (Cook)
offering: How Marvelous (Tomlin arr.)
message response: Be Still and Know (Fettke)
Thoughts: the video scripture was a great opener. I didn’t really care for the music on the video, so James, our keyboard player, created a very open, mysterious underscore. ‘Revelation Song’ is one of my favorite songs ever. It’s one of those songs that is such a powerful weapon, in my opinion, that it must be used and aimed well, never thoughtlessly. This was a great opportunity to use it well. ‘Unashamed Love’ is a very familiar, very powerful song for our church. We deconstructed it a bit to come out of the scripture and into the next song seamlessly. ‘I Lift My Hands’ is one of those Hillsong exclamation point pieces… I don’t know what to call them… a simple 1-2 line song that repeats. We’ve done this one only a few times, so I was surprised to hear the congregation jump in with great enthusiasm as it began. This was our first time to do ‘How Marvelous’, but since it is a familiar hymn to some, it didn’t feel new. Again, the power of singing about being in God’s presence… unbelievable. My husband’s comment: why do you always pull out all the ‘varsity’ level songs the week I don’t play??!! (He is usually on acoustic.)
8:30 & 9:45 Blended worship
welcome/announcements/set the tone
video scripture: Psalm 19 — live piano underscore
Holy is the Lord (Schubert) — choir
Isaiah 6: 1-3
Holy, Holy, Holy (Heber/Dykes)
I Stand in Awe (Altrogge)
O God of Mine (Springer)
offering: The Majesty and Glory of Your Name– choir
response: Be Still and Know (Fettke)
Thoughts: same video scripture …. our amazing pianist played a suitable, mysterious underscore that led directly into the choir’s song. For years, our blended services included organ on opening hymns, choir pieces, and postludes. We haven’t had an organist for a while, so that element has been missing. We now have a woman attending who plays organ, so she played on ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’. For those who attend these services, this is going to be a great element to have available again. ‘I Stand in Awe’…. back in the mid 90’s our church drove this song into the ground. It seemed like a good setting to bring it back.