CALL TO WORSHIP: Glorious God, we come together as Your people. We come as a praising people, singing Your goodness. We come as a hungry people, longing to be fed. We come as a praying people, bringing our needs and our joys. We come as a journeying people, looking for direction. In this sacred place of worship, empower us to be faithful. Let us worship the God of Life!
OPENING PRAYER: Eternal God, we give You thanks for Your gift of music. For songs of praise that express our thanks to You, for joyful hymns that lift our spirits, for tender songs that draw us closer to You and others, for haunting melodies that give voice to our sorrows, for rousing hymns that boost our commitment, for humourous songs that make us laugh and for poetic hymns that convey divine wisdom.
We pray that everyone will recognize that all people are Your beloved children. We pray that all should be treated equally and that Your children should not be judged by the colour of their skin, nor their gender, nor their nationality, nor their sexual orientation, nor their financial condition, their mental or physical capacity, nor their religious
faith. We pray that all will see virtue in sitting down at the same table with one another, the table of friendship, where everyone is embraced as brother and sister.
God, You hope for a world of justice, compassion and peace. We pray
that we will embrace that hope and do everything in our power so that Your will may truly be done on earth as it is in heaven. This we pray in the name of the one who taught us to pray together: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
SPECIAL MUSIC: “Sing, Sing, Sing” Norm Rennie & Rob Ireland
WE LOVE TO SING:
There is nothing like the power of music in someone's life. Music is
a fundamental part of every society. The Bible is full of references to music and how music should be used to worship God. The longest book in the Bible is the Book of Psalms — the song book. As we will read in Ephesians in just a couple of minutes: "Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God, the Father, for everything."
The first reference to a musician in the Bible is in the fourth chapter of Genesis. Both the Old and New Testaments advocate the use of music in worship, and we are going to use music throughout our service this morning. We are going to "sing to God with gratitude in our hearts."
In my opinion, one of the greatest gifts that God has given us is the gift of music. Whether we play an instrument, sing, dance, or just listen, we all get pleasure from music. So let's continue our service by singing hymn #420, Praise, I will Praise You Lord
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Psalm 149:1-6a Ephesians 5:15-20
AFFIRMATION OF FAITH:
Together let us confess our faith. Do you believe in God, our Creator? I believe in God, creator of all things, whose heavenly song sent the planets into motion. Even when we go astray, God calls us back, showing us the fullness of life and giving us new songs of praise for each new day. Do you believe in Jesus Christ? I believe in Jesus Christ who lives for us and among us, healing the sick, easing the burdens of all people, and teaching us the new song of God’s kingdom. He showed His love for all God’s children in His death and the hope for eternal life in His resurrection. Do you believe in the Holy Spirit? I believe in the Holy Spirit, the breath of life who sings God’s grace through all time and space. I believe that God has a song for my life as well. Amen.
SPECIAL MUSIC: “Joy is Like The Rain” Gordon Furey
WHAT ARE YOU SINGING ABOUT?
How many of you have ever seen a whip-poor-will? This little bird is often heard, but seldom seen. The whip-poor-will sings its name on summer nights in the woods. The song may seem to go on endlessly. One very patient observer once counted 1,088 whip-poor-wills given rapidly without a break
The whip-poor-will is a little different from other birds. Most birds sing in the daytime when the sun is out, but the whip-poor-will sings at night. During the day he steeps on the floor of the forest or on a horizontal log or branch. But that wasn't always the case. Many years ago he used to sing in the daytime like other birds. But one day — after midnight — he decided to sing. He sang softly at first, then a little louder. Finally he was singing at full volume.
As you can imagine, this woke up all the other birds. They opened their sleepy eyes and yawned, and when they looked up at the sky, they were confused. It was still dark! So they said to the whip-poor-will, "The sun's not out. What are you singing about?"
The whip-poor-will answered, "The sun may not be out, but I know it's going to be. I have faith!"
It's almost like that whip-poor-will had been reading the Bible. Listen to what Paulsaid about faith in the book of Hebrews: "Faith...is being sure of what we do not see." Even though he couldn't see it, that whip-poor-will had faith that the sun would come up in the morning.
And even though we can't see Jesus, we have faith that He's there and that He will return again one day. And just like that bird, we don't have to wait until Jesus returns to rejoice. We can rejoice and sing praises and be thankful right now, because we have faith.
So if you ever wake up before the sun comes up and you hear a bird outside your window singing away, remember, he's just showing his faith, and so should we. We thank God for giving us faith in Jesus and
we pray that our faith will grow every day.
SPECIAL MUSIC: “I’ll Walk With God” Howard Welburn
THANK YOU GOD FOR THE SOUND OF MUSIC:
Today we are thanking God for bestowing the gift of music on us, His children. Worship would be pretty dull if we didn't have our wonderful music, wouldn't it? We don't all have the same tastes in music. For example, when I'm driving I like to listen to classical music, but when I'm at home I like to listen to the classics of the 40's, 50's and 60's. And sometimes our different tastes in music can lead to some strong feelings about what's appropriate in worship. What is uplifting, what isn't uplifting? Is this song too modern or contemporary for this congregation? Today, I hope that we can all learn something about how music can and does shape our religious faith.
Two of the gospels mention the fact that Jesus and His disciples sang a hymn at the end of the Last Supper. (Matthew 26:30 & Mark 14:26). Paul gave instructions regarding the use of music during Christian gatherings. In the book of Ephesians we see that addressing each other with hymns and songs is an indication of being filled with the Spirit. In the Colossians the same is an indication of being filled with the Word of Christ.
We have Martin Luther to thank for putting congregational hymn singing into practice in our worship services. Before that, trained singers and priests chanted any singing that took place in worship and they did it in Latin. And they wanted it as close to perfect as possible because it was being presented to God. And sadly, the people in the congregation
couldn't even understand the Latin words.
But Luther wanted to change all that, so he wrote hundreds and hundreds of hymns for worship. He freely took or borrowed tunes he heard, including the tunes of some popular drinking songs of the day. Luther believed that music could be transformed by the power of the gospel to share a higher purpose. It was Luther's thinking that "music should pervade worship."
Both the Old and New Testaments address music and strongly support its use in worship. It's dear that God sees the importance and value of creative musical expression. By incorporating music in our worship service we honour God in a very special way. Music is a communication tool, and a Spirit-filled Christian is a singing Christian. The Bible gives us a
very simple command — sing to God with gratitude in your hearts. (Colossians 3:16)
HYMN: A Mighty Fortress Is Our God Vs. 1, 2 & 4 This hymn was written by Martin Luther
SOLI DEO GLORIA:
Soil Deo Gloria To God Alone Be The Glory. My most favourite classical
composer is Johannes Sebastian Bach. Some of Bach's music is still in our hymnals today. Our hymnal has 11 of them and the United Church hymnal, Voices United, has 12. There are other famous composers as well such as Brahms. Handel and Haydn. And men and women have been writing hymns and songs of inspiration for the past 250 years.
As we've been saying, music is a very important part of our worship. But some people come to worship and they never sing, and they have a lot of excuses for not singing. Now, I'm not pointing fingers at anyone here in our congregation — I'm just making a point.
Here are some of the excuses I've heard over the years. "I can't carry a tune in a bucket." Sorry, but that excuse won't hold up. The Bible doesn't say "Sing to the Lord with a beautiful voice". It says "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord."
Another excuse I've heard is "I don't like the songs we sing." That excuse doesn't work either because the songs aren't actually for us — they're for God! Since God created the gift of music, I think He probably likes all kinds of music.
Here's an excuse that I've heard over and over again. "1 don't know that song." The Bible says sing unto the Lord a new song. How can we sing a new song to the Lord if we won't even try to learn it?
Here's what I think. I think it's time to stop making excuses and use whatever musical gift God has given us to glorify Him. Don't hold back because you can't sing on key. Hitting the right notes is nice, but it isn't obligatory. Soli Deo Gloria — To God alone be the glory!
Thank you God for the gift of music. May we always use that gift to sing and make music in our hearts to the Lord.
I now invite you to sing joyfully!
I’ve Got The Joy
I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart,
Down in my heart, down in my heart, I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart, Down in my heart to stay.
And I’m so happy, so very happy,
I’ve got the love of Jesus in my heart,
And I’m so happy, so very happy,
I’ve got the love of Jesus in my heart.
I’ve got the love of Jesus, love of Jesus down in my heart...
I’ve got the peace that passes understanding down in my heart..
I’ve got the wonderful love of the Blessed Redeemer
Deep down in the depths of my heart....
Thank you Lord for melodies and harmonies. Thank you for composers
and poets, for instruments and musicians. Thank you for ears to hear and minds to comprehend the gift that You have given and the gifts You keep on giving. You know us so well. Lord, be the song we sing, the melody we carry home with us, Your song of peace ringing out through everything we say and do. In Your name, we pray. Amen
CLOSING HYMN: Shine, Jesus, Shine
BENEDICTION & CHORAL AMEN:
May we walk with God during our time apart in whatever we do and wherever we go. May we talk to God in the coming weeks, every day
and in every situation. May there be a new song in our hearts and a new harmony in our beings, until we gather together again.
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