November 22, 2020: “Come Into God’s Presence with Singing”

Preparing for Worship

Sketch by Margie H.

Today we conclude our worship series looking at the ancient prayer book of God’s people, the Psalms. Today is also Eternity Sunday, when we set aside time to remember those among us who have died during the past year. We are also introducing our new hymnal, Voices Together, which has been published and is on its way to us. Today we “sing a new song” in the spirit of the Psalms as we remember our loved ones now among the great cloud of witnesses.

In preparation for worship you may wish to light a candle, representing the presence of Christ with you and among us. You may also wish to have other unlit candles available for the memorial. Because most of our songs today are new, and all of them are videos, we have prepared a song sheet for you with the words. You can download that here.

Call to Worship

Larissa P. welcomes us and calls us to worship.

Songs of Praise

Our first song of praise is a new version of an old song. It is in our old hymnal as This Is Our Father’s World, but it appears in our new hymnal as VT 180 This Is God’s Wondrous World. This title and the revised lyrics have appeared in other hymnals since about 25 years ago. Michael P. leads us in singing this. Note that the musical style is Michael’s own, not written into the new hymnal! See the song sheet for the lyrics.

Our second song of praise is a new one to us, appearing in our new hymnal as VT 42 Could It Be That God Is Singing. Erin & Joel K. lead us in singing this. See the song sheet for the lyrics.

Offering

Thank you for your faithful giving over the past months! Please continue this act of worship in support of the church’s ongoing ministries. For online giving, please see the information here.

Congregational Prayer

For announcements related to our church community, please see the eBulletin emailed to those on the church email list. You can also stay updated by checking the church Facebook page and this website.

This week in our prayers we especially remember:

  • Our International Witness partners in South Korea, Bock Ki Kim & Sook Kyoung Park. They have experienced some easing of restrictions as COVID cases have declined, which means they have been able to return to some of their ministries with children and churches. We give thanks to God for their important work!
  • The D. family whom we have supported in our newcomer sponsorship. The application for permanent residence for their second son, the only child still not with them, has been delayed again. Pray for obstacles to be dealt with swiftly and for his application to be approved.
  • Those among us facing difficult challenges. We think especially of those who are recovering at home from COVID, and of Arnie & Carol F. and all their family as they mourn Art’s passing this past week. May each one know God’s presence and peace bringing healing and strength.
  • Us as a church on this Eternity Sunday: May we be “convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:38-39).

Larissa P. leads us in a congregational prayer.

Special Music

On this Eternity Sunday with the Psalms theme of “Come into God’s presence with singing,” we recognize those who have passed away in the past year who played a special role among us in musical leadership. In this partial recording from Thanksgiving 2018, Ruth D. accompanies the MMC Strings+ in playing Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee. This song appears in our new hymnal as VT 103 Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.

Memorial

We pause to remember now those among us who have died in the past year. We speak their names, we recall their faces, we tell their stories. We grieve their absence from our lives, even as we believe with hope that they are present with God, fully alive to God, and that we will see them again one day.

There is time in this memorial for you to light a candle of remembrance yourself for a loved one who has passed away, whether in the past year or previously. The song accompanying the video is VT 319 Stay with Me, the Night Has Come, sung and played by Michael P. See the song sheet for the lyrics.

Let’s remember together.

Prayer Song

As we continue in the spirit of prayer and remembrance, listen to this song by Al & Loretta T, called Tree of Life. This song was originally considered for the new Voices Together hymnal, but it does not appear in final version. See the song sheet for the lyrics.

Song of Hope

As we move toward the conclusion of our service, we sing a song of hope. On this Eternity Sunday this song is especially relevant. This is Lora B. singing her song which appears in the new hymnal as VT 828 There’s A Wild Hope on the Wind. It was recorded at our Advent Dessert Night in 2018. See the song sheet for the lyrics.

Song of Blessing

Erin & Joel K. lead us in this new song of blessing, VT 145 Touch the Earth Lightly. See the song sheet for the lyrics.

Benediction

Larissa P. offers this benediction for us as we live this time of worship together.

Sending Song

We go from our worship together with a new song on our lips. Join Al & Loretta T. as they lead us in VT 849 We, Your People, Sing Your Praises. See the song sheet for the lyrics.

Don’t forget to join us this evening at 7:00 for our Eternity Sunday communion service, available on this website just a few minutes before that time.

In the Week Ahead

Check the church website and church Facebook page regularly for resources for staying connected and for spiritual growth during this time. Grace and peace to you this week!

Songs: This Is God’s Wondrous World (Original title, “This Is My Father’s World”; Text: Maltbie D. Babcock, Thoughts for Every-Day Living, 1901; Music: Franklin Sheppard, Alleluia, 1915); Could It Be that God Is Singing? (Text: Becca J. R. Lachman; ©2004 Becca J. R. Lachman, rev. 2018; Music: Southern Harmony, 1854; arr. Alice Parker ©2008); Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee (Music: adapted from Ludwig van Beethoven, 1823; based on adaptation by Edward Hodges, Trinity Collection of Church Music, 1864; arr. Michael Pahl); Stay with Me, the Night Has Come (Text: David Bjorlin ©2016 GIA Publications, Inc.; Music: Welsh traditional); Tree of Life (Text and music: Marty Haugen; ©1984 GIA Publications, Inc.); There’s A Wild Hope on the Wind (Text and music: Lora Braun); Touch the Earth Lightly (Text: Shirley Erena Murray ©1992 Hope Publishing Co.; Music: Swee Hong Lim; arr. Tamryn Parker-Carver, ©2005 Hope Publishing Co.); We, Your People, Sing Your Praises (Text: Rebecca Mosley and Josephine Manyeli, ©2013 Rebecca Mosley and Josephine Munyeli; Music: traditional East African melody and harmonization; arr. Mennonite Worship and Song Committee, 2019)
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