This Sunday is the premiere of a new liturgy at Church of the Servant. It’s part of an ongoing attempt to tap the talents of COS’s members for the ongoing renewal of the congregation. Semper reformanda, baby. In this case, we’ve drawn on the work of Ron Rienstra. His song, “The Lord Be with You,” has been sung at Calvin LOFT services and at COS many times. Most recently, an extended version of the song appears in the Lift Up Your Hearts hymnal as part of a complete communion liturgy. Our new liturgy also borrows a gathering liturgy that Ron uses in chapel worship at Western Seminary, where he teaches and leads worship. At the beginning of each service a leader assembles a cross, font, candle, and Bible on the communion table while leading a responsive prayer.
Displaying the Bible on the communion table is something new for us, and it presents an opportunity to make connections between the reading of the Word in worship and the role scripture plays in the faith of those in our congregation. Therefore, we’re putting a call out to COS members who would like their Bibles to be displayed during worship. It may be a family heirloom, the heavily marked study Bible that got you through seminary, or your first Bible in the language of your birth country. You can contact Greg if you’re interested in contributing. We’ll inaugurate the season’s Bible displays with a beautiful leather-bound Bible that belonged to Hal Soper’s grandfather. It was a gift on Christmas of 1888 and was recently restored by former COS member Vern Wiering.
This week, we welcome Albert Strydhorst to the pulpit. He will be preaching on Nehemiah rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem, explaining how this was a work of mission as much as a story of leadership. He’ll end with some stories of God making his glory known through us, using examples from his own work as a missionary in Nigeria. Fortuitously, there’s a great song from Nigeria based on Psalm 47 that will fit perfectly at the conclusion of his sermon. But it won’t all be new! Because is there is a lot of new material that comes with a new liturgy, the rest of the music will be quite familiar: “God Himself Is with Us,” “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow,” “Kwake Yesu,” and other well-loved songs from the COS repertoire.
My prayer is that this intermingling of old and new will constantly refresh our stream of worship in a way that celebrates who we have been while always seeking who God is calling us to be.