This past April, the consistory asked our pastor to write a column about “Our Liturgy,” which he did, twelve brief articles. The consistory received some very good feedback from the congregation by way of letters as well as comments and suggestions made at home visits. At its recent meeting, the consistory considered the feedback and the various points of our liturgy to see whether any improvements could be made, and decided that there were three areas where we should make some small changes to enhance our worship.
1. Each service will commence with a call to worship immediately before the votum. The congregation will be invited to rise and the minister will read a brief call to worship, for example, some words of Psalm 95:
Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.
For the LORD is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;
for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.
The call to worship will have the intention of focussing our minds on what we have come to do, to worship our great God.
2. The congregation will recite the votum in unison. The votum belongs to the congregation, is our confession about in whom we place our trust, and is best said by all together rather than have the minister say it on behalf of the congregation. To create a good segue between the call to worship, the minister will say, “Let us together confess that” at which point we will together say, “Our help is in the name of the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth, Amen.”
3. We will also make a small change as to when we rise for singing. We will no longer stand in the morning for the song before the sermon; rather, we will always, morning and afternoon, rise for the song after the sermon. In liturgical studies, this song is sometimes called “the amen-song” and the consistory thought it would be appropriate for the congregation to rise as it sings its amen to the proclamation of the word. This means that in every service we will rise for the first and last songs, the one after the sermon, and in the afternoon, we will remain standing for the creed.
We will be making these changes as of the first Sunday in September.
May the Lord bless our worship!