The worship and music committee met this week to make plans through the end of the church year, as well as some preliminary discussions about Advent and Christmas. Just as we're getting settled into the fall season, we're already trying to get ready for the winter.
Among our decisions for this coming Sunday, we decided to make a few minor tweaks to the liturgy. During the Alleluia, the choir will be singing the verse before we all repeat the refrain. Then we'll be bringing back the sung responses before and after the Gospel lesson. The committee agreed that singing "Glory to you, O Lord" and "Praise to you, O Christ" is much more joyous than mumbling. In our opinion, it was a mistake to omit them from the ELW. You're always welcome to provide your own feedback on such issues, but we think it will be a welcome change to the service.
Of course, now that the choir has returned, we're also singing the Psalms again. This Sunday they will be singing an antiphon as well, further enhancing the Psalm. These aren't major changes, but just enough to help keep things fresh. I recently read O Clap Your Hands by Gordon Giles, and he wrote some thoughts related to these changes: "Our worship needs to be kept alive, kept moving by the familiar but also awakened by that which is new, challenging, or striking. Newness in music is not therefore necessarily something freshly composed, but something newly encountered."
This Sunday will also include some great hymns: "Lift High the Cross," "God of Grace and God of Glory," and "What a Fellowship." The last of those was composed by Elisha Hoffman, who has a Cleveland connection. The forecast is for a beautiful Sunday, so we can all get started with beautiful worship music and enjoy a great fall afternoon.