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Some musical selections may be rendered by the choir alone, but these should be under the direction of the pastor in consultation with his musical director. He will determine the amount of time to be given to this part of the service, and will see that nothing inappropriate is sung.
The aim should be, not to exhibit the musical proficiency of the singers, but to stir the religious emotions and awaken a spirit of devotion.
Very careful attention should be given, also to the reading of the Scripture. It is surprising that when we praise the Bible as the greatest of all literature and the most sacred of books, the public reading from its pages should in many cases be selected in such haphazard fashion and rendered so carelessly. It should be made one of the most effective features of the service. Its great lessons of life are conveyed in parable and poetry, in didactic teaching of truth and stories of dramatic power. If a pastor would plan a course of Scripture readings for a year, and study each lesson so as to read it most effectively he would find a new interest awakening in his people.
The service of public prayer is also of very great importance. The Pastoral prayer is sometimes slightingly referred to as “the long prayer,” and too often deserves the implied criticism. It is at this point that the attention and interest of the congregation is most apt to sink, and the exercise becomes something to be endured rather than enjoyed. Prayers should be planned as carefully as the sermon. They should not undertake to cover all possible topics. It is not necessary to give information to an omniscient God about matters he thoroughly understands. Prayers should be simple, devout, and felicitously expressed, with no attempt at eloquence; and they should be kept strictly within certain time limits. The pastor should strive so to lead his people in their approach to the throne of grace that they will feel themselves in real communion with the Heavenly Father, in full confidence that he desires to bless them far beyond their hopes. When they confess their sins, they may have the glad assurance that he fully forgives them if as loyal disciples of Christ they are trying to walk in the paths of righteousness. When they offer their petitions, they may be sure that God will answer them in loving wisdom and that they will receive their heart's desire if their wills are one with his. Such leadership in this devotional service calls for careful preparation, and it will be of great assistance to pastors to have their minds steeped in the devotional passages of Scripture, and in the uplifting and inspiring words of saintly men of the Christian centuries.
The offertory should be treated as part of the worship of God, and not merely as "the collection.” When prefaced with suitable words of Scripture or a prayer, and received by the minister with a brief prayer of thanksgiving and consecration it may be an aid to devotion. If a musical selection is rendered in connection with it, the anthem or solo should be in complete harmony with the rest of the service, inspiring a feeling of worship rather than of mere admiration.
These services of worship together with the message of the minister in the sermon should be so timed as to keep the entire service well within definite limits. The strain of modern life leaves many people too worn and nervous for a prolonged session in church or elsewhere. They should go away without fatigue that they may return with delightful anticipation. Except in very unusual circumstances the morning service should not exceed an hour and a half in length, and often an hour and a quarter is quite sufficient. The evening or vesper service may well be kept within an hour. If ministers would for a few Sundays test the time taken for each part of the service, they might easily fix a schedule for themselves which if followed would add greatly to the interest of the hour of worship. The following timeschedule would keep the entire service within an hour and a quarter: Processional or opening hymn, four minutes; Call to worship and invocation, three minutes; Hymn (or “Venite," or "Magnificat," etc.), four minutes; Responsive Reading, four minutes; Anthem, five minutes; Scripture Lesson, five minutes; Response, two minutes; Pastoral Prayer, seven minutes; Offertory, four minutes; Hymn, three minutes; Sermon, thirty minutes; Hymn, three minutes; Closing Prayer and Benediction, one minute. While the transition from one part to another might prolong the service somewhat, and while on occasion the leader of worship might slightly overrun the time assigned for a particular exercise, yet a serious effort to follow some such plan would doubtless help to keep the entire service well within an hour and a half.
If the worship in the sanctuary be thus sincere, spontaneous and interesting, and if pastor and people conspire to make it genuine, the utterance of their present feeling, so expressed and kept within limits that all can enjoy it without weariness, we may hope for a great increase of spiritual power in our churches. This is what we desire above all else; the machinery is of little worth unless there is a “spirit in the wheels," manifestly working out the divine purpose. The church should be a dynamo; the service of worship should be not only a source of strength and grace to its worshippers, but it should also develop the needed power for the work of the Kingdom.
CHARLES H. RICHARDS JOHN W. BUCKHAM
WALDO S. PRATT
AN ORDER FOR A CHILDREN'S DAY SERVICE
At the appointed hour the children and older people of the Sunday School
and congregation, with the pastor and superintendent, having gathered
in another room, may march into the house of worship, singing the PROCESSIONAL HYMN.
I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the
Lord. One thing have I desired of the Lord; that will I seek after;
to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord
our maker. For He is our God; and we are the people of his pas
ture and the sheep of his hand. | Then may the minister lead the people in THE INVOCATION. Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and
from whom no secrets are hid; cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit; that we may perfectly love Thee, and worthily magnify Thy Holy Name, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
All Uniting. Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom
come. Thy will be done in 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, and the power, and the glory, forAmen.
f One of the following may be used if desired:
“When his salvation bringing."
And he took a little child, and set him in the midst of them; and taking
him in his arms, he said unto them, Whosoever shall receive one of such little children in my name, receiveth me:
and whosoever receiveth me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me. In that hour came the disciples unto Jesus, saying Who then is greatest in the Kingdom of heaven? And he called to him a little child, and set him in the midst of them,
Verily I say unto you, except ye turn, and become as little children, ye
shall in no wise enter into the Kingdom of heaven. "And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: And his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not: for of such
is the Kingdom of Heaven. Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God
as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them and blessed
CONSECRATION OF CHILDREN IN BAPTISM.
1 One of the following may be used if desired:
“I think when I read that sweet story of old.”
PRESENTATION OF BIBLES TO CHILDREN OF THE CHURCH
| By the Primary Department or a Children's Chorus.
RECITATIONS AND EXERCISES.
| By members of the Sunday School.