The Rites Committee has been busy in 2018. We have completed work on several services, while we continue to make progress on others.
Here are some projects we’ve been working on during the last several months:
Fine Tuning Settings of The Service
The main Communion service will have three printed musical settings in the print edition of the hymnal. We have been refining some elements within each of these settings. For instance, we have worked on the Gospel Acclamation (known as the Verse of the Day in Christian Worship). We considered several different approaches, decided on a standard format for the print edition, and lined up music for each of the three settings of The Service.
The new hymnal will include several devotions appropriate for various times of day. These devotions will be useful for individuals, families, classrooms, meetings, and other groups. More about the format of these devotions in the next blog post.
An expanded set of Personal Prayers is currently under review. Some newly composed prayers take their place among some classic prayers to form a valuable prayer resource for personal devotions and other occasions.
We have completed a revision of the wedding rite. Our aim is to confess clearly the Scriptural basis for marriage, especially in light of societal confusion about this gift of God, and to do so with language that is both understandable and dignified.
We have also revised the Christian Funeral service, retaining Christian Worship’s emphasis on our God’s promises, rooted in the crucified and risen Savior, the Resurrection and the Life. Some new additions to the service further shine the spotlight on our Savior’s gifts of righteousness and eternal life.
Brief Service of Word and Prayer
We are proposing to the Executive Committee the inclusion of a new service, a brief Service of Word and Prayer. This service is designed for occasions such as midweek Lenten and Advent services, regular midweek services when Communion is not celebrated, and chapel services.
Rites for Confession and Absolution
For occasions when Christians seek the comfort of God’s absolution spoken privately and individually, we have revised the rite for Individual Confession and Absolution. For times when groups of Christians want to focus on God’s forgiveness, our plan is to include a rite for Corporate Confession and Absolution in the new hymnal.
Many other Rites Committee projects are in the works. We are excited to see many rites taking shape, anticipating how the Spirit may use them as humble vehicles for his powerful Word.