Pastor Dave Poolman’s focus for the summer months at Princeton CRC in Kentwood, MI, was Singing the Psalms. This provided the perfect opportunity to plan an afternoon worship service titled Singing the Psalms using the hymnal, Psalms for All Seasons. Using a Gathering Psalm (Ps. 133), a Call to Worship Psalm (Ps. 96), a Psalm of Praise (Ps. 148), a Psalm of Confession (Ps. 32), a Psalm of Gratitude (Ps. 136), a Psalm of Trust (Ps. 23) and a Sending Psalm (Ps. 67), the congregation worshiped with the words and music of the Psalms. Varied settings of music—both new and familiar—helped the group experience the Psalms more deeply. The piano, flute, and several simple percussion instruments provided accompaniment to the singing. Responsive readings and prayers found in Psalms for All Seasons gave words to hear and voice the Psalms.
The precursor to this full worship service involves a small group. For several years, Janet and Mike Dykema of Princeton CRC, hosted an intergenerational small group in their home that met monthly to be immersed in the Psalms. Each month they began with Psalm 133, and then focused on two or three Psalms. The group enjoyed reading the Psalms, prayers, and litanies in the hymnal and singing several of the songs associated with each Psalm. At the end of each session the group chose the Psalms for the next month. Psalms expressing praise, confession, lament, gratitude and service became the focus for each season. A variety of instruments were available for participants, young and old, and occasionally the group was blessed with the addition of a flute or violin. It was the members of this small group, then, that invited and led the congregation in the worship service described above, Singing the Psalms.
If you are inspired to try something new with the Psalms, the Worship Ministries office can help. Email us at [email protected] for information on a Lending Library of Psalms for All Seasons hymnals that you can borrow for a worship service, adult ed class, or small group. For regular use of the Psalms in worship, the new Digital version allows you to print Psalms, readings and/or songs in your bulletin. Psalms for All Seasons is also a great resource for devotions for council meetings, small groups, retreats, etc.