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I Have the Table Ready - Psalm 23, Matthew 26

A service plan for Lent emphasizing the fellowship and intimacy we may experience with God--at God's initiative in a Lenten series focused on "Walking with God through Psalm 23."

Worship Service

Theme of the Service

When David says the Lord prepares a table for him he is speaking about care, fellowship, and intimacy. This worship service will focus on the fellowship and intimacy we may experience with God-at God's initiative. The songs, prayers, and message will all seek to reinforce this theme.


Prelude: "Rondeau and Air," Purcell [organ]
"Now with Joyful Exultation," Whitford, Janson [organ]

*The Call to Worship
Let us worship God who is our light and our salvation.
The Lord is the stronghold of our lives.
We desire to live in God's house
and to seek him in his holy Temple.
We have come with shouts of joy,
to sing and to make music to the Lord.

Let us worship God in Spirit and in Truth.
Teach us your ways and make straight our paths
in this hour of worship and always.
(based on Psalm 27)

*Hymn of Praise: "Now with Joyful Exultation" (st. 1-3) PsH 95

*Our Declaration of Trust and God's Greeting:
Congregation of Jesus Christ, in whom are you trusting?
Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.
Grace, mercy, and peace to you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.


Anthem: "Cause Me to Hear Thy Lovingkindness," Haan

The Call to Confession
Sung Prayer of Confession: "Ah, Holy Jesus, How Have You Offended" (st. 2) PH 93, PsH 386, RL 285, RN 183, TH 248, TWC 231

Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon you?
It is my treason, Lord, that has undone you.
'Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied you;
I crucified you.

Assurance of Pardon

Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the Lord
been revealed? He grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of
dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his
appearance that we should desire him.

He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity;
and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no
account. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our diseases, yet we considered him
stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon
him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray, we have all turned to our own way; and the Lord has
laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:1-6, NRSV)

Sung Response: "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" (st. 2-3) PH 101, PsH 384, RL 293, RN 236, SFL 166, TH 252, TWC 213

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast
save in the death of Christ, my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them through his blood.

See, from his head, his hands, his feet,
sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
or thorns compose so rich a crown?

*The Gospel Reading: Mark 8:31-9:1
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

*Passing the Peace
Pastor: The peace of Christ be with you.
All: And also with you.
(The worshipers are encouraged to greet each other saying, "The peace of Christ
be with you.")

*Sung Response: "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" (st. 4)
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were a present far too small.
Love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all.


The Offertory Prayer

The Offertory and Offering: "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross," Carter [piano], Burkhardt [organ], or Kauffmann [handbells]

Pastoral Prayer


*Song: "I Am the Lord Your God" PsH 199

The Prayer for Illumination
Lord God,
help us turn our hearts to you
and hear what you will speak,
for you speak peace to your people,
through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(based on Psalm 85:8)

The Reading of Scripture: Matthew 26:17-30
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

Sermon: I Have the Table Ready (Walking with Jesus through Psalm 23 - #5)

View sermon notes for this sermon

Text: Psalm 23:5a

The Prayer of Application


Song: "Everywhere I Go" SFL 211

Sung Prayer: "May the Peace of the Lord," Wagner

*The Benediction with Congregational Amen!

*Closing Response: "Now Go in Peace" SNC 289

Postlude: "Trumpet Tune," Telemann [organ]

* you are invited to stand

Sermon Notes:

View sermon notes for this sermon

Music Notes:

Glossary of Hymnal Abbreviations:
PH The Presbyterian Hymnal (Presbyterian Church USA; Westminster/John Knox Press)
PsH The Psalter Hymnal (Christian Reformed Church; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
RL Rejoice in the Lord (Reformed Church in America; W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Company)
RN Renew! (Hope Publishing Company)
SFL Songs for LiFE (children's songbook; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
SNC Sing! A New Creation (Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Christian Reformed Church, Reformed Church in America; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
TH Trinity Hymnal (Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church in America; Great Commission Publications)
TWC The Worshiping Church (Hope Publishing Company)
WOV With One Voice (Augsburg Fortress)

Music Level Key: E = Easy, M = Medium, D = Difficult

  1. The prelude music can be found in the following sources:
    - "Rondeau and Air" by Henry Purcell, published by Cramer (St. Martin's Organ Series No. 26) [1981] (E-M)
    - "Now With Joyful Exultation," a quiet setting of beecher by Homer Whitford in "Five Choral Paraphrases" set 2, published by H. W. Grey GB355 [1949] (E-M); and a set of variations on the same tune by P. Janson titled "Partita on 'Beecher,'" published by Brookside Publishing [1989] (E-M)
  2. The SATB anthem "Cause Me to Hear Thy Lovingkindness" by Raymond H. Haan is published by H. W. Grey GCMR 3420 [1980] (E-M).
  3. The suggestions for offertory music on "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" (hamburg) can be found in the following sources:
    - "The Wondrous Cross," a piano collection by John Carter, published by Hope 1747 [1994] (E)
    - "Five Lenten Hymn Improvisations," an organ collection by Michael Burkhardt, published by Morningstar MSM-10-309 [1990] (E-M)
    - "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" by Ronald Kauffmann for 3-5 octaves handbells, published by Agape 1226 [1986] (E)
  4. The two-part mixed-voice anthem "May the Peace of the Lord" by Douglas Wagner is published by Hope A606 [1988] (E-M). This anthem has an accompaniment for handbell choir or keyboard. The handbell accompaniment, published separately by Agape (a division of Hope Publishing), has the catalogue number 1314.
  5. Note that the closing response "Go Now in Peace" can be sung in unison or as a round. Your choir or ensemble could lead and encourage the congregation in the singing of the round.
  6. The postlude selection comes from "Suite for Organ" by Georg Philipp Telemann, published by Concordia 97-4763 [1966] (E-M). This trumpet tune is the last selection in the suite.

Liturgy Notes:

  1. Transitional comments by the pastor or worship leader between different steps in the worship service should be brief, but carefully crafted so they communicate accurately and clearly the intent and spirit of the service. In this particular service, the introductory and transitional comments should point to the fellowship and intimacy we experience with God, as expressed in the opening section on the theme of the service.
  2. As with each Sunday in Lent, the service of confession is the same as in previous weeks so that the worshipers can experience the continuity of each week's confession and assurance.
  3. The prayer for illumination can most meaningfully be prayed by all worshipers in unison.
  4. Because of the theme of this service, the response section after the sermon should clearly send worshipers on their way with a deep sense of the care and fellowship of God that accompanies them.