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The Holy Day - Isaiah 58, Mark 2, HCLD 38

A service plan focused on observing the Sabbath--an expression of our respect for and obedience to God, in a series on the Ten Commandments, as explained in the Heidelberg Catechism.

Worship Service

Theme of the Service

This service is built around the fourth commandment, honoring the Sabbath. The theme is that the observance of the Sabbath is for our good and is an expression of our respect for and obedience to God.(Note that this completes the first table of the law. Next week the season of Lent begins, so we will set the series on the Ten Commandments aside and return to it after Easter.)


We suggest a number of resources that will be valuable tools for you in this study of the Ten Commandments.

  • Each week we will provide references for you from the Heidelberg Catechism and both the Larger and the Shorter Westminster Catechism.
  • The website of the Center for Excellence in Preaching at Calvin Theological Seminary also provides sermon ideas for each of these commandments and Lord's Days.
  • Comfort and Joy: A Study of the Heidelberg Catechism, Andrew Kuyvenhoven, Grand Rapids: CRC Publications, 1988.
  • Our Only Comfort: A Comprehensive Commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism (vol. 2), Fred Klooster, Grand Rapids: Faith Alive Christian Resources, 2001.
  • The Ten Commandments: Manual for the Christian Life, Jochem Douma, tr. Nelson D. Kloosterman, Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Publishing, 1996.
  • Mere Morality: What God Expects from Ordinary People, Lewis B. Smedes, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 1983.

Catechism References:
Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Day 38
Westminster Larger Catechism, Q.115-121
Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q.57-62


Prelude: "I Was Glad They Came to Call Me" [see <href="#music" >music notes]
or: "Psalm 95: Come, Worship God"

The Call to Worship

Introit: "How Lovely Is Your Dwelling," Pote [see <href="#music" >music notes]
or: "In This Place," Meyer

*Song: "I Was Glad They Came to Call Me" PsH 122
or: "Psalm 95: Come, Worship God" SNC 25

*Our Declaration of Trust and God's Greeting:
Congregation of 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.

*Song of Response: "This Is the Day" PsH 241, SFL 3, TWC 801, UMH 657
or: "Psalm 122: I Rejoiced When I Heard Them Say" RN 117, SNC 7


The Call to Confession
What is the great and first commandment?
Love the Lord your God with all your heart
and with all your soul and with all your mind.
What is the second commandment like it?
Love your neighbor as yourself.
What does this mean?
Love is the fulfilling of the law.
To what does this call us?
To a life of faith working through love. (The Worship Sourcebook, 2.7.5, based on Matthew 22:37-40)

Our Prayer of Confession [see <href="#liturgy" >liturgy notes]
O Lord of the Sabbath,
in your concern for our welfare you have given us this holy day,
an opportunity to rest from the weariness of our work
and to remember your works in our world and our lives,
a time to worship you with our brothers and sisters.
On this day you raised your Son, Jesus Christ, from the grave,
and on this day you poured out your Holy Spirit on the church.
We give you thanks for this holy day.
But we confess that we have often distorted it to fit our purposes.
It has been hard for us to lay our work down.
We have sought rest for our bodies but not our spirits.
We have failed to remember your mighty and gracious works for us.
We have sought recreation instead of worship.
Even when we have come to worship,
our hearts are sometimes far from you.
Forgive us in your mercy, and grant us new hearts.
In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Assurance of God's Pardon

The Call to Grateful Living: Hebrews 10:19-25

Song of Response: "The Ten Commandments" PsH 153: 1, 5, 9


The Children's Moment [see <href="#liturgy" >liturgy notes]

The Reading of the Heidelberg Catechism: Lord's Day 38 [see <href="#liturgy" >liturgy notes]

*Song of Preparation: "Holy Spirit, Mighty God" PsH 278, RN 95

The Prayer for Illumination

The Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 58:9b-14
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

The New Testament Reading: Mark 2:23-3:6
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

Sermon: The Holy Day
Shaping Our Gratitude 6

The Prayer of Application


*Our Renewed Vows of Obedience [see <href="#liturgy" >liturgy notes]

*Hymn of Response: "Lord of All Leisure Time" TWC 398 [see <href="#music" >music notes]

The Prayers of the People

The Offertory:
The Offering of Music: "Be Thou My Vision" [see <href="#music" >music notes]
We offer our gifts for..


*Words of Sending: John 15:16-17

*The Benediction with Congregational Amen!

*Sung Response: "Be Thou My Vision" PH 339; RL 67; RN 151; TH 642; TWC 532; WOV 776, UMH 451, SWM 161 [see <href="#music" >music notes]

Postlude: "Be Thou My Vision" [see <href="#music" >music notes]

*You are invited to stand.

Sermon Notes

The definitions we give to words, such as "Sabbath," "rest," "work," and "holy," will form how we understand and observe the fourth commandment. Those definitions are sometimes shaped more by our culture than Scripture. Careful discernment will be necessary so that our definitions are more Scriptural than cultural.

Many people want to jump too quickly to the question of "how" we observe the Sabbath before examining why God instituted it and what his goals for our observance of it are. Jews made the same mistake and multiplied rule upon rule for Sabbath observance. Consider the conflict between Jesus and the religious leaders in Mark 2 and 3. It is important to begin by seeing the Sabbath as a gift of God's loving care. He made the Sabbath (see Mark 2:27) as a gift for resting our bodies, renewing our minds, recharging our souls, and refocusing our spirits. These can be accomplished best by setting aside our daily work (Exodus 20:8-11), remembering God's mighty acts of deliverance (Deuteronomy 5:15), and being aware that we live through the resurrection of Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Isaiah's prophecy also tells us about Sabbath observation. First, it gives a promise that underscores the importance of Sabbath observance: They will experience "joy in the Lord" and riding "on the heights of the land." Second, it gives a warning that failure to observe this holy day will be seen as a lack of love for the Lord. In addition, when Isaiah casts these teachings in the context of fasting that is superficial and external only, he shows us that Sabbath observance is a matter of the heart in addition to external practices. Do not miss that Isaiah calls us to consider this day a "delight" and "honorable"!

The Westminster Catechism tells us that the Sabbath in the New Testament is "the Lord's Day," intended by God to be the first day of the week by the resurrection of Christ and the Pentecostal outpouring of the Spirit. The Heidelberg Catechism speaks of this by indicating that its significance shifts from resting from work to resting from our evil ways, which makes it a foretaste of eternal rest.

The pastoral dimension of this sermon should give suggestions for shaping our Sabbath observance in a society that discourages it, for remembering as Deuteronomy 5 calls us, for examining the impact the "weekend" syndrome of our culture has on our thinking, and for recommending what kind of "rest" God intends for us. The biggest challenge might be to recapture Isaiah's words of "delight" and "honorable."

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)
SWM Sing With Me (children's songbook; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
TH Trinity Hymnal (Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church in America; Great
Commission Publications)
TWC The Worshiping Church (Hope Publishing Company)
UMH The United Methodist Hymnal (United Methodist Publishing House)
WOV With One Voice (Augsburg Fortress)

Suggestions for prelude are based on the opening hymn suggestions and came be found in the following resources:


Bach, J. S. Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring. Marks 114 [1955] (E-M)
Bach, J. S. Music for a Celebration, set 4. Morningstar MSM-10-579 [2005] (E-M)
Bach, J. S. The Biggs Book of Organ Music. H. W. Grey GB 645 [1979] (E-M)
Manz, Paul. Ten Chorale Improvisations, set 4. Concordia 97-4951 [1970] (E-M)
Marpurg, Friedrich Wilhelm. Twenty-one Chorale Preludes. Augsburg 11-9506 [1967] (E-M)
Pachelbel, Johann. Selected Organ Works, vol. 4. Barenreiter 1016 (adaptable for piano; E-M)
Stoldt, Frank. Five Hymn Settings. Morningstar MSM-10-931 [1988] (E-M)

Gerig, Reginald. Piano Preludes on Hymns and Chorales. Hope 251 [1959] (M)

O QUANTA QUALIA ["Psalm 95: Come, Worship God"]

Cherwien, David. Interpretations, bk. 7. AMSI SP-104 [1988] (E-M)
Edmundson, Garth. Seven Service Preludes. Fischer 9206 [1960] (E-M)

The choral introit suggestions are as follows:
Pote, Allen. "How Lovely Is Your Dwelling." GIA G-5945 [2002] (SATB piano and flute, based on
Psalm 84; E-M)
Meyer, Daniel C. "In This Place." GIA G-5102 [2000] (SAB with keyboard; E-M)

If you select "I Was Glad They Came to Call Me" as the opening hymn, you most likely will not choose the setting of Psalm 122 as the response song.

The commitment hymn following the sermon could be sung to a more familiar tune. Consult your hymnal's metrical index for hymn tune possibilities in S.M.D. meter.

Suggestions for offertory music based on the closing hymn of the service can be found in:

SLANE ["Be Thou My Vision"]

Ashdown, Franklin D. Augsburg Organ Library - Lent. Augsburg 11-11036 [2000] (E-M)
Callahan, Charles. Partita on Slane. Concordia 97-6046 [1990] (E-M)
Cherwien, David. Interpretations, bk. 8. AMSI SP-105 [1991] (E-M)
Held, Wilbur. Easy Hymn Preludes for Organ, vol. 4. Concordia 97-7032 [2005] (E)
Manz, Paul. Ten Chorale Improvisations, set 9. Concordia 97-5556 [1980] (E-M)
Swenson, Warren. Seven Hymn Preludes in a New Style. H. W. Grey. GB 637 [1977] (E-M)
Willams, Ronald R. Three Hymn Tunes from the British Isles. Shawnee HF-24 [1967] (E-M)
Wood, Dale. Wood Works. SMP KK357 [1986] (E-M)

Hayes, Mark. Lord Be Glorified, vol 2. Word 301 0063 318 [1992] (M)
Leavitt, John. How Sweet the Sound. CPH 97-6891 [2000] (E-M) (E-M)
Shackley, Larry. Celtic Hymn Settings for Piano. Hope 8117 [2001] (E-M)

Hopson, Hal H. Be Thou My Vision. Coronet CP2004 [1982] (3 octaves, E-M)

Alternative harmonizations for the closing hymn as well as suggestions suitable for postlude based on that hymn are as follows:

SLANE ["Be Thou My Vision"]

Alternative Harmonization for Organ:
Busarow, Donald. Thirty More Accompaniments for Hymns in Canon. Augsburg 11-10163 [1992]
Eggert, John. Creative Hymn Accompaniments for Organ, vol. 2. CPH 97-6851 [2000]

Alternative Harmonization for Piano:
Carlson, J. Bert. Let It Rip! At the Piano. Augsburg 11-11045 [2000]

Cherwien, David. Joyful Praise. Morningstar MSM-10-738 [2004] (E-M)
Wood, Dale. Wood Works. SMP KK357 [1986] (E-M)
Young, Gordon. Eight Voluntaries. Presser 413-41034-30 [1961] (E-M)

Hayes, Mark. Lord Be Glorified, vol 2. Word 301 0063 318 [1992] (M)
Leavitt, John. How Sweet the Sound. CPH 97-6891 [2000] (E-M)
Shackley, Larry. Celtic Hymn Settings for Piano. Hope 8117 [2001] (E-M)

Liturgy Notes

1. You will notice again that the Prayer of Confession is tailored to the content of this commandment. This may be read by the worship leader as representative of all, or it may be read in unison by all worshipers.

2. The Children's Moment is placed immediately prior to the sermon so the content is related to the sermon. We suggest that your comments to the children could focus on "why do we have a Sunday?" Wonder with them why God planned it this way, what God did on the first Sabbath, what happened to Jesus on Easter, and the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. Help their growing minds to make a connection between this day and those big events, and encourage them to feel positively about this gift God gave us.

3. We suggest that the words of the Heidelberg Catechism be read responsively: either the worship leader reads the question and the congregation responds with the answer, or vice versa. To reprint for personal use, a ministry setting, or classroom us, include this credit line: © 1987, CRC Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. . Reprinted with permission.

Q. What is God's will for you in the fourth commandment?
A. First, that the gospel ministry and education for it be maintained,
and that, especially on the festive day of rest,
I regularly attend the assembly of God's people
to learn what God's Word teaches,
to participate in the sacraments,
to pray to God publicly,
and to bring Christian offerings for the poor.
Second, that every day of my life
I rest from my evil ways,
let the Lord work in me through his Spirit,
and so begin already in this life
the eternal Sabbath.

4. For each Sunday in this series, the service will include a section after the sermon entitled "We Respond with Our Renewed Commitments." The worshiper should feel led to such a response after the Word has been spoken. The Commandments, in one of its forms, should be the substance of this commitment. There is a variety of resources you may draw from. Section 2.7 of The Worship Sourcebook (pp. 127-137) provides a variety of resources for this purpose. The Psalter Hymnal (pp. 1013-1018) provides additional responsive readings of the Ten Commandments.
To reprint responsive readings of the Ten Commandments for personal use, a ministry setting, or classroom us, include this credit line: © 1987, CRC Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. . Reprinted with permission.