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Thinking the Faith, Praying the Faith, Living the Faith is written by the PC(USA) Office of Theology and Worship.

Thinking, praying, and living the faith is at the core of ministry in the Office of Theology and Worship. In the following videos, learn more about what thinking, praying, and living the faith means to the leadership of the Office of Theology and Worship. Discover why it matters and what difference it makes in our lives, work, and worship.  

Charles Wiley  
Barry Ensign-George
David Gambrell
Christine Hong 
Karen Russell

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September 8, 2012

I Love to Tell the Story

One of the things I love about the forthcoming (2013) Presbyterian hymnal, Glory to God, is that it is shaped by a story -- the story of our salvation in Jesus Christ.

There are lots of ways to organize a hymnal: topical categories, theological doctrines, liturgical seasons, even alphabetical order (we tried that with the Worshipbook). But Glory to God is shaped by the story of salvation history.

The first half of the hymnal, therefore, is all about Christian faith, telling the story of God's Mighty Acts. It begins before the beginning, with hymns and songs about the Triune God. Then it moves through the the great arc of history, from creation to new creation:

Creation and Providence
God's Covenant with Israel
Jesus Christ
   Passion and Death
   Ascension and Reign
The Gift of the Holy Spirit
The Church
The Life of the Nations
Christ's Return and Judgment
A New Heaven and a New Earth

As people of faith, we are shaped by story too. Our lives are shaped by what God has done for us in Jesus Christ, as we seek to proclaim the mystery of faith, continue in  Christ's ministry, and share good news with the world.

So the second half of the hymnal is about Christian life: Our Response to God. It includes three primary sections, each with three subsections:

Praising the Triune God
   Celebrating Time
Joining in the Spirit's Work
   Dedication and Stewardship
   Discipleship and Mission
   Justice and Reconciliation
Hoping for Christ's Return
   Lament and Longing for Healing
   Living and Dying in Christ
   Trusting in the Promises of God

In between, there is Christian worship: where God's action meets our response, where God's grace meets our gratitude. So the middle section of the hymnal, The Church at Worship, is organized around the shape of the liturgy:

Confession and Forgiveness
The Word
The Lord's Supper
This section also includes Service Music: settings of the Kyrie, Gloria, Alleluia, Sanctus, Mysterium Fidei, Amen, etc.

God's action, our response. God's grace, our gratitude. This is the heartbeat of Christian faith, life, and worship. This is the church's song, the story we have to tell to the world. Glory to God!

Tags: faith, hymnal, life, worship