Divine Bookends

Divine Bookends

With a new Pastor, comes some new ideas & new practices.


One of the things that our new Pastor has instructed me to do is to consider beginning each service with a song that has a message that helps to prepare us for worship.   He does this with hymns and my task is to do it with contemporary music as well.  Unfortunately our songbook’s thematic index does not have this as a category, so I paged though the songs and found the following song choices to be appropriate as opening music:


“All Over Again” by Michael Zehnder

“Because of Your Love” by Paul Baloche

“Celebrate the Lord of Love” by Paul Baloche and Ed Kerr

“Come and Behold Him” by John Chisum

“Come and See” by Lenny Leblanc

“Enter In” by Billy Christopher

“Here in This Place” by Bobbly L. Schroeder

“I Want to be Where You Are” by Don Moen

“Let it Rise” by Holland Davis

“Lift Him Up” by Billy Funk

“Only by Grace” by Gerrit Gustafson


While I’m at it, here are some contemporary songs that have closing or benediction-like messages:


“Everyday a Celebration of His Love” by DeGarmo & Key

“May the Peace” by Keith Getty

“Peace be Yours” by Blaire A’Hearn

“the Hope of Your Call” by Don Chapman

“the Lord Bless You” by Don Chapman


These songs are “divine bookends” for our worship.


10 thoughts on “Divine Bookends”

  1. Thank you for including Let It Rise in your list!!!



    If you’d like to hear more cool new independent worship songs check out worshipsong.com….


  2. What do you mean by a song that “ushers us into the presence of God” and what is the criteria for that?


    1. Perhaps a poor choice of words on my part. A song cannot “usher us into the presence of God.” God is omnipresent and Jesus tells us that whenever two or more are present in worship, there is He as well. I would think that one attribute of a good opening song would be to help transition and prepare our minds from our everyday lives to that of the worship service. This particular theme would also serve to remind us that we are entering into the Lord’s house.


  3. Steve, thanks for sharing these potential songs for opening and closing of worship.

    If you haven’t already, I suggest you start dialoging with your new pastor about matching the teaching content of the lyrics with his intented tone and affective goals for the whole service. Where there’s time and musical talents, there is so much opportunity to memorably enhance our worship services and underscore the teaching goals by picking the right music, arrangements, instrumentation etc. so that our music matches the spiritual and emotional ebb and flow of the service. This applies to “Contemporary” and “Traditional” equally.

    In my experience, most pastors, especially in the festival seasons, are rushed to select hymns and songs. They choose based on the textual content. It can be jarring to lurch from a full throttle praise hymn straight into the confession of sins. Likewise I find it off putting that, AFTER receiving receiving the forgiveness of our sins confidently granted to us in the absolution or scripture reading or an uplifting sermon that we plunge into a melancholy penitential hymn or song.

    If you know where your pastor “worship leader” is heading with the service, you can better leverage the opportunity to match the right hymns, arrangements, instrumentation to the opening and closing hymns. There are natural high points in the service (absolution, the climax leading up to or following the Gospel Reading, the hymn/song following the sermon depending on the type of sermon) where you can “pull out the stops,” pick up the tempo, or “rock ‘up'” :-). In short, let’s try to match the music to where our hearts should be based on what’s come before and what’s coming up in the Word spoken, chanted, sung.

    That said, probably at too much length, I think an Opening Hymn/Song needs to be familiar and upbeat enough to draw everyone in and reflective enough to match the the confession of sins. Similarly the Closing Hymn needs to be benedictive but not too downbeat or on the extreme of being overly upbeat.

    By the way, have y’all considered using more than one open hymn/song to begin the service. The first could be for familiar warm up or “first impressions”. the second could transition to match the temperature of the confession of sins.

    Randy the long winded . . .


    1. Scott, Yes I have heard of Fernando. He actually does a really nice job on some traditional hymns. Welcome to the BLOG, thanks for reading and thanks for leaving a comment.



  4. Two closers you might want to check out for your list:
    “Go Out as People of God” by Gloria Lien (in Best of the Best) We slow this down on the verse a bit to facilitate cong. singing)
    “Go in Peace and Serve the Lord” by Handt Hanson in ELCA Worship and Praise (check it out anyway 🙂 )


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