Category Archives: Postludes

Thoughts on Entering the Sanctuary

Thoughts on Entering the Sanctuary
by Pastor Timothy Ehlers and Steve Brown

Where there is devotional music, God is always present with his grace.” Johann Sebastian Bach’s last words (Forward in Christ Magazine, Jan 2014, page 16)

Every Sunday morning, we enter the church building and walk through the fellowship area where we often meet and greet one another on our way into the sanctuary. But, it is in the sanctuary where we prepare to meet God. How, you might ask?

Be Still and Know…
One way would be to enter quietly as we focus our mind and our heart’s affection on God. In fact, we could enter into the church building with a mindset to first greet God in silence, awe and respect with prayer, mediation and reflection and then greet our friends and visitors with joy and fellowship after worship having just heard the great news of our Savior’s unconditional love for us. It truly is a blessing to enter the sanctuary in that quiet time and to be able to prepare ourselves for worship each week and to take in the banquet that awaits us.

In Christ Alone…
I do not believe that we will be seen as an unfriendly church if we are interested in pursing God alone during pre-service and chatting with one another after we worship together. I know this can be a new mindset for some, but there is a benefit in making Sunday morning one of those times to just be still and soak in the atmosphere of knowing that He is God and that He is the only reason for our gathering. You will see that there is a world of difference between the silence of apathy and the silence of devotion. While sitting in silence, try to pray and meditate on the day’s readings, or reflect on a hymn text to be sung, or pray that God meets you in worship today like never before! Reading the day’s scriptures is a wonderful way to prepare your heart and mind for worship and this will enable those readings to be even more beneficial as the officiant reads God’s word during the service. Or, contemplate the music and the readings together as a whole. They were selected for a reason. Together, they tell an important story! Pre-Service is your personal time to pursue God in this place.

The Pre-Service Music…
Did you know that the pre-service music has been selected to enhance your worship experience? The organists provide beautifully embellished hymns whose lyrics fit in with the theme of worship, and like-wise, the praise band chooses songs that have lyrics to serve the day’s readings. These are designed to help to “get you in the mood” for worship and to help transition you from a hectic week into an encounter with your God. This special music is provided to bless both God and his gathered people.

The Balm…
I need to tell you as a fellow worshiper, that the Pastor feels great joy and comfort when he sees his fellow Christians preparing their hearts for worship before the service. It is indeed “balm for the heart that has been assailed all week in a world of darkness.” In fact, this “powerful balm” also helps to prepare the Pastor’s heart so that the worship is a richer experience as soon as it starts.

The Postlude…
Enough about pre-service! What about that post service music? The post service music, sometimes referred to as the postlude, is meant to buttress the main thought of the worship message one last time before we exit for another week as we get back to our lives of being the world’s salt and light.

Music to My Ears
It’s music to my ears
When three or more gather and God does appear
When I hear my Lord proclaim, friend “Do not fear”

It’s music to my ears
The preludes, the sonnets, the sound of the strings
The sonorous tones the church musician brings

It’s music to my ears
The emotions, the pain, inspired art, heart
I sense this in worship as the prelude starts

It’s music to my ears
The gifted preacher, the sermon, the blessing
The relief of all heinous sin’s confessing

It’s music to my ears
The choirs, the anthems, the music, the prayers
The sweet smell of worship wafting in the air

It’s music to my ears
The scriptures being read, the wine and the bread
The dead is not dead and my Savior who bled

It’s music to my ears
Worshippers sing, bell choirs ring, offerers bring
Safe harbor beneath, His almighty white wing

It’s music to my ears
Absolution granted, psalms that are chanted
Knowing the root of Jesse has been planted

It’s music to my ears
Fellowship and friends, making humble amends
Worship blends, God ascends, beginning to end

It’s music to my ears
All these precious things that I tend to hold dear
Knowing my Lord and my Savior is so near
Yes Lord, may this be the music to my ear.

Looking forward to seeing you all in worship!