Tag Archives: planning

Brought to you by the numbers 7 and 4


Kingsclear-20130411-00562One week before choir practice I took the opportunity to set the hymn board for Sunday’s service.  I started by taking all the numbers I would need out of the pile and I started to worry that I might run out of sevens and fours.  At the practice later I commented, “This weeks service will be brought to you by the numbers four and seven.”  After we finished joking around about Sesame Street and the shows brought to us by a number and a letter each episode, we went on to practice.

As a member of the team who select the weekly hymns I can assure you that we did not set out to see how few different digits we could use.  We had no bias that week against twos, threes, fives, or nines.  There are times in the church year, like Advent, Lent, Christmas, and Easter when the majority of the hymns will come from that seasonal section of the book.  At these times all the numbers will be within around thirty of each other.  If the theme for the week is mission the numbers are likely to be in the 700 s as that is the area of the book for that type of hymn.

Our Presbyterian Church in Canada Book of Praise, like most I expect, is organized with the sung Psalms at the beginning, sections of hymns for the seasons of the church year in order, then a section for God, Jesus, the Spirit, and the Trinity. The rest of the book is organized thematically.

A quick look at the hymn board when you first enter the church should give you a pretty good idea of the theme for the service.

Hymn selection for services may seem random to the people in the pews, and indeed it may be some of the time, but usually a lot of thought and reflection goes into the choices.  An integral part of worship, the hymns should be carrying the theme through the service and helping you to perceive and internalize the message.

Check it out the next time you are in a church, whether using a bulletin or the hymn board.  Look up a couple of the hymns to see what sections they are in.  Are they grouped closely together or spread out?

I realize that many churches probably don’t use hymn boards any more, instead projecting the hymns and service information at the front.  Our church uses bulletins we give to each person with the order of service, unison prayers, hymn numbers and announcements.  I guess we don’t really need a hymn board, but it is tradition.  Back when the Psalms were in our Book of Praise the number of the responsive Psalm would also have been on the board which is why there are five rows and only four hymn numbers.

While Visions of Seed Packets and Garden Plots Dance Through Our Heads


It happened yesterday. I was tidying the living room because guests were coming. I was on a roll until I uncovered the gardening books my parents recently gave me. I easily set aside the one on perennials, but ended up totally distracted by the Reader’s Digest Illustrated Guide to Gardening in Canada. With pictures of fresh asparagus, apples,peppers, tomatoes etc. on the cover I was hooked.

For those of you in warmer climes I think I should mention that this morning as I look out my window I see my neighbours headed up the street with their cross-country skis, the snow bank at the end of our driveway makes it impossible to see if cars are coming before backing out, and the cold breeze is quite unpleasant.

I spent some time on the page that gave a list of which vegetables to plant at what time in the season in order to have all the vegetables a family of four need for the summer. For some things you need to replant a number of times and others just once will do.

How is it possible that people with yards under several feet of snow can be making plans in February for their gardens? No matter how deep the winter, we know that spring will come!

In the same way, as Christians, we know that the Kingdom of God is coming. It is just as hard to tell by looking at it as if it were under those feet of snow, but our faith has us looking and working towards its guaranteed coming. So we move forward with visions of peace and justice dancing in our heads.