About Our Worship:
The Phos Hilaron.
We start worship by singing the Phos Hilaron by candlelight. The Phos Hilaron (Greek for “Joyous Light”) is the oldest recorded Christian song outside of the Bible. We don’t have an exact date for it, but we know that it was already considered very old by the AD 300s.
The ancient Christians kept a lamp always burning in Jesus’ empty tomb. They would gather there in the evening. From that lamp they lit their candles, while singing the Phos Hilaron.
The Phos Hilaron has been translated into many languages, from Welsh to Korean to Arabic. It is sung by many Christians around the world.
Next we sing Psalm 141 together. Psalm 141 is itself an evening prayer and has been used by Christians down through the ages as part of their evening worship. It is particularly fitting as we offer our prayers and praises to God.
The Magnificat is also known as the Song of Mary. It is the song Mary sings when she goes to visit Elizabeth in Luke 1:46-55.
“God has prepared for Himself one great song of praise throughout eternity, and those who enter the community of God join in this song. It is the song that the “morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy” at the creation of the world. (Job 38:7). It is the victory song of the children of Israel after passing through the Red Sea, the Magnificat of Mary after the annunciation, the song of Paul and Silas in the night of prison, the song of the singers on the sea of glass after their rescue, the “song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb” (Rev. 15:3) It is the song of the heavenly fellowship.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together.
A note on what our pastor wears:
The black shirt with a white collar (togther usually just called "clericals") was a uniform designed by a Scottish Presbyterian pastor in the 1700s. The black shirt symbolizes that the pastor, as a man, is just as sinful as anybody else. The white collar symbolizes that when the pastor speaks the Word of God, those words are holy and pure.
Pastors of many Christian traditions wear clericals, though they are less common than in the past. In the early 1900s, Catholic priests switched from their traditional cassocks to clerical shirts, too. It was easier to get around on bicycles when not wearing a cassock!
A stole is a long, narrow piece of fabric which pastors wear over their shoulders, hanging down in front of them. The color of the stole matches the color of the season of the church year.
The stole symbolizes that a pastor is under the yoke of Jesus.