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Full text of "Rural people at worship"

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'Rural people at Worship 



By 
EDWARD KRUSEN ZIEGLER 



AGRICULTURAL MISSIONS, INC 
NEW YORK, NEW YORK 





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"Rural people at Worship 



Hural people at Worship 

By j 

EDWARD KRUSEN ZIEGLER 



AGRICULTURAL MISSIONS, INC. 
NEW YORK, NEW YORK 

1943 



COPYRIGHT I943 

AGRICULTURAL MISSIONS, INC. 

156 Fifth Avenue, New York 10, N. Y. 



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SOLLi'.-ft J,; ' "..' 
PREFACE 

his is a book of worship materials and programs collected 
from the rural areas of the world. After the publication of 
"A Book of Worship for Village Churches," in 1939, it became 
evident that there is great need for collecting materials which are 
being used and developed in rural churches, as a contribution to 
the ecumenical movement in worship, and as a means of stimu- 
lating the development of more distinctive rural worship. This 
book is a step in meeting that need. 

Letters asking for indigenous rural worship materials were sent 
out in the summers of 1940 and 1941 to rural church leaders, 
pastors, and missionaries all over the world, through the mailing 
list and facilities of Agricultural Missions, Inc., of New York. 
/ The increased burdens laid upon missionaries and church leaders 
by the war, and the increasing difficulty of international com- 

Pjj munication prevented the sending of as much valuable material 

,« as was desired. 

v" The author owes, however, a deep debt of gratitude to the hun- 

dreds of missionaries, pastors, teachers, authors, and missionary 

J*--? executives in many lands who have so graciously assisted him by 
sending materials, programs, and suggestions. Not nearly all of 
this material can be used within the compass of a book cheap 
enough to have the wide circulation for which this book is 
planned. Thanks are also due to those who have translated mate- 
rials from several languages into English. 

The author's debt to Mr. John H. Reisner, executive secretary 
of Agricultural Missions, Inc., and of the Christian Rural Fel- 
lowship, for encouragement, inspiration, and help given without 
stint, and in countless ways, both in preparation and publication 
of the book, is beyond computation. 

The author wishes to thank all owners and publishers of copy- 
righted materials who have so graciously given permission for 
the use of their work in preparation of this book. He has tried to 



give proper credit for all materials used, both copyrighted and 
uncopyrighted; if any such acknowledgment has been inadvert- 
ently omitted, he will try to make restitution. Permission to quote 
from the American Standard Version of the Bible has been granted 
by the International Council of Religious Education, who hold 
the copyright. 

A debt of gratitude is owed by the author to a number of others 
who have greatly helped in preparing the book: especially to Miss 
Marguerite Hull, Mrs. Margaret L. Dotterer, and Mrs. Esther H. 
Eichelberger, who helped in many ways and gave freely of their 
time and skill in preparing the materials and typing the manu- 
script. 

Finally the author's deepest gratitude is expressed to his wife, 
Ilda Bittinger Ziegler, whose constant counsel and priceless in- 
spiration has been the greatest source of encouragement in this 
work for the rural churches of the world. 

Edward K. Ziegler 
September, 1943. 



vi 



PUBLISHER'S NOTE 

It has been an extraordinary privilege to collaborate with Mr. 
Ziegler in making Rural People at Worship available to 
those devoted to the cause of the village and rural church and to 
the religious interests of rural life around the world. It is a logical 
and worthy companion volume to his earlier A Boo\ of Worship 
for Village Churches published in 1939 and to his Country Altars 
published in 1942 by the Commission on Worship of the Federal 
Council of the Churches of Christ in America. We are again 
greatly indebted to him for this further notable contribution to 
rural worship. 

Whereas A Boo\ of Worship for Village Churches was written 
primarily for the village church in India and Country Altars was 
written primarily for the rural church in America, Rural People 
at Worship was written with the whole world in mind as a con- 
tribution to the growing ecumenical movement. It will be a day 
of great rejoicing when the rural people of the world can be united 
in worship that sanctifies their daily toil and life and can realize 
their sense of divine calling in a common vocation. This book will 
hasten these processes. 

As Mr. Ziegler points out, there are still a great many gaps to 
be filled. This volume should be only the beginning of a series of 
editions progressively published to make available to the rural 
church across the world the worship materials which will continue 
to be developed by the people of many different cultures and 
backgrounds. We hope, therefore, that rural worship materials will 
continue to be sent to us for future use. Further editions will 
depend primarily on the cooperation of many friends in many 
lands. 

At the request of Mr. Ziegler, Agricultural Missions, Inc., has 
copyrighted the book. Permission to translate and publish will be 
freely granted to missionaries and religious bodies upon written 
application. It is the earnest wish of both author and publisher 



that Rural People at Worship make the greatest possible con- 
tribution to the enrichment of the life of rural people everywhere. 
John H. Reisner, Executive Secretary 
Agricultural Missions, Inc. 
156 Fifth Avenue, New York 10, N. Y. 



vm 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Preface v 

Publisher's Note vii 

Table of Contents ix 

Introduction xi 

I. Planting Festivals i 

II. Rural Life and Rogation Sundays 19 

III. Harvest Festivals and Services 31 

IV. Rural Life Dedication Services 47 
V. Home Dedication Services 63 

VI. Services of Remembrance 77 

VII. Christmas Celebrations 87 

VIII. Occasional Services of Worship and Sacraments 97 

DC. Hymns of the Rural Church 109 



IX 



T 



INTRODUCTION 

New Paths to the Presence of God 

he vision of the Seer of Patmos, of "A great multitude, which 
no man could number, out of every nation, and of all tribes 
and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne . . . and 
with a great voice saying, 'Salvation to our God!' ", does not wait 
for its fulfillment until some dimly seen apocalyptic event. It is 
being fulfilled now! Even in these years of war, when friendships 
between nations have vanished into the dim mists of barbarism, 
when commerce and trade, the communication of thought and 
the sharing of culture are greatly retarded, the Church of Christ 
across the world is still witnessing, often under the Cross, to the 
universal nature of the Christian faith, by its worship of God in 
Christ. There is scarcely a land on the face of the earth where 
Christian worship is not being offered today, in the language and 
thought forms, and according to the customs of the people of the land. 

Across the rural sections of war-ravaged Europe, the myriad 
villages of sunny India, the millennium-old communities of 
China, among the islands of the Pacific, under the shadow of 
Fujiyama or the high Sierras, across the hills and prairie lands of 
rural America, the forests and plateaus and pampas of South 
America, across the vast reaches of grassland and forest in Africa, 
rural people are restoring their souls, finding forgiveness, peace 
and power, and building their communities together through the 
ties of strong Christian fellowship as they engage in Christian 
worship. They are finding God, and through Him new richness 
and beauty in their life as men and women of the soil. 

One of the most gratifying marks of the progress of the Chris- 
tian movement in every land is the increasing utilization of the 
treasures of the art and culture of the land in the service of God 
through worship. The Bantu or the Indian or Chinese Christian 
is no longer a darker-skinned copy of the white Christian. He is 
now a world Christian, with ties of brotherhood binding him to 



the peoples who also serve the Christ in other lands, ties which 
war has been powerless to dissolve. But he brings into the treasury 
of the world-wide Church of Christ the glory and honor of his 
own nation, the skills, the crafts and the arts which are native to 
him. He does this not in nationalistic pride, or in derogation of 
the gifts of others, but in the true Christian spirit of bringing all 
his finest treasures and laying them at the feet of the Redeemer 
to be used. 

He feels most at home in the Christian fellowship when he is 
surrounded by familiar things, and when he can express his 
adoration and give voice to his prayers in his own language. He 
can worship best when the place of worship represents the best 
which his own hands can build, using the materials and the 
architectural style of his own land. As the impulse to express 
Christian life and experience through the medium of pictures 
surges in his heart, he paints Chinese Madonnas, African Peters 
and Pauls, a Christ of the Indian road. The symbols through 
which he seeks to express graphically and beautifully the great 
religious ideas are not all the product of the historic European 
Church; embedded in his own cultural heritage are symbols which 
lift his soul into the presence of the Eternal, and of ultimate reali- 
ties, and these are used to bring new and rich expression, too, to 
his Christian faith. 

Probably there is no area in which this trend is more clearly 
discerned than in religious expression through music. Music and 
rhythmic expression are probably more widely used than any 
other arts among rural peoples. Folk-songs and folk-dances are 
most highly developed among country people, and constitute 
among them the most common form of artistic expression. Each 
land and people has its own rich forms of musical expression, and 
its own instruments. 

Music has always played a prominent part in Christian worship. 
Wherever the church has gone with attractiveness and power, it 
has gone as a singing church. In many places where missions have 
gone, the missionaries, in guiding new Christians into the rich 
experience of Christian worship, have translated the hymns of 
their own native lands, and often have tried to use the tradi- 



tional tunes also. Most of the converts in many lands have been 
from among people who had little understanding of and appre- 
ciation for their own native musical arts. The folk-songs and 
dances which they knew best were often surrounded by a cloud 
of unwholesome associations which made their adaptation for 
Christian worship seem undesirable. Now a great change is taking 
place. The Christian nationals in every land are becoming more 
aware of the great treasures of the music of their own lands, and 
finding ways to use it in the service of Christ. They are baptizing 
the folk tunes, and today in most churches, the heart of the rural 
Christian throbs with joy and praise, and all the other emotions 
of Christian worship, stirred by his own tunes and his own 
instruments. 

Christian preachers and teachers and farmers are finding that 
they can make beautiful, singable Christian lyrics, using the rich 
thought forms and imagery of their own rural life, and singing 
them to their folk-tunes, and even using the old folk-dances, too, 
to give expression to the upsurging of the new life they have 
found. The Christian faith, they are finding, can be expressed 
with eloquence and beauty, and great attractive power in the 
musical language which farmer people can love, appreciate, and 
understand. In India, the ancient forms of dramatic music such 
as the falapshepam, 1 the \atha} and the fyrtan, 3 which are so 
well known and loved there are now becoming the vehicles for 
expressing Christian faith and life, as well as the simpler folk- 
forms of music such as the bhajan* and the garbo. 5 The Christian 
faith has become a singing faith, and its musical expression is 
one of the finest ways of helping to get its roots firmly and deeply 
into the soil of each land. 

There comes to mind the unforgettable picture of Laxman 
Kevaldas, an Indian farmer-preacher with a beautiful lyric tenor 
voice, who was a friend of the author. He would go into a village 
at sunset, talk with the farmer people whom he met, and then 
invite them to a meeting out under a great banyan or tamarind 



1. 2, 3 These are forms of dramatic music used in various sections of India to 
tell some ancient, often religious story. They may be thought of in some cases 
as "one-man operas," or oratorios. 

4 A single musical composition, nearest equivalent to a hymn. 

5 A song and folk-dance combined, always performed by women. 



tree. Hundreds of tired farmers and their wives and sleepy little 
children would sit on the ground around him, and using a simple 
one-string guitar which he had made, he would sing the Christian 
message in lovely stories in song, in the ancient lyric forms which 
they have always loved. Spellbound, they would listen until the 
moon hung low in the skies, and the after-midnight chill drove 
them indoors for their rest. Christ walked the village roads of 
India in the song of His minister, and He spoke in language 
which made the bells ring in country people's hearts. 

Not least among the ways by which Christian faith is finding 
native expression are prayers and worship forms. Beautiful pray- 
ers expressed in the thought forms of the people themselves, have 
been collected in Daniel J. Fleming's beautiful "The World at 
One in Prayer." Not only in prayer, but in the creation and cele- 
bration of Christian festivals rooted in the soil of the lands of the 
younger churches, and in bringing their own thought and cus- 
toms into the celebration of the historic occasions of worship, this 
vigorous, springing life may be seen. To the celebration of Christ- 
mas and All-Saints' Day, in the development of Christian festivals 
of rural life, the rural people of the world have brought to Christ 
their choicest gifts. 

As we read this collection of services and even more as we use 
them as pathways of worship ourselves, we will find new rich- 
ness and beauty, along pathways to the presence of God hitherto 
untrod. We will find spiritual assets and treasures in the worship 
experiences of other races which will give us new confidence in 
the maturity and vigor of the Christian churches in Asia, Africa, 
Europe, and rural America. Our horizons will be moved back in 
worship experience, and our appreciation of other peoples in the 
Kingdom of God will deepen. 

Worship is the highest expression of the Christian faith. When 
to its practice the rural people of the world bring their treasures, 
their skills, their music and art and culture, the worship of the 
world-wide church is thereby enriched. As we enter into these 
experiences of worship alone or in groups, we will catch a fresh 
vision of the truly ecumenical church, in which our brothers of 
every land and color are making their distinctive contribution. 



We can enter the Holy of Holies into the presence of Him Who 
inhabiteth eternity, arm in arm with a great host of farmer people 
of every land who are walking the country roads with Christ. 

The materials brought together in this book illustrate another 
trend of great significance to the rural church of tomorrow. Here 
we see Christian worship tied up intimately with many of the 
experiences of daily life in the countryside. The building of a 
home, the planting of a tree, seed-time and harvest, the coming 
of rain, as well as the more formal religious occasions, all have 
called forth worship expression. These services of occasional wor- 
ship will do much to permeate daily life among rural people with 
Christian significance. Christians who enter into this wider ex- 
perience of worship will no longer secularize rural life. There is a 
rising tide of appreciation of the hand of God in all the concerns 
and processes of agriculture. There is, too, in these worship ser- 
vices, a growing sense of Christian stewardship of the holy earth 
and its resources and gifts, a stewardship lifted up and motivated 
by worship. There could be no more powerful guarantee and 
motivation of the continued growth and maturing of that sense 
of stewardship than worship celebration of it. 

It will readily be seen that there are still many gaps to be filled 
in this developing worship consciousness in rural life. The move- 
ment is just beginning. When it reaches flood-tide, there will be 
a rich outpouring of the treasures of every people in worship 
experience coupled with a permeation of every aspect and concern 
of rural life with a new sense of stewardship and of the presence 
and action of God. In our inquiries, some of the significant gaps 
were in the field of celebration of the historic Christian festivals 
of Easter and Christmas and Pentecost; in adaptation of marriage 
customs to the uses of the Christian church. Easter is being cele- 
brated, it is true; but most of the services which came to light in 
the course of the study were almost entirely traditional, and con- 
tained no significant elements either of native culture or of dis- 
tinctively rural flavor. 

An interesting chapter might have been written describing sig- 
nificant minor adaptations in worship. Many local customs and 
articles are being used in worship which came to light incidentally 



in our study. The use of flowers in India, leaving shoes and 
sandals outside and entering the sanctuary with bare feet, customs 
having to do with the dress of the celebrant of worship or the 
worshippers, forms of greeting and salutation which added to 
the solemnity and dignity of worship experience, processions, the 
use of flags and pennants, characteristic and time-honored postures 
for worship, and many other little details which show the pro- 
cess of naturalization of worship experience among many races 
and peoples, all are significant marks of the trend. 

As we look to the future, there are several interesting leads 
which should be followed, and certain developments which are 
full of great promise. In the first place, the movement to utilize 
more of native cultural heritage, in art forms, poetic expression, 
and music, will bring an ever-broadening stream of rich treasure 
into the storehouse of Christian worship materials, for the use of 
the whole world. As the younger churches mature, they depend 
less and less upon Western forms of Christianity, and use with 
more creative insight and boldness, and with incalculable benefit 
to the world-wide church, the arts and thought-forms of their 
own lands and peoples. In the second place, the rich well-springs 
of Christian song are just being opened. We may confidently look 
for great enrichment of the church's hymnody as the various peo- 
ples of the world make the contribution which they can make so 
well. The time is here when a good hymnal should include hymns 
from Africa, from India and China, as well as the traditional 
hymns from the older countries of the church. Further, real rural 
life hymns will be sung more and more. There is an increasing 
treasury of them. Folk song and dance will become more and 
more a handmaiden of the Christian church in the worship of 
God. 

One of the areas needing most thought and creative experi- 
mentation is the development of adequate celebration of all the 
processes and experiences of rural life in Christian worship. The 
festival spirit is strong and can be a great asset in the Kingdom 
of God. Why should it not bring together the seasonal occasions 
of gladness with the spirit of thanksgiving and the experience of 
richer communion with God. The greater development of Chris- 



xvi 



tian rural life festivals will make the Christian religion even more 
attractive and effective among the rural peoples of the world. 

There are many leaders of rural churches in all lands who feel 
keenly the need for more courageous pioneering in these fields. 
The Indian Bishop of Dornakal, for one, has issued one call after 
another for vigorous thinking and bold experiment on the part 
of the clergy, to Indianize the accompaniments and vehicles of 
worship. In Worship in Other Lands by H. P. Thompson, the 
Bishop is quoted as follows: 

There is as yet not a village church that has in any way 
adapted and adopted the indigenous temple architecture. 
Apart from that, in the midst of a people with high aesthetic 
tastes and love of refined art, what a tragedy it is often to 
see our places of worship bereft of all beauty, colour or dec- 
oration! There is not a Telugu village or town where beau- 
tiful and intricate designs of muggu 1 may not be seen any 
early morning, traced in front of houses and temples. There 
is not a house in this country where flowers — natural and 
artificial — do not decorate the persons and homes of the peo- 
ple. There is not a large village that is not accustomed to 
all-night entertainments given by travelling musicians and 
performers of harihathas? and not a homestead that has not 
had a prettily decorated pamdaP for its wedding ceremonial 
and festivities. All these ought to be consecrated and brought 
into the service of the Kingdom. 4 

There is need, finally, for greatly increased sharing of the treas- 
ures of worship experience around the rural world, the Christians 
of every land bringing their gifts into the common treasury of 
Christendom. We shall find that there are many new trails to the 
highlands of the spirit of God, which have been blazed by farmer 
folk in Java and Kenya, in Nevada and Ecuador, and China and 
India, along which, please God, many other rural folk around 
the world, may come, too, into the country of God. 



1 Floral or geometrical designs in colored chalk powder on clean-swept ground 
in front of an Indian home; often used for decoration on festal occasions. 

2 Musical performance of religious drama. 

3 Booth of bamboo or plantain, used for ceremonial occasions. 

4 From Worship in Other Lands, by H. P. Thompson. S.P.G., London. Used 
by permission of the publishers. 



CHAPTER I 



PLANTING FESTIVALS 



Blessing of the Seed 

A Dedicatory Service for Plowing and Planting 

Dedicating Land and Hand in Angola 

Seed-Time Service of Worship 

Planting Festival 



These dramatic services suggest one of the most promising 
ways of tying up worship with the daily processes of agricul- 
tural life. At least two of them are given in sufficient detail to 
ma\e them usable anywhere, and all are worthy of careful study. 
The time of sowing is one of the most stimulating occasions for 
genuine worship experience. 



Blessing of the Seed 



From Mone Fe's Visits. The description of the service was 
originally published in Listen!, the Christian magazine for 
Africa. 



C All the people, men, women, and children, came to the church, 
bearing their seed and their hoes, and they laid them in a great 
heap on the church floor. 

Then the teacher held up each kind of seed and he sang, Seed 
we bring, and he named each kind, and there were many; and 
the people answered, Lord, to Thee; wilt Thou bless them, O 
Lord. 

And the teacher lifted a hoe and sang, Hoes we bring, and all 
the people made answer, Lord, to Thee; wilt Thou bless them, 
O Lord. 

The teacher raised his hands and sang, Hands we bring, and 
all the people raised their hands and sang, Lord, to Thee; wilt 
Thou bless them, O Lord. 

Ourselves we bring, sang the teacher, and the people bowed 
their heads and sang very softly, Lord, to Thee; wilt Thou bless 
us, O Lord. 

All sang these words in their own tongue, which is Tswa. 

This is the tune of the hymn they sang: 



| j | ^Fg=FfTJ7Tj | W JJ|Jj gi 



Leader: Seed we bring 
Tim-be-wu-ha ne-ha, 



Leader: Seed we bring, 

Leader: Hoes we bring, 

Leader: Hands we bring, 

Leader: Ourselves we bring, 



All: Lord, to Thee; wilt Thou 
bless them, O Lord! 

Hosi ka we-na nga u hi 

ka-te-ki-so Ho-si 
All: Lord, to Thee, etc. 
All: Lord, to Thee, etc. 
All: Lord, to Thee, etc. 
All: Lord, to Thee, etc. 



Then the teacher prayed to God in these words: O God, our 
Father, Thy children greatly thank Thee for the good seed which 
Thou hast given us. We greatly wonder at the power there is in 
the seed. We honour Thy gift. We plant our seed in faith, asking 
Thee to bless it in the ground. Give it life. May no evil thing 
spoil our seed as it grows and bears fruit. Remember, we pray 
Thee, the many people of our village who look to Thee for Food. 
May none hunger in our town. Look with Thy fatherly eye upon 
all people everywhere, and give them this day their daily bread, 
for Jesus' sake. Amen. 

The headman said to Mone Fe: God be thanked for the things 
of life which have come to the people of Mubi through you and 
this young man, our teacher. 

And the elders and the people clapped their hands and said, 
God be thanked. 



A Dedicatory Service for Plowing and Planting 

This service was prepared by Rev. H. A. Stick, head of the 
Theological Department of Adams College, Natal, South Af- 
rica, and used in the Zulu Church. 

C The service should be announced in advance and the people 
advised to bring to the service various kinds of seed. Let the 
pastor proceed with the customary service of worship, for respon- 
sive reading taking Psalm 24, for Scripture reading choosing one 
of the chapters indicated below. The text of the sermon for the 
day may also be chosen from these chapters. After the sermon let 
the service proceed as follows: 

Pastor: The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof; the 

world and they that dwell therein. 
People: We thank Thee, Lord. 
Pastor: For the rich earth, for the seed we possess, for cattle and 

plows with which to work, 
People: We thank Thee, Lord. 
Pastor: For agriculturists who teach us, for diligent hearts, and 

for strength to labor, 



People: We thank Thee, Lord. 

Pastor: For sunshine, rain and dew, and for thy hand which 

blesses, 
People: We thank Thee, Lord. 
Pastor: For a peace that gives us liberty, for friendly neighbors, 

for servants and children who help us, 
People: We thank Thee, Lord. 
Pastor: For the past harvest, which we remember and which is 

still nourishing us, for the hope of a new harvest to come, 
People: We thank Thee, Lord. 
All: The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof; the world 

and they that dwell therein. We thank Thee, Lord. 

C All who have come with seeds, let them stand; let the pastor 
pray for the earth, the seed, and the people who plow. Then let 
those who have seeds come forward; let the pastor receive the 
seed and again return it to the owner, until all have passed and 
returned to their places. If the church has a church field, God's 
acre, let the people leave some of the seed with the pastor for use 
in this field and let him bless it by itself. If an agricultural dem- 
onstrator is present, let him speak to the people. If there is none, 
then invite a teacher or some good farmer of the community to 
speak. 

Hymn 

Benediction: The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make 
His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you; the Lord 
lift His countenance upon you and give you peace, and dili- 
gence in cultivating the soil, and bless you with sunshine and 
rain and dew, and prosper you that you may not be in want, 
and satisfy especially your hearts with heavenly food that you 
may appear at the time of the great harvest before His throne 
of glory, forever and ever. Amen. 

Suggestive passages of Scripture for use in this service: Gen. 
i: i & 31, n-12; 8: 22; 41: 47, 48, 53-57; Deut. 28: 1-6; Ps. 126: 
5, 6; Prov. 6:6-11; Hosea 10: 12; Matt. 6: 25-34; x 3 : 3~9> I ^~ 2 'i\ 
Mark 4: 30-32; 11 Cor. 9: 10. 



Dedicating Land and Hand in Angola 

Putting New Christian Content into Old Religious Practices 

Because it gives the background of primitive religious ceremony 
as well as the Christian adaptation, in clear and graphic lan- 
guage, Miss Kate Rutherford's account of the planting festi- 
val at Lutamo, Angola, Africa, is given here in full, as she 
wrote it for the Mimeograph Series of Agricultural Missions, 
Inc., by whose courtesy it is here included. 

C Inspired by two articles dealing with Christian ceremonies of 
the land printed in the Agricultural Missions Notes, we planned 
to have a special service at Lutamo before the people should start 
preparing their fields for the annual corn and bean crops. It is a 
custom among the Ovimbundu people that on the first day rain 
falls after the long dry season, no one should go to work. They 
think that the first rain is the one which brings good or bad crops. 
The next day no one works, and the elders pray to their ancestors, 
at their own family altars, bringing baskets of seed corn and 
beans to be blessed that the crop may be a good one. 

In the evening the priest, an elder of the chief's family, goes to 
the village altar and all the people gather outside in perfect silence 
to hear his words. He changes his voice so that the people think 
that an important chief, long dead, has come back to life. The 
one who speaks from the next world has been chosen by the 
witch doctor in advance, and every one knows who it is who has 
come to help them. The voice from within the house where the 
altar is promises a good crop and an abundance of food, if the 
people work well and if they are good. If they do wrong no rain 
will be sent. Thus all during the year they live in fear of the 
judgment of this elder. On the third day they go to their fields 
and the work begins, but no one thinks of starting work until 
after the ceremony. 

The thought in planning the Christian service last year was 
that with agriculture, as with other things in the lives of the 
African, in accepting Christianity and adopting its ways as intro- 
duced by foreigners, a very vital thing has been lost, that positive 
sense of a close relationship between the work of the hand and 



the worship of the heart. We had originally thought of having 
the service for the school children, as the women of the com- 
munity had at times in past years had a little service of their own. 
The pastor, however, was very much interested in the idea and 
gave a general invitation. Some parts of the service were more 
suitable for children than for adults, but we had no time to 
prepare other material, and every one liked it so well that they 
asked that it be made an annual affair. 

This year the service was held on the 29th of September in the 
afternoon, when the women had come from their work. The 
school children came from their classes, and those who work in 
the afternoon came from the fields, the kitchens or from gathering 
wood. This year there are 580 pupils in Lutamo school, so the 
assembly hall, which serves also as chapel, was well filled when 
the crowd of women and some men came in for the service. 

The leader, Isaac Capitiya, read as the Invocation, passages of 
praise from the psalms, followed by a hymn of praise. The deacon- 
ess of the district led in prayer, ending with the Lord's prayer in 
concert. We sang another hymn of praise for the beauty of the 
earth, the light of the sun, the moon and the stars. Then Salome, 
who teaches small girls, led thirty of her smallest children to the 
platform and, as she read the verses of a beautiful nature poem, 
the children repeated the chorus in concert. 

We then sang the translation of "All Things Bright and Beauti- 
ful." Emilio Catombelo, another teacher, read the 19th psalm, 
and the leader led us in a simple meditation, finishing with a 
prayer of thanksgiving for the beauty and the bounty which 
Nature provides. Following the singing of "We Plough the Fields 
and Scatter the Good Seed on the Land," Sekulu Capindisa read 
from Mark 4: 1-9 and Galatians 6: 7. 

Then four baskets of seed corn and beans were brought to the 
front, representing four groups, the boys' and girls' boarding 
schools, the girls of Means School across the river, and the women 
of the district. The pastor in his quiet and confident way, speak- 
ing so that the smallest child could understand, linked the 
thoughts of the old way of bringing the seed for the blessing of 
the ancestors, to the idea of consecrating the work of our hands 



in the fields to the Lord. We had been afraid last year that the 
children coming from non-Christian homes might misinterpret 
the service, but the pastor's ample explanation and his reverent 
handling of the new idea soon dispelled all fears. He said that 
Mr. Coles of Galangue had asked him once if he ever thought 
that, after all, in agriculture our work is only a small part of a 
great process, for God does the major part of it for us. It is only 
when we work with God that we get results. 

When he had finished, Sekulu Canjila, the foreman of the 
Agricultural Department of Currie Institute, brought, to supple- 
ment the corn and bean seed, some of the newer types of seed 
now being introduced into native agriculture, better grades of 
corn, soya beans, various kinds of cabbage, tomatoes, and fruits. 
His talk was a mixture of practical hygiene and food values, with 
a good deal of sound agricultural propaganda thrown in. No one 
who knows of the existing malnutrition among African people, 
and the resulting annual loss of life, could question the wisdom 
of his talk before such a group. 

The pastor then announced an offering to provide seed and 
food for cripples. From under the long benches the women drew 
forth baskets of corn and beans, wheat, cabbage, tomatoes, fruit, 
peanuts and eggs, and brought them up to the front of the 
chapel. Two school boys received them. Some of the men also 
donated something and said that next year they all wanted to 
share in bringing gifts. We sang "Sowing in the Morning," and 
the pastor closed the service with the benediction. The life of the 
African is so closely linked with the land that anything which 
relates their religion with the soil or with its products is very 
easily understood by them. 



Seed-Time Service of Worship 

This lovely service was prepared and conducted at Springville, 
Pennsylvania, in June, 1942, by the Rev. Philip N. Pitcher 
and the Rev. Philip Humason Steinmetz. Its rugged and 
homely language and nearness to the concerns of daily rural 
life will especially commend it. The litanies may be translated 
into other languages for use in rural areas in other countries. 

Hymn: O Worship the King (All standing) 

Responsive Reading: Psalm 65 (All standing) 

Gloria Patri (All standing) 

Reading: Deuteronomy 8 in words Moses might use were he to 
talk to us today 1 (All seated) 

Minister: Now let us ask God's forgiveness for all the ways in 
which we have abused His gifts: 

In Unison: O God the Father, from whom all fatherhood is 
named, graciously behold us Thy children bowed in penitence 
before Thee. Thou art kind to those who are ungrateful and 
makest sun and rain, seed-time and harvest to come to those 
who are just and to those who are unjust. But we have not been 
so generous in our dealings with each other as Thou hast been 
with us. Help us each to feel our share of guilt and to turn 
from whatever part we have had in sinful ways, for the sake 
of Thy Son, Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen. 

Minister: For being generous only to those who deserve help 
and turning a deaf ear to those who are shiftless or ungrateful, 

People: Father, forgive us. 

Minister: For voting for those who promise us special privileges, 
not caring who must pay the bill, 

People: Father, forgive us. 

Minister: For fearing and hating Thy children in Germany, 
Italy, and Japan, 

People: Father, forgive us. 

Minister: For trying to get more than we give, 

People: Father, forgive us. 

1 See note at end of this Service. 



Minister: For buying luxuries on installment when we still owed 
bills to storekeepers and doctors and said we could give no 
more to Thy Church, 

People: Father, forgive us. 

Minister: For putting off doing our part in the hope that some- 
one else would do it for us, 

People: Father, forgive us. 

Minister: For thinking "It serves them right" when we heard 
of the bombing of German and Japanese cities and civilians, 

People: Father, forgive us. 

Minister: For telling stories about our neighbors which hurt 
them, and sometimes are not even true, 

People: Father, forgive us. 

Minister: For turning over to the school the training of our 
children and blaming teachers for traits which our careless home 
training had allowed to grow like weeds in their lives, 

People: Father, forgive us. 

Minister: For letting other interests and loyalties take the place 
of prayer and worship of Thee, 

People: Father, forgive us. 

Minister: For committing the particular sins which we each open 
before Thee as we are in silence, 

People: Father, forgive us. 

Silence for one minute 

Declaration of God's Forgiveness 

Minister: Conscious of our Father's goodness and mercy, let us 
give thanks unto Him: 

Minister: For the knowledge that we are forgiven, 

People: We thank Thee, O Father. 

Minister: For the coming of seed-time, for good soil, for abun- 
dant rains, 

People: We thank Thee, O Father. 

Minister: For the friendship which prompts farmers to share tools 
and labor, 

People: We thank Thee, O Father. 

Minister: For neighbors who help when sickness or death, old 
age or new babies come to us, 



People: We thank Thee, O Father. 

Minister: For students and laboratories and colleges whence 
come fuller knowledge of Thy ways, better seeds, better meth- 
ods, county agents and other helps to us who farm the land, 

People: We thank Thee, O Father. 

Minister: For the Grange and other community associations, 
their leaders and plans, 

People: We thank Thee, O Father. 

Minister: For springs of pure water, for wind and sunshine, for 
the increase of plants and animals, 

People: We thank Thee, O Father. 

Minister: For homes and chores and the fellowship of field and 
kitchen, 

People: We thank Thee, O Father. 

Minister: For the blessings of sleep and the renewed strength of 
awakening in the morning, 

People: We thank Thee, O Father. 

Minister: And now, O Father, we humbly beseech Thee that 
Thou Who hast taught us to pray for our daily bread wilt 
enable us to use it and all Thy gifts according to Thy Will. 

People: We beseech Thee to hear us, O God. 

Minister: That Thou wilt give us skill in planting and tending 
crops and caring for our herds, 

People: We beseech Thee to hear us, O God. 

Minister: That Thou wilt give us strength and health and knowl- 
edge of Thy laws so that our bodies may be useful in Thy 
service, 

People: We beseech Thee to hear us, O God. 

Minister: That Thou wilt defend our souls as we struggle in 
war that hatred and malice may not overcome them, 

People: We beseech Thee to hear us, O God. 

Minister: That Thou wilt enlighten and lead our President and 
Governor and all those in authority over us, 

People: We beseech Thee to hear us, O God. 

Minister: That Thou wilt revive Thy Church beginning in our 
hearts and reaching out through us to Thy children everywhere, 

People: We beseech Thee to hear us, O God. 



10 



Hymn: Fairest Lord Jesus (All standing) 

Scripture Reading: Leviticus 7.6: 3—6 

Hymn: For the Beauty of the Earth (All standing) 

CONSECRATION OF THE SOIL, THE SEED, AND THE TOOLS 
THE SOIL 

Minister: This is top-soil. It is symbolic of the holy earth from 
which each of us lives. Each of us has the sacred trust of some 
bit of this fertile part of the earth. It is capable of sustaining 
our lives and the lives of our fellow men. If it is misused, if it 
is robbed of its fertility, not only those who rob it, but all man- 
kind, suffers. 

We are now to ask God's blessing on the soil He has given 
us to till. Let us pray. 

In Unison: O God, who hast granted us the privilege of work- 
ing with Thy holy earth, and Who hast already blessed it with 
fertility not of our making, grant that it may be further blessed 
of Thee through us. Teach us to bless the soil with wise use 
and provident care, that through our labors, begun, continued 
and ended in Thee, its fertility may be increased. So may Thy 
blessing enrich Thy holy earth through us, Thy husbandmen 
and handmaidens, disciples of Thy Son, Jesus Christ in whose 
Name we pray. Amen. 

THE SEED 

Minister: This is hybrid seed corn. It symbolizes the cooperation 
of God and man in the creating of the good things of the earth. 
For it is God who first created the germ of life that makes pos- 
sible the reproduction of plant and animal life, year after year. 
Yet man, by using his God-given mind in the discovery of new 
meanings in God's laws, has been able to produce seed that 
meets his needs better than did that first Indian corn. Let us 
ask God's blessing on the seed. 

In Unison: Eternal Father, we thank Thee for the mysteries of 
life and death and new life that are bound so securely within 
these seeds. Bless, we humbly beseech Thee, all the seeds we 



11 



have planted and are planting, that they may be fruitful and, 
in losing themselves in Thy holy earth, may find themselves 
in a bountiful harvest. And grant, O God, that, as we handle 
these sacred seeds, we may do our part by planting only clean 
seed in clean, fertile fields, our trust firmly rooted in Thee and 
Thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. 

THE TOOLS 

Minister: These are tools with which man tills the holy earth, 
nurturing the sacred seeds into an abundant harvest. Here, 
again, man's mind has been working in cooperation with its 
Maker to discover better ways of doing the work of agriculture. 
So it is that man no longer scratches the earth with a stick, but 
turns the soil over with a steel plow. So it is that even these 
symbols of cultivation and of harvest have been largely re- 
placed by horse- and tractor-drawn implements, that man may 
make more efficient use of his time and energy. And so it is 
that man is learning that it is sinful to turn furrows downhill, 
to run rows up and down, to borrow fertility from the soil 
without paying it back, and to leave bare fields exposed to the 
erosion of weather. Let us ask God's blessing on the tools. 

In Unison: Gracious God, Whose Son, our Lord, made tools for 
farmers, grant Thy blessing upon the implements with which 
we work. May they be no longer symbols of drudgery, but of 
the blessed privileges that are ours. Guard us, O Father, from 
the preoccupation with things that leads us to forget Thee and 
Thy laws. May we never become so fond of our machines that 
we lose our deep love for Thy holy earth. May we always 
respect her, for she is indeed our mother. 

O Thou Master Farmer of the Universe, teach us to labor 
with love and patience, that, even as the cross of sacrificing 
love stands above these symbols of the soil, the seed and the 
tools, so, in all our dealings with these things on our farms 
and in- our gardens, we may know Thy presence with us, and 
may labor with joy for the fulfillment of Thy will, that man- 
kind may be fed. Consecrate with Thy presence the way our 
feet may go; and the humblest work will shine, and the rough- 



12 



est places be made plain. These things we ask in the name of 
Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. 

Hymn: We Plow the Fields and Scatter (All standing) 

Benediction 



Note: The paraphrase of the 8th chapter of Deuteronomy used in this 
Service was made for the occasion. Its text follows: 

God orders us to know and keep His Commandments if we expect to 
continue in the land which He has given us to use, and to have peace and 
prosperity, good crops, healthy children and steady employment. 

Remember that He has brought us through some hard times. When it 
seemed as if all hope of freedom had died, He led brave souls across great, 
stormy seas to find this fruitful land. And when the fierce climate nearly 
ruined the first people to arrive, He led others to bring relief and reenforce- 
ments. And when the selfishness of local interests and private feuds broke 
out in a Revolution against our Mother-land, He found a way, through a 
few people who cared more for the whole country than for themselves, to 
establish a Federal Government and to maintain it when, over and over 
again, it was threatened by special interests, slave owners, factory owners, 
labor unions, the farm lobby! the veteran lobby, and many other selfish 
pressure groups. 

Through all these many years He has provided the means of life, the 
succession of crops so bountiful that we did not know how to distribute 
them among ourselves but were forced by our concern over money to 
destroy them, the increase of children, an abundance of iron, coal, copper, 
forests, wild life, water power, riches so great that every nation under 
heaven seems poor by comparison. 

He has given us these gifts to use for Him, to be improved, to be multi- 
plied, to be shared in love and fellowship with those of other nations and 
races, as grateful children, happy, free and active in doing what their Father 
desires. 

But He warns us not to make the mistake of thinking that all this bounty 
is something we have made, saying: 

"My power and the might of mine hand has gotten me this wealth." 
For it is He that has given the power to His children and when they forget 
about Him and cut themselves off from constant communion with Him and 
hate and fear and kill each other and try to keep some nations from having 
a share in His bounty and the use of His holy earth and keep some races 
from equal rights and give more honor to rich men and banks and powerful 
political leaders and ruthless generals than to Him and think more about 
how to get ahead than how to help the family on the next farm or in the 
next block, then they perish utterly, as has every such group in all the ages of 
the world. 



*3 



Planting Festival 

This service was used in 1941 at the Washoe Indian Mission, 
Dresslerville, Nevada, by the Rev. George W. Swart, minis- 
ter. The address was given by the Agricultural Extension Agent 
of the County. 

AT THE GARDENS 

All Sing: What a Friend We Have in Jesus (One verse) 

All Read: Praise ye the Lord. For it is good to sing praises unto 
our God. Sing praise unto our God who covereth the heavens 
with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh 
grass to grow upon the mountains. He giveth to the animals 
his food, and to the young birds which cry. Praise ye the Lord. 
Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. (From Psalms 
147 and 150.) 

Prayer of Blessing on Fields and Gardens 

AT THE CHURCH 

Singing of Hymns: America, the Beautiful; We Plough the 
Fields 

Reading of Scripture: Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem: Praise thy 
God, O Zion. He maketh peace in thy borders and filleth thee 
with the finest of wheat. He sendeth forth his commandment 
upon the earth: his word runneth very swiftly. He giveth snow 
like wool: He scattereth the frost like ashes. He casteth out his 
word and melteth them: He causeth his wind to blow and the 
waters to flow. He sendeth the springs into the valleys which 
run among the hills. They give drink to every beast of the 
field. By them shall the fowls of the air have their habitation 
and sing among the branches. He causeth the grass to grow for 
the cattle and the plants for the service of men. Man goeth 
forth unto his work and to his labor, until the evening. Thou 
openest thine hand and they are filled with good. The Lord 
shall rejoice in his works. (From Psalms 147 and 104.) 

Singing of Hymn: This Is My Father's World 



H 



Prayer of Thanksgiving: For Snow, Rain; Sun, Clouds; Earth, 
Seed. 

Leader: Let us praise God, and our Lord Jesus Christ, His Son: 
for the day, for the glory and warmth of the sun, for the stir 
of life, for honest toil that wins food and rest. 

Response: We praise God for the day. 

Leader: For the earth which sustains our life; for the mountains, 
the canyons, and deserts; for the beauty of the fields and flow- 
ers and trees. 

Response: We praise God for the earth. 

Leader: For the sky, for the shifting clouds, for the glory of 
sunrise and sunset which fills our hearts with the glory of 
God. 

Response: We praise God for the sky. 

Leader: For the shelter of our homes; for fathers and mothers 
who provide for us; for brothers and sisters who share our life; 
for the salvation of Jesus Christ which makes us brothers and 
sisters in the family of God. 

Response: We praise God for our homes. 

Leader: For friends who have exalted us by their trust, encour- 
aged us by their love, and enriched our lives by sharing their 
confidence and love. 

Response: We praise God for our friends. 

Singing of Hymn: Work for the Night Is Coming 

Address 

Singing of Hymn: Thy Word Is Like a Garden 

Sermon: Life — A Gift of God. Genesis 1:29,30 

Prayer of Dedication: (All who have brought seed, or garden 
tools, to come before minister, to dedicate their labor to God) 

Singing of Hymn: The Beautiful Garden of Prayer 

Benediction 

Gifts of Seed Packets: A portion of its return is to be given to 
God through the Church, whether flowers or vegetables. 



15 



Agriculture and God's Providence 

So agriculture is an exhibit of God's Providence. It is a doctrine 
frequendy forgotten in these days of industry and engineering; 
but no countryman can forget that it is God who provides. He 
knows how litde man does, how much God reserves to his other 
creatures, the sun and the rain, and the tiny beings who make the 
living soil. 

There are today two agricultures striving for the world's ap- 
proval. One is bold and commercial. It denies the religious mes- 
sage of the plough and refuses to the ploughman his passion for 
his land. The other is a tillage of faith, which fears not sweat, 
dripping over the eyes like tears, because of the oldest of all 
faith, the conviction that God will provide. 

— From a Rural Life Sunday Message 
by the late Warren H. Wilson. 



The Rains Have Come 

The rains have come! 

For days and weeks and months 

The earth, dry, parched, 

Has opened wide her mouth toward a brazen sky. 

The sun, a fiery orb, 

Has mercilessly run his daily course, 

Giving no heed to the panting earth. 

But at long last, in blessing, 

Soft raindrops, one by one, 

The parched earth caress; 

And throbbing, sobbing, 

The glad, good earth revives, 

And bursts forth in a grateful song of praise. 

The rains have come! 

— Emma K. Ziegler 
Anklesvar, India. — From the Gospel Messenger, October 7, 1939. 

16 



Prayer for the Land 

(A member of the Council on the Christian Faith and the Common Life 
[Oxford, England], who felt the need of "a prayer for the land for all who 
are engaged in agriculture," has prepared the petition that follows.) 

We beseech thee, gracious Lord God, to remember Thy servants 
in all country places who labor to cultivate and make fertile the 
land. Give them in all times a patient and reverent devotion to 
their high calling. Strengthen them with hope to meet all the 
hazards, trials and frustrations of war and weather, Bless their 
labor with fruitfulness. Refresh their toil with thy goodness. 

Almighty and all loving Lord who hast given for our use the 
kindly fruits of the earth that we may enjoy them, grant us, with 
minds that worship Thee, to realize our dependence upon these 
Thy gifts. Give us a deep sense of our stewardship. May we labor 
to cultivate the earth with hope and humility, with enterprise and 
energy, without grudging and without greed. Make us good 
neighbors one of another. Stir up in us a kindly management and 
understanding of all beasts and birds, domestic and wild, among 
whom we work, remembering that by Thy hand we and they 
and the whole earth were and are created. Amen. 



Prayer in Spring 

O God, Maker of the holy earth, Giver of every gift that blesses 
mankind, we thank Thee for Thy love to us in seed and blossom, 
in fruit and grain, in human friendships, joys and affections. 
Grant that from the winter of our present pain and sorrow there 
may burst forth a verdant and more glorious earth. As partakers 
and stewards of Thy bounty, may we never deprive any man of 
the share Thou hast provided for him of earth's wealth and bless- 
ings. As Jesus taught us, may we be brothers and servants of all. 
Amen. 

R. E. DlFFENDORFER 

From The Pastor's Journal, May, 1943. 



The Country Church 

In some great day 
The country church 
Will find its voice 
And it will say: 

I stand in the fields 

Where the wide earth yields 

Her bounties of fruit and of grain, 

Where the furrows turn 

Till the plowshares burn 

As they come round and round again: 

Where the workers pray 

With their tools all day 

In sunshine and shadow and rain. 

And I bid them tell 

Of the crops they sell 

And speak of the work they have done; 

I speed ev'ry man 

In his hope and plan 

And follow his day with the sun; 

And grasses and trees 

The birds and the bees 

I know and I feel ev'ry one. 

And out of it all 

As the seasons fall 

I build my great temple alway: 

I point to the skies, 

But my footstone lies 

In commonplace work of the day; 

For I preach the worth 

Of the native earth, — 

To love and to work is to pray. 

— Liberty Hyde Bailey 
(Used by permission of the author) 



r8 



CHAPTER II 
RURAL LIFE AND ROGATION SUNDAYS 



An Order of Service for Rural Life Sunday 

Order of Service for Rogationtide and 

Blessing of the Fields 

A Burmese Day of Prayer for the Cultivator 
and His Crops 



THE ORIGIN OF RURAL LIFE SUNDAY 

Rural life Sunday, the fifth after Easter, which has its roots 
in the Rogation Days, is a day set apart for emphasizing 
the meaning of Christianity for rural life; for the invocation of 
God's blessing upon the seed, the fruits of the soil, and the culti- 
vators of the earth; for the consideration of justice for agriculture 
and the spiritual values of rural life. It was first observed in 1929, 
at the suggestion of the International Association of Agricultural 
Missions, and according to plans adopted by the Home Missions 
Council and the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in 
America, and many religious bodies. 

HOW TO OBSERVE RURAL LIFE SUNDAY 

Both rural and city churches observe Rural Life Sunday. Each 
type of church may invite the other to share in some of the services. 
Parishes consisting of several churches in a circuit or yoked field 
should make it a parish day for all services and a dinner on the 
grounds. Country and city pastors might exchange pulpits on this 
day. Local agricultural organizations, such as 4-H Clubs, Future 
Farmers, Farm Bureau, Grange and Farmers' Union, are often 
willing to attend and share in the services. A rural play or pageant 
may be substituted for the suggested discussion groups in the eve- 
ning. In certain states 4-H Clubs are especially interested in Rural 
Life Sunday. There has also been an observance of 4-H Club 
Sunday in some states on the Sixth Sunday after Easter. 



19 



An Order of Service for Rural Life Sunday 1 

Prelude 

Call to Worship: Sing unto the Lord a new song, and His praise 
from the ends of the earth; for while the earth remaineth, seed- 
time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, 
and day and night shall not cease. 

Invocation: O Lord of sunshine and storm, seedtime and harvest, 
grant us, we beseech Thee this day, the blessing of Thy pres- 
ence. We remember Thy sons and daughters of all lands who 
sow and till, that Thy children may be fed. As we wait upon 
Thee may we understand Thy divine plan of life and growth 
and may our souls be blessed with a renewal of faith and hope 
in the harvest of Thy truth in the lives of men. Amen. 

Hymn: Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee 

Prayer of Confession (In unison): O Lord our God, we come 
in humility confessing our sins and shortcomings. We pray Thy 
forgiveness. We repent of our hardness of heart and our un- 
fruitful lives. We have not lived in complete trust and love 
within our families and community. We have wasted the virgin 
strength of the soil Thou didst entrust to us. We have not 
carefully husbanded the good seed. Thy abundant world of 
nature lies all about us, yet we have been slow to learn the 
secrets of Thy holy earth. Deep furrows, seeds of promise, the 
discipline of patient waiting, and the sacrificial gifts which are 
the fruit of growth all bear Thy message. Yet we have not given 
heed. We have not trusted in the growth of Thy Kingdom 
through every storm and trial. Lead us, O God, forward into 
a world whose pulse and beat will be the unhurried rhythm of 
growth, and root our lives deep in the soil of Thy ever-growing 
Kingdom. In Jesus' name. Amen. 

1 Prepared for the Committee on Town and Country by Ralph and Mary Heald 
Williamson, Ithaca, N. Y. 



20 



Silent Prayer 
The Lord's Prayer 

Anthem or Solo: That Cause Can Neither Be Lost Nor Stayed 

Minister: Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving; sing praise 

upon the harp unto our God. 
Response: Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth 

rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the moun- 
tains. 
Minister: He watereth the hills from His chambers, the earth is 

satisfied with the fruit of Thy works. 
Response: He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb 

for the service of man; that he may bring forth food out of 

the earth. 
Minister: For the seed shall be prosperous; the vine shall give 

her fruit, and the ground shall give her increase, 
Response: And the heavens shall give their dew; and I will cause 

the remnant of this people to possess all these things. 
Minister: And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, 

and the water of affliction, 
Response: Yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner 

any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers: 
Minister: And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, 
Response: This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the 

right hand, and when ye turn to the left. 
Minister: Then shall He give the rain of thy seed, that thou 

shalt sow the ground withal; and bread of the increase of the 

earth, 
Response: And it shall be fat and plenteous; in that day shall 

thy cattle feed in large pastures. 
Minister: For thus saith the Lord to the men of Judah and 

Jerusalem, break up your fallow ground, and sow not among 

thorns. 
Response: Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat 

fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, 

it bringeth forth much fruit. 



21 



New Testament Lesson: Mark 4: 26-32; 3-9 

Silent Meditation 

Pastoral Prayer and Choral Response 

Offering, Offertory, and Choral Response 

Children's Story or Sermon 

Hymn: We Plough the Fields and Scatter 

Sermon 

Prayer 

Hymn: O Beautiful for Spacious Skies 

Silent Meditation (Seated) 

Benediction and Choral Response 

Postlude 

C Suggested sermon topics: The Christ of the Countryside, God 
Giveth the Increase, The Storm and the Seed, The Seed and the 
Sower, In God's Garden, God and the Good Earth, The Holy 
Earth, The Seed and the Soil, The Unplowed Furrow, The Urge 
of the Seed, Those Who Sow. 

C Suggested texts: Gen. 1:1, In the beginning God created; 
Hosea 10: 12, Break up your fallow ground; John 10: n, I am 
the good shepherd; John 15: 5, I am the vine, ye are the branches; 
Luke 9: 62, No man, having put his hand to the plow and look- 
ing back, is fit for the Kingdom; Psalms 1:3, And he shall be 
like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his 
fruit in his season; John 12: 24, Except a corn of wheat fall into 
the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth 
forth much fruit; 1 Cor. 3:7, So then neither is he that planteth 
any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the 
increase. 

C Other suggested hymns: Break Thou the Bread of Life; 
Fairest Lord Jesus; For the Beauty of the Earth; God of the Earth, 



22 



the Sky, the Sea; O Lord of Heaven and Earth and Sea; God 
Who Touchest Earth with Beauty; This Is My Father's World; 
When Morning Gilds the Skies; Yes, God Is Good: In Earth and 
Sky; God That Madest Earth and Heaven. 



Order of Service for Rogationtide and 
Blessing of the Fields 

This service, prepared for Lutheran Churches in America, was 
published in 1938 by the Board of Publication of the United 
Lutheran Church in America, and is used by their permission. 

INTROIT 

Minister: The eyes of all wait upon Thee, O Lord; and Thou 
givest them their meat in due season. 

Thou openest Thine hand; and satisfiest the desire of every 
living thing. 

People: O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon His Name; 
make known His deeds among the people. Alleluia. 
Glory be to the Father . . . 

Collect: O Lord God, our Father, by Whose loving provision 
the wide reaches of the earth bring forth food for man and 
beast: Withhold not, we beseech Thee, Thy open and sustain- 
ing hand, but bless the fields and farms, the hills and vales, 
the trees and grass, that nature may bring forth her fruits in 
due season, and men may take of Thy gifts for themselves and 
for the humble beasts which serve them; through Jesus Christ, 
Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and 
the Holy Ghost, One God, world without end. Amen. 

Old Testament Lesson: Deuteronomy 28: 2—9 

Epistle: n Corinthians 9: 6—12 

Gradual: To do good and to communicate forget not: for with 
such sacrifices God is well pleased. 



23 



He that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life 
everlasting. 
Alleluia! Alleluia! Praise ye the Lord. Alleluia! 

Gospel: Matthew 6: 16-21, 24-34 

General Prayer: Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, we, Thine 
unworthy servants, do give Thee most humble and hearty thanks 
for all Thy goodness. 

O Everlasting God, Who art the eternal Fountain and only 
Giver of life: We bless Thee that we may again behold on every 
side awakened nature; and as Thou dost cheer our spirits with 
the fresh grass and new green trees and plants, grant us thank- 
ful hearts to praise Thee for the promise of Thy renewed pro- 
vision for our body and life, and an abiding trust in Thy 
unchanging love now and eternally; through Jesus Christ, our 
Lord. 

O Lord, give Thy blessing, we pray Thee, to our daily work, 
that we may do it in faith and heartily, as to the Lord and not 
unto men. All our powers of body and mind are Thine, and 
we earnestly devote them to Thy service. Sanctify them, and 
the work in which they are engaged; let us not be slothful, 
but fervent in spirit; and do Thou, O Lord, so bless our efforts, 
that they may bring forth in us the fruits of true wisdom. Give 
us this day our daily bread, that we may be nourished in our 
body. Give us this day Thy Holy Spirit, that we may be nour- 
ished in our soul. Give us this day grace to use every oppor- 
tunity of service, that we may live to Thy praise; through Jesus 
Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee 
and the Holy Ghost, One God, world without end. Amen. 

The Lord's Prayer 

Hymns 

Processional Hymn: Praise My Soul the King of Heaven 

versicles: (Responsive) 
Minister: I was glad when they said unto Me: 
People: Let us go into the house of the Lord. 



2 .4 



Minister: Peace be within thy walls. 
People: And prosperity within thy palaces. 
Minister: O praise the Lord, all ye nations: 
People: Praise Him, all ye people. Alleluia! 
Glory be to the Father . . . 

Psalmody: Psalm 107: 31-43 (read responsively) 

Hymn: For the Beauty of the Earth 

Lessons: First Lesson — Joel 2: 21—26 

Second Lesson — Philippians 1 : 2—1 1 
Third Lesson — Matthew 13: 24—30 

G Respond after First and Second Lessons; choir number af- 
ter Third Lesson. 

Hymn: Thy Word, O Lord, Like Gentle Dews 

Minister: Let us pray. 

O Lord God, Who hast made Thy Church a Vineyard of 
Thine own planting, and Thy Precious Word the Seed of Life 
therein: For all Thy husbandmen we beseech Thy grace faith- 
fully to labor therein and to sow Thy Seed; for all Thy plants 
we beseech the Dew of Thy Spirit and the Nourishment of 
the Sun of Righteousness that they may be fruitful in faith 
and every good work; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord. 

We beseech Thee, O Lord, have mercy upon all those who 
labor in the cultivation of the earth, and grant that by the 
power of Thy Grace both their own souls and their labors 
may be fruitful; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. 

Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, Who dost feed the 
birds and clothe the flowers, and Who carest for us as a father 
doth for his children: We beseech Thee, graciously guard us 
against distrust and vain overcarefulness, and help us, through 
Thy Holy Spirit, to live to the hallowing of Thy Name, the 
coming of Thy Kingdom, and the doing of Thy Will; so that 
we may cast all our care on Thee and in unwavering faith 
abide trustingly in Thee; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our 



Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, 
One God, world without end. Amen. 

(L Then shall Minister and Congregation go in procession to the 
Grove or to the Fields, where the remainder of this Service shall 
be conducted. A Processional Hymn may be sung. However, 
should the weather be inclement, this Service may be concluded 
as hereinafter appointed in the church. 

Processional Hymn: Praise to the Lord, the Almighty 

Address 

Offering: For a definite Cause or Object. (Choir numbers per- 
missive here) 

PRECES 

Minister: Praise ye the Lord! 

People: O give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness. 

Minister: Bless this year for us, O our God: 

People: We beseech Thee to hear us. 

Minister: Bestow a blessing upon the face of the earth. 

People: And satisfy us with Thy goodness. 

Minister: Grant to all who labor trust in Thy good provision 

and contentment with Thy ordering: 
People: We beseech Thee to hear us. 
Minister: Bless our hearts, that in thankfulness we may render 

Thee praise, and joyfully share with others the blessings of Thy 

bounty: 
People: We beseech Thee to hear us. 
Minister: O bless our years; make them good years: 
People: That we may walk before Thee in faith and love all 

the days of our life. 
Minister: Bless the Lord, O my soul: 
People: Praise be to God. Amen. 

Our Father, Who art in heaven. . . . 

Hymn: On What Has Now Been Sown 
Benediction 



26 



A Burmese Day of Prayer for the Cultivator 
and His Crops 

Order of Service for Morning Worship 

Call to Worship: Let everything that hath breath praise the 
Lord. 

Hymn 

Prayer (to be said by all): 

Almighty and everlasting God, Ruler of the Universe, Who 
hast commanded us to till the land with our labour for the 
support of mankind and the sustenance of the body, we humbly 
beseech Thee that Thou wouldst graciously look upon whatso- 
ever good seed is sown or planted in the fields; give us tem- 
perate weather, make the crops plentiful, and grant that they 
may arrive at full perfection, that we Thy servants, thankfully 
receiving the abundant fruit of Thy gift, may pay due and 
acceptable praise to Thy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. 
Amen. 

The Lord's Prayer (to be said by all) 

Responsive Reading: Psalm 65 

Choir 

C Let the Minister and the congregation say: 

Minister: For the beauty and richness of the earth on which we 
live — 

People: We give thanks unto Thee, O God. 

Minister: For those who, in rain and shine, till the fields for us — 

People: We give thanks unto Thee, O God. 

Minister: For the privilege we have of being part of that great 
company of faithful men and women who lived their lives in 
village and country — 

People: We give thanks unto Thee, O God. 

Minister: We remember John the Baptist, the wilderness preach- 
er, for his faith and courage — 



27 



People: We give thanks unto Thee, O God. 

Minister: For the lowly Jesus, Who was born in a stable — 

People: We give thanks unto Thee, O God. 

Minister: We are glad that Jesus was a village boy. 

People: O Lord, bless all village boys and girls. 

Minister: Jesus knew about and loved seeds and flowers and 

trees. 
People: Help us to understand them too, and to make the earth 

more beautiful by planting and caring for them. 
Minister: Jesus called His disciples from the roads and lake and 

villages of Galilee. 
People: O Lord, call disciples today from the roads and fields 

and rivers of Burma. 
Minister: Jesus preached to village people from lake and hillside. 
People: O God, bless the village preachers of Burma and all 

village Christians. 
Minister: Jesus is the Good Shepherd and cares for his sheep. 
People: Help us, O Lord, to love all men and minister to those 

who need our help. 
Minister: At the last, Jesus prayed in a garden, suffered death 

on a hill top and arose from the dead in a garden. 
People: O Christ, Who art the true Gardener of all the earth, 

look on us with mercy, help us to grow in Thy love and give 

us eternal life. Amen. 

Pastoral Prayer 

Scripture Lesson: Deut. 28: 1-6; St. Mark 4: 1—9. 

Sermon 

Offering 

Hymn 

Benediction 



28 



Rural Life Collect 

O Thou, our Everliving Creator, who in the springtime makest 
the trees to bud and blossom; Grant unto Thy children a spring- 
time of the soul in which our spirits flower in the radiant beauty 
of their Creator that all men may be drawn into the fellowship 
of the living truth which is found in our Master, Jesus Christ our 
Lord. Amen. 

— Robert Irving Howland 



Rural Life Sunday Prayer 

Great Father, Creator of all, we thank Thee for the earth and 
its fullness. We treasure the good earth, the work of Thy hands; 
the fields of grain, our pastures, our gardens and lawns. For the 
fertility of the soil nurtured by Thy changing seasons, we are 
thankful. We praise Thee for the land upon which we live. 

Grant, O God, that we may never we unmindful of Thy gift 
of the earth where we dwell. Lead us at the rising of the sun to 
lift our faces in praise to Thee for the soil and what it affords us. 
May we continually enjoy the earth. 

Make our hands clean and our hearts pure that we may please 
Thee and be good neighbors to those who share this great dwell- 
ing. In the name of Jesus. Amen. 



Rural Life Sunday Prayer 

Father of all creatures both great and small, we acknowledge 
Thy wonderful plan of life. We praise Thee for letting the earth 
bring forth its living creatures according to their kind. We pause 
to marvel at the work of Thy hands — the kingdom of animals. 
The earth is full of thy living riches. Make us worthy keepers of 
the farm animals. In the name of the Good Shepherd of the 
sheep. . Amen. 

29 



The Eleventh Commandment 

XI. Thou shalt inherit the holy earth as a faithful steward, 
conserving its resources and productivity from generation to gen- 
eration. Thou shalt protect thy fields from soil erosion and thy 
hills from overgrazing by thy herds, so that thy descendants may 
have abundance forever. If any shall fail in this stewardship of the 
land, his fertile fields shall become sterile stones and gullies, and 
his descendants shall decrease and live in poverty or vanish from 
the face of the earth. 

— Walter C. Lowdermilk 



That Cause Can Never Be Lost' 

Danish Folk Tune 

That cause can never be lost or stay'd 
Which takes the course of what God hath made, 
And is not trusting in walls and towers, 
But slowly growing from seed to flowers. 

Each noble service that men have wrought 
Was first conceived as a fruitful thought; 
Each worthy cause, with a future glorious, 
By quietly growing becomes victorious. 

Thereby itself like a tree it shows; 
That high it reaches, as deep it grows; 
And when the storms are its branches shaking, 
It deeper root in the soil is taking. 

Be then no more by a storm dismayed, 
For by it the full-grown seeds are laid; 
And through the tree by its might it shatters, 
What then if thousands of seeds it scatters? 



1 From World of Song. Copyright 1941. Danish American Young People's 
League. Grandview College, Des Moines, Iowa. Used by permission. 



3 



CHAPTER III 



HARVEST FESTIVALS AND SERVICES 



First Fruits' Service 

Thanksgiving at Kambini 

A Harvest Festival Sunday in North China 

An Order of Service for a Harvest Festival 

A Litany of the Harvest 



T~<rom the dawn of Hebrew agricultural life to the present day, 
-*- one of the most popular and widely observed occasions of 
worship and praise is the Harvest Thanksgiving. It is finding 
rich expression in many lands, and the examples given in this 
chapter are excellent gleanings from a field where there may be 
in the future a great harvest of beautiful and inspiring experi- 
ences of worship. 



31 



First Fruits' Service 

Order of Service and Outline of Sermon used at a First Fruits' 
Service at Lassa Station of Church of the Brethren Mission in 
Nigeria, Africa. 

C. Each family of the village has cut a number of ripened heads 
of early kaffir corn. These are brought to the church. Some may 
have maize ears for this ripens about the same time. Some repre- 
sentative of the family holds these until a certain time in the 
service. Then they are brought forward and placed before the 
altar. 

Call to Worship: 
Oh, come let us worship and bow down; 
Let us kneel before the Lord, our maker: 

For He is our God, 
And we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand. 
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; 
Let us make a joyful noise unto Him with psalms. 

Congregation Sings Softly: 
God is in His Holy Temple, 
Let all the earth keep silence, keep silence, 
Before Him. Amen. 

All Pray Together: The Lord's Prayer 

Congregation Sings two Hymns: 
All People That on Earth Do Dwell, and 
Let Us All Assemble Here (An African Tune) 



(mm i r 



1. God has said we should a -rise 

2. All of you who are true men 

3. Let us real - ly put our faith 

4. Sons of men, let us re - pent 



3 2 



We should leave all e - vil things 
All he who loves Je - sus, too 
In Je - sus the right - eous one 
We will then our wor - ship give 



| g J ' r i i r i 



Let us all as - sem - ble here. 
Let him leave all e-vil things. (Repeat for 

He will save us, ev' - ry one. Chorus) 

Un - to Je - sus Lord of All. 

Scripture Reading: The Ten Commandments and Psalm 23 

C In scripture reading the congregation repeats each verse after 
the minister. 

PRESENTATION OF FIRST FRUITS 

C The minister asks that the first fruits be brought forward and 
placed before the altar. It is suggested that as each one lay his 
grain before the altar that they remember that it is an offering to 
God. It is their acknowledgment that the entire crop is God's and 
that He has graciously given us this for our food. When all has 
been brought forward and the people have returned to their 
places in the church all then bow forward and softly clap their 
hands. Then an audible prayer is offered, by the African evangelist: 

Prayer: God, our Father, behold we are here with great joy be- 
fore You. We have come with corn from our farms; corn which 
has already ripened. We have come to acknowledge that it is 
Your corn for You have given it to us. The day on which we 
planted the seed no one could surely tell that there would be a 
harvest. We did not know whether we would see ripened grain 
or not. Some said, "We will not eat this year for the rains are 
too late." Others said, "The grasshoppers will destroy the crops." 



33 



But even though we had misgivings in our hearts we did plant 
in faith. We trusted in You, our Father and our God. You sent 
us the sun and a sufficient amount of rain. You gave us strength 
of body to cultivate our fields. Now we will have a plentiful 
harvest. We shall eat. The time of hunger is past. Our Father, 
You are very good to us. Thank You, our living and watchful 
Father. We pray in the name of Jesus, Your Son. Amen. 

Hymn: We Give Thee Thanks, O God, This Day (Dominus 
Regit Me). This is a song to the above tune especially written 
for this service. 

Sermon: The minister then reads Mark 4: 26—27 an< ^ preaches 
a sermon of which the following is an outline: 

1. The Reason for this Service 

a) To thank God for answer to our prayers and rewarding 
our efforts. We pray, Give us this day our daily bread. He 
has given. The fear of hunger is past. These first fruits are 
an assurance that a full harvest will follow. 

b) To remind us again of our complete dependence upon 
God. We are His. The harvest is His, not our own. We 
bring these first fruits to His altar to make this acknowl- 
edgment. 

2. The Good Earth 

a) The earth is good. It is God's greatest blessing to us. We 
depend upon it entirely for our physical existence. Food 
comes from our farms or from the trees which grow in the 
earth. Cotton for our clothing — clay for our houses — grass 
for thatching — iron for our hoes — the earth is the source of 
all. Rightly the earth is called Mother Earth for she sustains 
us. 

3. God's Part and Our Part 

God has given us the earth. He, the Father God, has put 
life in the seed. He has sent the sun and the rain. He has 
given us life and health and the strength with which to 
work. Our part is to use the strength that God has given to 



34 



cultivate. Although our part is the smaller part, it is an es- 
sential part. What a glorious thing to be a farmer working 
with God and His earth! 

4. Our Farms are Miracles 

Jesus wants us to learn spiritual lessons from our farms 
and our farming experience. 

a) God's kingdom is like a farm. Our community here is 
God's farm. We have seen the seed planted. We have seen 
it begin to grow. We have had to cultivate and keep the 
wickedness out. We have seen the harvest time in God's 
farm, too. We have seen people give their hearts to God 
and become His followers. This is ripened grain gathered 
into the garner of God. As we rejoice greatly to bring 
ripened grain into our compounds today, so God rejoices, 
but with even a greater joy, when anyone chooses to follow 
Him. 

b) God's farm must be extended. Every true farmer as his 
family increases and his children grow must clear new land 
and enlarge his farm. There is no African who does not 
wish to enlarge his family in this way. Likewise God wishes 
that all our tribe and all the tribes shall be His farm and 
all the people like ripened grain be safely gathered as His 
followers. But our efforts are essential if this is to come to 
pass. He calls us to go into other villages and to make 
friends with the people and sow the seed which is His 
Word and His Truth. Let every one consider in his heart 
the part that he can do in thus extending God's farm. 

Hymn: Jesus Shall Reign Where'er the Sun 

Prayer and Benediction 



35 



Thanksgiving at Kambini 

Possibly nowhere in Africa has finer work been done in making 
rural Christian worship vital in the lives of the simple farmer 
folk than at Kambini, Portuguese East Africa. This account of 
a thanksgiving service is by the Rev. Julian S. Rea, missionary 
of the Methodist Mission at Kambini. 

C Our Kambini Harvest Festival or Thanksgiving service is four- 
teen years old; every year there comes the impulse to tell it abroad 
and to witness to the abundance of their joy. We ought to know 
about what to expect now, but every year we are amazed at the 
riches of their liberality — the fruits of self-giving. 

This year Pastor Gideon Jamella set the date for their service 
especially early because crops had been poor and the people were 
beginning already to eat up their scant harvest. The week pre- 
vious to the service everybody was extremely busy with the Kam- 
bini Fair and Exhibition of school work and activities. From 
early morning until midnight we were practicing for dramas, 
making posters, getting out all the material needed in the com- 
petitive showing of fruits, grains, vegetables, all sorts of hand 
work and even a little live stock. On Friday noon the prizes were 
awarded and the crowds dispersed, but there was still the cleaning 
up to do, and packing things away for another year. 

Even Saturday found everybody busy, so that the decorating 
of the church was left till early Sunday morning. When I went 
down to help with that I found only the older boys of the Student 
Volunteer Band, for the evangelists (village pastors in training) 
had gone out through the countryside to gather people in for the 
service. Nothing gives me more joy than helping arrange fruit 
and flowers about the altar and through the church in such a 
way as to make more evident the glory and beauty of His pres- 
ence. Around the top of each of the twelve pillars we placed a 
crown of the beautiful wild gladiolas — growing out of a giant 
wreath of miscellaneous flowers and branches. Trailing runners of 
the lacy African clematis completed the effect of natural growth 
and beauty. 

The altar rail was richly hung with yellow corn and clusters of 
golden oranges. Bundles of rice, big pumpkins, sweet potato vines, 

36 



bunches of bananas and mandioca plants had places of honor 
around the front of the church so that one could not forget that 
this was our harvest service. 

Helping transform our big impressive sanctuary into a garden 
of beauty had warmed my heart, but still as we knelt for the 
opening prayer my thought was one of personal condemnation. 
Had we not all spent too much time with the exhibits and agri- 
cultural show of the past week? Could this possibly be as fine 
as the services in other years? But the preacher started out by 
using the Moses drama which had been the crowning success of 
the exhibition as his text for the morning. Thus all that had gone 
before was brought into the right perspective with the task at 
hand and the service went on to its beautiful climax, the bringing 
of the tithes and offerings. 

In the universally loved story, "Why the Chimes Rang," a sad 
thing happens. The great and the rich and even the mass of the 
people gave without entering into the joy. It was only when the 
little lad from the lonely farm crept up unnoticed and dropped 
his gift of love that the chimes pealed forth — too late for the 
others. Pastor Jamella did a strange yet a wonderful thing this 
year. He called first on the student evangelists who lead classes 
out in the heathen kraals. They and their people came to the altar 
— group after group. Old grannies, little children, mothers with 
babies on their backs, and grown men, each brought gifts and 
poured them out to the Lord. As the piles of corn, peanuts and 
beans grew, the joy in our hearts increased. When some of these 
groups emerging for a day at least from their darkness sang, It 
is Jesus, He is the One. Come to Him; He saves just now, some 
of our gifts were baptized with tears. We waited our turn for 
nearly an hour while they came each and every one with a vol- 
untary gift — not to some ancestor they greatly feared, not to 
appease an evil spirit but as an offering of thanksgiving. 

Do you wonder that when opportunity was given to the regu- 
lar Kambini congregation to give, that the gifts poured out to an 
accompaniment of heavenly chimes, joy bells ringing in our hearts! 
Never have we had such joy in giving. All declared the service 
to be the best of all the years. 



37 



Yes, it was a real harvest festival. The crops of corn had been 
poor and peanuts almost a failure, but there had been other plant- 
ings and those had not failed. 

Last season when famine faced this section, our Kambini con- 
gregation was generous in their aid to people all about here. They 
not only preached soul salvation but they helped the people to 
get sweet potato plants and mandioca cuttings. In November they 
took money out of their treasury and bought seed to give their 
friends in the kraals. True, this seed gave only a poor yield, yet 
did it? 

No high pressure preaching mission would have brought those 
non-christian villagers into God's sanctuary to give true thanks. No 
amount of pleading in our own congregation could have brought 
forth such generous giving. But because they first gave them- 
selves, the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded 
unto the riches of their liberality. 



A Harvest Festival Sunday in North China 

C This service was held at the Ankechuang Methodist Church in 
Hopei, North China, on October 20, 1946, under the direction of 
Pastor T'ao and Mrs. Chang, the worker among the women of 
the parish. In preparation, these two leaders travelled on bicycles 
to the Christian homes in all the surrounding villages, informing 
all the people about plans for the service. 

The worship service was held at the church at ten o'clock. Be- 
fore this hour, many of the people had brought in their contribu- 
tions and had placed them around the altar of the church. Around 
the pulpit were arranged 48 sacks of corn, beans, rice, and millet, 
each with a little paper pennant in a cleft bamboo stick announc- 
ing the name of the giver. Similarly, bunches of radishes, turnips, 
and ears of corn were marked and hung near the altar. Baskets 
of squash, sweet potatoes, and firm sweet cabbage were arranged 
along the wall behind the pulpit. Pink envelopes contained the 
cash contributions of the town folk who had no gardens from 



38 



which to contribute the fruits of the earth. In all, the people had 
brought in fruits and vegetables to the value of $170, and cash to 
the amount of $30, all of which was used for the benevolences of 
the congregation. 

The service was as follows: 

Congregational singing of hymns of Thanksgiving 

Responsive Bible readings 

Music by the Women of the Church 

Testimonies about the material and spiritual blessings of God, by 
many members of the congregation 

Music by the Children of the Church 

Thanksgiving message by a Missionary, specially invited for the 
service 

Music by Young Men of the Church 

Dedication of the Gifts 

Music 

Benediction 



An Order of Service for a Harvest Festival 

This Order of Service follows in large part one that has been 
used by the congregations of the Moravian Church in America. 
It is printed in the Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian 
Church (Unitas Fratrum), and is used with permission. 

Prelude 

Hymn: (St. Thomas s.m.) 

Stand up, and bless the Lord, 

Ye people of His choice; 
Stand up, and bless the Lord your God, 

With heart, and soul, and voice. 



39 



God is our strength and song, 

And His salvation ours; 
Then be His love in Christ proclaimed 

With all our ransomed powers. 

Minister: Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His 

courts with praise; be thankful unto Him, and bless His name. 
People: For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His 

truth endureth to all generations. 
Minister: All Thy works shall praise Thee, O Lord, and Thy 

saints shall bless Thee. 
People: They shall abundantly utter the memory of Thy great 

goodness, and sing of Thy righteousness. 

Hymn: (Nun Danket) 

To Thee, O God, we raise 

Our voice, in choral singing; 
To come with prayer and praise, 

Our hearts' oblations bringing. 
Thou art our fathers' God, 

And ever shalt be ours; 
Our lips and lives shall laud 

Thy name, with all our powers. 

(L Here shall the congregation be seated. 

Minister: The Lord said in His heart: While the earth remain- 
ed!, seed-time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and 
winter, and day and night, shall not cease. Hath He said, and 
shall He not do it? Or hath He spoken, and shall He not make 
it good? He sendeth forth His commandment upon earth: His 
word runneth very swiftly; He giveth snow like wool: He 
scattereth the hoar-frost like ashes. He casteth forth His ice like 
morsels; who can stand before His cold? He sendeth forth His 
word and melteth them: He causeth His wind to blow, and 
the waters flow. He prepareth rain for the earth, and maketh 
it soft with showers, and blesseth the springing thereof. He 



40 



cause th the grass to grow for the cattle, and herbs for the 
service of man, that He may bring forth food out of the earth. 
Let us fear the Lord our God, Who giveth us the former and 
the latter rain in its season, and reserveth unto us the appointed 
weeks of harvest. 
People: O Lord, how manifold are Thy works! In wisdom hast 
Thou made them all: the earth is full of Thy riches. 

Hymn: (Pleyel's Hymn) 

Praise to God, immortal praise, 

For the love that crowns our days! 

Bounteous source of every joy, 

Let Thy praise our tongues employ. 

All the blessings of the fields, 

All the stores the garden yields, 
All to Thee, our God, we owe, 

Source whence all our blessings flow. 

Minister: Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, 
bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not 
all His benefits. He redeemeth thy life from destruction, and 
crowneth thee with tender mercies. He hath not dealt with us 
after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. As 
the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward 
them that fear Him. 

People: He knoweth our frame and remembereth that we are 
dust. He openeth His hand, and satisfieth the desire of every 
living thing. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord 
pitieth them that fear Him. 

Minister: Blessed be God and the Father of our Lord, Jesus 
Christ, Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings. Labor 
not for the meat that perisheth, but for that which endureth 
unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto 
you. For He hath said: I am the Bread of Life. He that cometh 
unto Me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on Me shall 
never thirst. 



4i 



Anthem: This may be an appropriate hymn or anthem of har- 
vest or thanksgiving 

Scripture Lesson 

Pastoral Prayer 

Choral Response: (St. Catherine) 

Daily, O Lord, our prayers be said, 

As Thou hast taught, for daily bread; 

But not alone our bodies feed; 

Supply our fainting spirits' need! 

O Bread of life! from day to day, 

Be Thou our Comfort, Food, and Stay. 

Offering and Offertory 

Response 

Sermon 

C After the sermon the congregation shall rise, and remain 
standing, until the conclusion of the service. 

Minister: Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, 
and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, 
buy wine and milk without money and without price. The 
Spirit and the Bride say, Come. 

People: And let him that heareth say, Come. 

Minister: And let him that is athirst come. 

People: And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life 
freely. 

Hymn: (Regent Square) 

Thanks we give and adoration 

For the gospel's joyful sound; 
May the fruits of Thy salvation 

In our hearts and lives abound: 
King of Glory, King of Glory, 

Sway Thy scepter all around. 



42 



Glory be to God, the Father! 

Glory be to God, the Son! 
Glory be to God, the Spirit! 

Great Jehovah, Three in One. 
Glory, Glory, Glory, Glory, 

While eternal ages run. 



Benediction and Response 
Postlude 



A Litany of the Harvest 

This litany was prepared by the Rev. August E. Harris, 
Garberville, California, and was used in a Harvest Festival Ser- 
vice. During the use of the Litany, children, dressed in farm 
clothes, presented before the altar the various kinds of farm 
produce mentioned in the litany. 

Minister: For the bountiful supply of fruit Thou dost give unto 
us, for the fruit trees that lie dormant in the winter, and blos- 
som in the springtime, and bring forth their fruit in their 
season — 

People: We praise Thee, and thank Thee, O God. 

Minister: For the vegetables that supply us with food for our 
tables, for the gardens we have cultivated with our own hands — 

People: We praise Thee, and thank Thee, O God. 

Minister: For the farm animals that toil in our fields, and feed 
in our pastures, for the fowls that live in our barnyards and 
help to supply us with the necessities of life — 

People: We praise Thee, and thank Thee, O God. 

Minister: For the wool that is sheared from our sheep to make 
clothes and blankets for our warmth and comfort — 

People: We praise Thee, and thank Thee, O God. 

Minister: For the towering forest from which our wood and 
lumber is taken, and in the shade of which we find rest from 
the noonday heat — 



43 



People: W$ praise Thee, and thank Thee, O God. 

Minister: For the farmer's home, where the mother toils for the 
welfare of her children, and where the father finds rest from 
his daily work, where children learn their first lessons of life 
and love — 

People: We praise Thee, and thank Thee, O God. 

Minister: Dear Father in heaven, hear our prayers as we render 
unto Thee our thanks for our farms. We would thank Thee 
for the crops of the fields and orchards, and for the animals 
upon our farms. We would especially pray that Thou wouldst 
remember the farmers as they go about their daily work. Help 
them to realize that they are working in cooperation with Thee 
in the provision of food and raiment for life. In the name of 
our Saviour, Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen. 



Thanksgiving for Harvest 

Every tribe on earth is glad at harvest, and Christian people 
have special services of thanksgiving. Here are some thoughts on 
harvest and a prayer of thanksgiving for harvest. 

Every woman grinding the new grain on her stone is celebrating 
the goodness of God, who, by His secret power, and by the work 
of His servants, the sun and the rain, has created good bread for 
His children from the small seed of grain. Every basket of ground- 
nuts, every bag of rice, every cake of cassava or corn or millet, 
every loaf of wheat bread, is a keeping of the promises from God. 
In every language of man there are harvest songs; many such songs 
are found in the Book of Psalms. The child of God who sings a 
song of thanksgiving when he brings home the fruit of his plant- 
ing, and who thanks God in his prayer, is one of the great chorus 
of men who have thanked God for their harvests through the long 
years of time. 

prayer: O God, we rejoice and are glad because there is now a 
harvest in our fields. We know and we acknowledge that Thou 
hast opened Thy hand and Thy children are fed. Who but Thy- 



44 



self has brought our seed to fruit and to harvest? Thou hast kept 
Thine ancient promise to feed Thy people; may we keep our 
promise to serve Thee all our days. May our hands be quick to 
feed the poor and the stranger. May we be like Jesus, who shared 
with His friends and with the needy Thy honoured gifts of food 
and of drink. Amen. 

— Jean Mackenzie 



Than\s for Rain 
Thank God for the rain! 
The earth was cracked and dry. 
Our crops were burning up — 
The rice and wheat — both mainstays of our lives 
The wells were dry. At night 
Small groups stood around them, 
Drawing in scant cupfuls 
The last few drops. 
The air was hot and stifling, 
And listlessly we moved 
About the necessary tasks of life. 

Then — miracle — out of a hot dull sky 

Great thunderclouds arose. 

One muttering roar before the rain was on us. 

A breath of freshness, 

Then a roll of silver feet 

Across the arid fields and dusty trees. 

The birds, in sudden wakening 

All chirped and sang with feathers fluffed and spread. 

The earth took on a deep brown hue 

Of richness ready to be thrown abroad. 

All green things laughed in new sweet life. 

And we, with glowing hearts, 

Raised grateful hands to Heaven with — 

Thank God for the Rain! 

— -Margaret Steward 



45 



A Prayer During Harvest 

O God, our heavenly Father, who by Thy gracious providence 
hast made the earth to bring forth her fruits for our use in this 
Thine appointed time; we most humbly beseech Thee to bless 
this season, that the harvest Thou hast bestowed may be safely 
gathered in, for the comfort of Thy children, and the glory of 
Thy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

— The Book, of Common Order (Presbyterian) 



Thanksgiving for Harvest 

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, the fountain of all good- 
ness, who openest Thine hand and satisflest the desire of every 
living thing; we give Thee thanks and praise' that in Thy mercy 
Thou hast brought us through the circuit of another year, and 
that, according to Thy promise, seedtime and harvest have not 
ceased. We bless Thee that Thou hast crowned the year with 
Thy goodness, and hast bestowed upon us the kindTy fruits of the 
earth. We pray Thee to grant that we may receive them thank- 
fully and use them carefully, for our own comfort, for the relief 
of those that are needy, and for the glory of Thy name. Teach us 
to remember that it is not by bread alone that man doth live, and 
grant us evermore to feed on Him who is the true bread from 
heaven, even Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

— The Book, of Common Order (Presbyterian) 



Is there any prophet, any statesman, any leader who will — as 
Moses once led the Israelites out of the Egyptian bondage — excite 
the human imagination and lead humanity back to nature, to sun- 
light, starlight, earth-breath, sweet air, beauty, gaiety and health? 

— George W. Russell (AE) 

4 6 



CHAPTER IV 



RURAL LIFE DEDICATION SERVICES 



An Order for the Dedication of the Seed, 
the Soil, and the Sowers 

Rural Life Consecration Service 

A Service of Dedication to the Cause of Rural Life 

Dedication of a Tree 



'"It his is a series of services which may be used anywhere, and 
•*• they are designed to lead to a greater appreciation of the holy 
earth, its gifts and resources, and to a higher sense of the stew- 
ardship of the land, which has been entrusted to man. They are 
planned to lead to a new dedication of life to making the coun- 
tryside fully Christian. 



47 



An Order for the Dedication of the Seed, 
the Soil, and the Sowers 

By James William Sells 

C After an Organ Prelude a Processional or Opening Hymn shall 
be sung, such as, This Is My Father's World. Then shall the 
Minister say, the People standing and responding. 

Minister: Dearly Beloved, as we learn from the Scriptures, in 
the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and 
caused the sun to shine, the rain to fall, the plants to grow 
and the earth to give forth her increase. Then God said, let us 
make man in our image and let him have dominion over every- 
thing upon the earth. 

It is meet, right and our bounden duty to recognize God's 
ownership and His Providence in the fruition of the earth and 
the return of the seasons. He is the giver of life in the seed, 
in the soil, and in the sowers. 

We are, therefore, now assembled for the purpose of dedi- 
cating the seed that shall be planted, the soil that shall be culti- 
vated and the sowers that labor to the service of God and for 
the good of mankind. 

Minister: The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof; 

People: The world, and they that dwell therein. 

Minister: For He hath founded it upon the seas, 

People: And established it upon the floods. 

Minister: Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? 

People: Or who shall stand in His holy place? 

Minister: He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; 

People: Who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn 
deceitfully, 

Minister: He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and right- 
eousness from the God of his salvation, 

48 



People: This is the generation of them that seek Him, that seek 

Thy face, O Lord. 
Minister: Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lifted up, 

ye everlasting doors. 
People: And the King of glory shall come in. 
Minister: Who is this King of glory? 

People: The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in batde. 
Minister: Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye 

everlasting doors. 
People: And the King of glory shall come in. 
Minister: Who is this King of glory? 
People: The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory. 
The Gloria Patri may be said or sung: 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. 

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world 

without end. Amen. 

C Then shall the people be seated and the minister shall read a 
lesson from the New Testament. 

Minister: A sower went out to sow his seed. As he was sowing, 
some of the seed fell by the path and was trodden on, and the 
wild birds ate it up. And some of it fell upon the rock, and 
when it sprang up it withered, because it had no moisture. And 
some fell among the thorns, and the thorns grew up with it 
and choked it out. And some fell on good soil, and grew up 
and yielded a hundred fold. 

As He said this He called out, 

Let him who has ears to hear, listen! 

His disciples asked Him what this figure meant, and He 
said, 

You are permitted to know the secrets of the Kingdom of 
God, but they are given to others in the form of figures, so 
that they may look and yet not see, and hear and yet not 
understand. This is what the figure means. The seed is God's 
message. The ones by the path are those who hear, then the 
devil comes and carries off the message from their hearts, so 
that they may not believe it and be saved. The ones on the 



49 



rock are those who receive the message joyfully when they first 
hear it, but it takes no real root. They believe for a little while, 
and then in the time of trial they draw back. And what falls 
among the thorns means those who listen and pass on, and 
the worries and wealth and pleasures of life stifle them and 
they yield nothing. But the seed in the good soil means those 
who listen to the message and keep it in good, true hearts, and 
yield unfailingly. (Goodspeed's Translation) 



C Here may be offered an extemporary Prayer, followed by the 
Lord's Prayer. Then may be sung a suitable hymn, such as God, 
the Omnipotent! King, Who Ordainest, or an Anthem, after 
which the Sermon may be delivered. An Offering may then be 
received. 

Then shall the Minister say: Life is a unity and is a result of 
the co-operative activity of the trinity of God, man and nature. 
Without the gift of vital life, man and nature would not be 
able to produce food and complete the processes whereby man 
is sustained. Without man, God would not bring forth from 
nature that which glorifies Himself and brings companionship 
unto Him. Without nature, God and man would not have the 
structural basis for growth of human personality. This trinity 
is ever dependent one upon the other and this dependence is 
here today realized again and recognized for the humility of 
man and to the glory of God. Let us now consider our respon- 
sibilities: 

Then shall the person chosen present the seed, and he shall say: 
This seed is symbolic of the various types of seed that shall be 
planted in this community. When sown it shall bring forth 
fruit, food, and fibre, so that little children may eat and become 
strong, so that men and women shall be nurtured and nour- 
ished, so that the wheels of industry may turn and so that life 
may be maintained among both man and beast. This seed is 
holy, for it contains life, and all seed shall be counted as holy 
in the sight of God. It shall be planted in a spirit of reverence 



50 



and that which comes of it shall be cultivated and harvested in 
a true spirit of recognition and thankfulness, we being fully 
mindful of its high origin and destiny. 
Then shall the person chosen present soil of the earth and shall 
say: This soil is symbolic of the earth of this community in 
which seed shall be planted in hope and from which the har- 
vest shall be anticipated with joy. This soil, this earth, is the 
result of the creative activity of God. It was created by God for 
man and beast. It contains the minerals, salts, and fertilizers 
necessary to nourish the seed and bring forth sturdy *plants 
capable of producing food for both man and beast. This soil 
will be watered by the rains of God. It will be warmed by the 
sunshine of God. It will be as a home to the seed so that the 
seed and plants may develop and bring forth an abundant har- 
vest. This soil is holy earth and shall be cultivated and cared 
for as a gift of God. 

C Then shall the Minister receive the Seed and the Soil, lay them 
upon the Altar, and then place the open Bible upon them. 

The People shall stand and with the Minister say: And the Lord 
God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into 
his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. 

And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every 
tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; and the 
tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of 
knowledge of good and evil. 

Thus saith God the Lord, He that created the heavens, and 
stretched them out; He that spread forth the earth, and that 
which cometh out of it; He that giveth breath unto the people 
upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein; I the Lord have 
called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will 
keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, and for 
a light. 

In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, 
and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with 
God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not 

i_:<- i~.!i 5 1 

GOLU'ic OF * ■:.-.:.' . " ; 
tJSIVEKSITY IF t.!.- 



anything made that was made. In Him was life: and the life 
was the light of men. 

I am come that ye might have life, and that ye might have it 
more abundantly. 

C Then shall the people bow in prayer. 

The Minister shall pray: Almighty God, Creator of Life and 
Sustainer of seed and soil, Thou Who hast by Thy mighty arm 
brought forth this world and given it unto us for a heritage 
and a home; Thou Who hast given unto us life through Thy 
Son, Jesus Christ; and Thou Who hast granted unto us the 
high and holy task of propagating Thy faith and serving Thee 
in this day and generation, unto Thee we come in this act of 
dedication and blessing. 

We recognize that Thou art the giver of life. We recognize 
that Thou art the sender of rain, sunshine and fertility. Without 
Thee we would not be able to maintain life nor creature exist- 
ence. 

To Thee we come in this hour seeking to dedicate all the seed 
that shall be sown in»this community this year. We bless it in 
Thy name. We pray that it may fall in good ground and that 
it may be cultivated and bring forth harvest for a hungry world. 
Multiply it by Thy creative power and let it bring forth many 
fold. 

We herewith recognize our dependence upon Thee for the 
life hid within the seed and the soil. As they join in partnership 
to bring forth fruit, may we join in partnership with Thee to 
preserve the soil and cultivate the fruit of the seed to Thy glory 
and our good. 

We dedicate and bless this seed in Thy Name. 

We dedicate and bless this soil in Thy Name. 

We dedicate and bless the sowers of this seed and cultivators 
of this soil in Thy Name. Grant unto them strength, wisdom 
and power that they may do that which is right in Thy sight. 

This we ask in the Name of Him Who was the sower of 
good seed in the soil of the life of mankind, even Jesus Christ 
our Lord. Amen. 



C Then shall the people stand and in the Act of Commitment say: 

People: We are the sowers of the seed and the tillers of the soil. 

We herewith recognize the holiness of the seed and the sacred- 
ness of the soil. We herewith acknowledge our responsibility to 
plant this seed with reverence and to cultivate this soil with care. 

We will not waste the seed in wanton scattering; we will not 
destroy the soil by allowing erosion to wash it off nor weeds to 
stay its vitality. 

We will husband our resources of seed and soil and will 
guard them with our lives. 

We recognize the sacred task that is ours; we recognize the 
high calling that is ours; we recognize the purpose for which we 
plant the seed and till the soil; that man and beast may be fed 
and that life may be maintained for the glory of God and the 
good of mankind. 

We herewith commit ourselves to these tasks and the privi- 
lege of working together as children in the family of God in 
the high and holy duty of growing food for the distant members 
of the family. 

We herewith dedicate ourselves, our lives, and our sacred 
honor to the discharging of these duties knowing that life is of 
God and that God will never fail those who go forth in His 
Name to do His will. 
Minister and People: Therefore with angels and archangels, and 
with all the company of heaven. 

We laud and magnify Thy glorious Name. 

Evermore praising Thee and saying: 

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts. 

Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory; 

Glory be to Thee, O Lord most high. Amen. 

Hymn: Such as, God Bless Our Native Land 

Minister: Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, 
and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory 
with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory 
and majesty, dominion and power, now and evermore. Amen. 



53 



Rural Life Consecration Service 

The following Rural Life Consecration Service was prepared by 
the Rev. Fred E. Dean, pastor of the Greek Baptist Church, 
New York, and Chaplain of the New York State Grange, and 
used as a part of the Rural Life Sunday program in his church. 

Leader: Let us remember before God all who till the soil, fear- 
ing not sweat, dropping over the eyes like tears, because of the 
oldest of all faiths, the conviction that God will provide. 

People: O God, bless the work of our hands, and strengthen the 
purpose of our hearts. As we plough the fields and sow the 
seed in hope, may we by Thy grace come again with rejoicing, 
bearing a harvest with us. 

Leader: Let us acknowledge unto God our debt to our helpers, 
the animals that serve our needs and draw our burdens, and 
share in pain and pleasure. 

People: Unto Thee, O God, we give thanks for the friendly 
beasts that bless our rural life, for dog and horse, and for the 
cattle on a thousand hills, friends of our childhood, sharers of 
burdens, givers of food. Help us to treat them kindly, and to 
share with them as Thou dost prosper us. 

Leader: Let us bring to God our homes and families. 

People: O God, Creator and Governor of the universe, grant 
Thy guiding spirit to our leaders, and endow them with 
prudence and wisdom. Bless and prosper our churches, our 
schools, and the agencies which lead us forward. As we enlist 
through them in the service of our fellowmen, may we hear 
Thee say to us, "Well done, good and faithful servant." 

In Unison: And now, O God, bless the seed which we sow, the 
tools with which we work, the hands that labor and the souls 
that serve in ways of daily toil. And when our laboring days 
are past, bring us safely to our rest in Thee, through Jesus 
Christ our Savior. Amen. 



54 



A Service of Dedication to the Cause of Rural Life 

This service was prepared by the author of this book, and used 
in the Rural Missions Conference at Cornell University, Ithaca, 
N. Y., January 23, 1942. It may be used in rural life conferences, 
as a worship service for Rural Life Sunday, or on other rural 
life occasions. 



C Let every worshipper bow his head in adoration and silent 
prayer. 

Instrumental Prelude: Fairest Lord Jesus (Crusaders' Hymn) 

Call to Worship 

Leader: 

In wonder workings, or some bush aflame 

Men look for God and fancy Him concealed; 

But in earth's common things He stands revealed 

While grass and flowers and stars spell out His name. 
The Heavens declare the glory of God, 
And the firmament sheweth his handiwork. 
People: 

The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; 

The world and they that dwell therein. 
Leader: 

O God of our salvation, 

Thou art the confidence of all the ends of the earth. 
People: 

Thou visitest the earth and waterest it; 

Thou waterest its furrows abundantly. 

Thou settlest the ridges thereof, 

Thou makest it soft with showers; 

Thou blessest the springing thereof. 
All: 

O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Thy name in all the earth. 

Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of Hosts 

His majestic splendor fills the whole earth. 

The Invocation: Prayer of thanksgiving for this world, by 
Walter Rauschenbusch 



55 



PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING FOR THIS WORLD 

O God, we thank Thee for this universe, our great home; for 
its vastness and its riches, and for the manifoldness of the life 
which teems upon it and of which we are a part. We praise 
Thee for the arching sky and the blessed winds, for the driving 
clouds and the constellations on high. We praise Thee for the 
salt sea and the running water, for the everlasting hills, for the 
trees, and for the grass under our feet. We thank Thee for our 
senses by which we can see the splendor of the morning, and 
hear the jubilant songs of love, and smell the breath of the 
springtime. Grant us, we pray Thee, a heart wide open to all 
this joy and beauty, and save our souls from being so steeped in 
care or so darkened by passion that we pass heedless and un- 
seeing when even the thornbush by the wayside is aflame with 
the glory of God. 

Enlarge within us the sense of fellowship with all the living 
things, our little brothers, to whom Thou hast given this earth 
as their home in common with us. We remember with shame 
that in the past we have exercised the high dominion of man 
with ruthless cruelty, so that the voice of the earth, which 
should have gone up to Thee in song, has been a groan of 
travail. May we realize that they live, not for us alone, but for 
themselves and for Thee, and that they love the sweetness of 
life even as we, and serve Thee in their place better than we 
in ours. 

When our use of this world is over and we make room for 
others, may we not leave anything ravished by our greed or 
spoiled by our ignorance, but may we hand on our common 
heritage fairer and sweeter through our use of it, undiminished 
in fertility and joy, that so our bodies may return in peace to the 
great mother who nourished them and our spirits may round 
the circle of a perfect life in Thee. 

Hymn of Adoration: Fairest Lord Jesus (Crusaders' Hymn) 

A Confession of Faith. All read in unison: In the beginning, 
God created the heavens and the earth. And God saw every- 
thing that He had made, and behold, it was very good. 

56 



The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me 
to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside still waters. 
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my 
life; and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. 

As the earth bringeth forth its bud, and as the garden causeth 
the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord 
Jehovah will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth 
before all the nations. 

So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed upon 
the earth; and should sleep and rise night and day, and the 
seed should spring up and grow, he knoweth not how. The 
earth beareth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, then 
the full grain in the ear. 

They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears 
into pruninghooks; nation shall not lift up sword against na- 
tion, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall make 
them afraid: For the mouth of the Lord has spoken it. 

And He that supplieth seed to the sower and bread for food 
shall supply and multiply your seed for sowing, and increase 
the fruits of your righteousness. 

Meditation 

A LITANY AND ACT OF DEDICATION 

Minister: Let us give thanks to God: 

For the beauty of Thy world, the glory of star-lit skies, the 
wonder of the changing seasons, the eyer-new miracle of stir- 
ring life in field and forest, 

People: We give Thee thanks, O God. 

Minister: For the privilege of sharing with Thee in the act of 
creating the good things of earth for Thy children, and for Thy 
nearness in all the processes of agricultural life, 

People: We give Thee thanks, O God. 

Minister: For the Christ of the country road, who walked and 
served in the pleasant land of Galilee, and who today walks the 
country roads of the world in comradeship with all who till 
the soil, 

People: We give Thee thanks, O God. 



57 



Minister: For the widening horizons of rural life, the open doors 
in which entering we may serve the rural peoples of the world, 
and walk the byways with Christ, 

People: We give Thee thanks, O God. 

Minister: That it may please Thee to grant us vision of an earth 
redeemed and used as a sacred trust for the welfare of all Thy 
great family on earth, 

People: We beseech Thee to hear us, O Lord. 

Minister: That all farmer folk in all lands may walk in joyous 
comradeship with Thee in the sowing and harvesting of their 
crops, 

People: We beseech Thee to hear us, O Lord. 

Minister: That the homes of country folk everywhere may be 
centers of serene, abundant and godly living, 

People: We beseech Thee to hear us, O Lord. 

Minister: That it may please Thee to guide and guard all chil- 
dren and youth in the rural areas of the world that they may 
come to be Thy true children, 

People: We beseech Thee to hear us, O Lord. 

Minister: That it may please Thee so to bless the rural churches 
of the world and inspire them with vision, so that their fellow- 
ship may be enriched and they may bring all rural peoples to 
Thee, into Thy great family, 

People: We beseech Thee to hear us, O Lord. 

Minister: That rural ministers and missionaries, and those insti- 
tutions which train them may realize the greatness of their 
calling, and may dedicate themselves to the redemption of rural 
living in Thy name, 

People: We beseech Thee to hear us, O Lord. 

Minister: That it may please Thee speedily to grant a just and 
lasting peace in all the earth, that all peoples may again beat 
their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning- 
hooks, that they may all live together in brotherhood and tran- 
quillity in the lands Thou hast given unto them, 

People: We beseech Thee to hear us, O Lord. 

Minister: To the re-creation of the beloved community bound 
together by ties of godly brotherly love in every countryside, in 

58 



which all men shall share with joy in sowing the seed and 
reaping the harvest of the Kingdom of God, 

People: We dedicate our hands and minds, O God. 

Minister: To a renewed appreciation of the Holy Earth and its 
gifts, and to a consecrated stewardship of all its resources, 
material and human, 

People: We dedicate our hands and minds, O Lord. 

Minister: To comradeship with the rural folk of all the world, 
and to serving them devotedly with all the gifts and graces 
Thou hast vouchsafed unto us, 

People: We dedicate our lives, O God. 

All: Accept our thanksgiving, hear Thou our prayers and inter- 
cessions, graciously use the gifts of mind, body, and life which 
we now lay upon Thy altar, through Jesus Christ our Lord. 
Amen. 

The Lord's Prayer (In unison) 

Hymn of Dedication: Where Winds the Road. (Germany, l.m.) 

Where winds the road o'er hill and dale, 
Where field and forest mark the land; 
In all that thou dost man entail, 
We see the imprint of Thy hand. 

On furrow long, in village street, 
By singing brook or cottage door, 
In friendly word when neighbors meet, 
We come to feel Thee more and more. 

In winter's snow, in summer's sun, 
The joy of spring, the hush of fall, 
In all the course the seasons run, 
We praise Thee as the Lord of all. 

Thou Christ who lovest field and wood, 
E'er sought new strength in quiet glen; 
Help us who stand where Thou hast stood, 
Come now and walk the fields again, 



59 



Till men in all Thy countryside, 

Shall cease from want and greed and strife, 
Shall learn in Thy way to abide, 
The joy of more abundant life. 

— Howard E. Mather 
The Benediction 



Dedication of a Tree 

By John Kendrick Strong. First used in the Congregational 
Church of. Beulah, N. D., Daily Vacation Church School, 1931. 

C The group gathers around the tree in the shape of a cross, with 
the readers at the four inside corners. 

Hymn: This Is My Father's World. (Terra Beata) 

First Reader: We, the members of , having 

come together to learn how to reconstruct our lives according 
to God's plan, and having studied and played and sung together 
in Christian friendliness, wish to continue that fellowship with 
God and with one another by dedicating ourselves to the pro- 
tection and care of this little tree. 

Second Reader: We want our lives to be straight and beautiful 
like trees. Knowing that we have to nourish them carefully lest 
they wither from spiritual drought or be bent or broken by 
thoughtless acts, we are now taking into our charge this tree, 
that as we guide and protect its growth we may be constantly 
reminded of the way we want to grow. 

Third Reader: To hold together the common friendliness which 

this has enjoyed, and to develop a happy 

spirit of cooperation in the name of Jesus, 

All: We dedicate our selves to the joyous care of this little tree. 

Fourth Reader: To give recognition of our kinship with the 
wonderful world of nature, and of our interest in all things 
beautiful and lovely, 

All: We dedicate ourselves to the faithful care of this little tree. 



60 



First Reader: To show our deep and lasting love for God our 
heavenly Father who made and loves everything good and 
noble, and to feel that we are working with Him in the beauti- 
fying and the improving of His kingdom, 

All: We dedicate ourselves to the loving care of this little tree. 

Second Reader recites Joyce Kilmer's — Trees 

Third Reader: Let us all unite in prayer. 

All: O God, our heavenly Father, Who hast formed all things 
beautiful, Who hast made the stars, the sun and moon, the 
flowers, birds, and trees, Who causest the rain to fall and the 
crops to grow, and Who livest in the hearts of our friends, 
bless us as we now use our wonderful privilege of working 
with Thee in Thy universe. Help us to watch over and protect 
this tree, that it may grow straight and tall and beautiful. Thus 
may it become a fitting symbol of the way Thou wouldest have 
us grow. Amen. 



They Should Be Close to God 

They should be close to God who plow the earth, 

Tear up the briers and turn the nettles in, 
Bank high the rich brown soil and smooth it down 

And harrow paths for life, straight, firm and thin. 
They should be men of faith and vision, all 

Who sight in each torn, trampled plot a yield 
Of sun-gold harvests; ears have they to hear 

The secrets whispered by a growing field. 
They should be gentle. Earth is soft as wool 

Fresh turned, and rain is cool and sweet in spring; 
Where crickets chirp and little wings hum praise 

Men must be kind and love the smallest thing. 
They seek and find the simple life — the bread 

Of fields, the crystal waters of the stream; 



61 



A sheltered hut against the hills, a hearth 

And warmth when winter comes and men would dream — 
Dream once again of fields and growing things 

When snows have gone and all the trembling clod 
Wakes with the trumpeting of spring. Men know, 

Who keep the fields, the miracles of God. 

— Philip Jerome Cleveland 

Reprinted by special permission from the Ladies' Home Journal 
Copyright 1937, by The Curtis Publishing Company. 



The Farmer 

As Thou didst set Thy first children in a garden 

We know, O Lord, it is good for us 

To learn the ways of seedtime and of harvest. 

The earth Thou gavest is fruitful and fair to look upon 

But the strong have often pushed aside the weak, 

And the harvest has not been just. 

We have often wasted the fruit of the land 

And scorned the soil from which it sprang. 

Amid the beauty of springing blade 

Man-made ugliness has rested like a blight upon the land. 

Tillers of the field are often cheated 

By those who reap where they have not sown. 

Grant that all who labor may have their share of tree, 
and vine and field, 

That children in remote places may not be neglected. 

We plead forgiveness that amid fat plains and valleys 

Any should go hungry, ill clad or homeless. 

Help Thy servants 

To establish men in plenty upon the goodly earth. 

Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. 

— George Stewart 
From "A Face to the Sky," A Book of Prayers, 
Association Press, 1940. Used by permission of the publisher. 

62 



CHAPTER V 



HOME DEDICATION SERVICES 



A Service of Dedication of a Chinese Village Home 

Dedicating a Home in Africa 

Service for the Dedication of the Home in India 

Consecration of a House 

Suggestions for the Observance of the 
Christian Home Festival 



When a new home is built, or when a young married couple 
starts out together in a home of their own, one of the most 
significant and effective methods of securing right Christian at- 
mosphere from the beginning is to have a service of dedication. 
Such services are now being used in many parts of the world. 
The services and descriptions here given are but scattered exam- 
ples of many good and beautiful services of dedication which 
have been sent in from many lands. 



63 



A Service of Dedication of a Chinese Village Home 

By Elmer W. Galt 

C. The house, whether newly built or old, should be made clean 
and fresh, and all its contents neat and orderly. In the room 
where people gather let there be, if possible, at least a picture of 
the Holy Family, also other suitable Christian pictures and sym- 
bols. Let modest decorations of flowers and of produce from field 
and garden and trees be added. 

At the time appointed let all the family be present, with the 
pastor and a suitable company of nearest friends and neighbors. 
The family should be made familiar in advance with the order 
of service and the part they are to have in it. The service may 
well be modified at any point to make it more fitting for the 
particular family. An elder or deacon or other church leader might 
conduct the service. 

Opening Words: If a man love me he will keep my words; and 
my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and 
make our abode with him. John 14: 23. 

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to 
dwell together in unity. Psalms 133: 1. 

Hymn 

Scripture: Eph. 2: 19-22, 6: 1-4. (Or other as the pastor may 
choose) 

Pastoral Tal\: (At his discretion. If given it is suggested that it 
be not longer than 6 or 8 minutes) 

GRATEFUL ACKNOWLEDGMENT 

Pastor: Gathered here in the presence of God and of each other, 
we acknowledge that we are children of God and that our real 
home is the home of the Spirit, we in Him and He in us, 
wherever we may be. 

Family: We thank God for assurance that He tabernacles with 
men. 

Pastor: We acknowledge also that God is the Creator and Pro- 

64 



vider of all things needed for our present comfort. This house 
has been built by human skill and labor. But the skill was from 
God, the strength to labor was from Him, and every bit of 
material used was of His creation. 

Family: We thank God for this house. 

Pastor: For every article in the house: furniture, cooking uten- 
sils, articles both for use and for ornament, 

Family: We are thankful unto God. 

Pastor: For the court-yard with its (Here let him improvise, 
e.g., fruit and shade trees, potted plants, beds of flowers, store- 
house and sheds, pets and animals, farming implements). 

Family: We thank our God. 

Pastor: For ties that bind us as a family to live here together, and 
for fellowship with kind friends in other homes about us, 

Family: We thank our God. 

Hymn 

The Family's Covenant: (To be read by the head of the house- 
hold, if he can read and is willing. Otherwise by the pastor, who 
will call for assent at the close.) 

As a family, blessed of God our Father, and privileged to 
make this our home, we covenant before God and you who 
are our friends, 

To ma\e this a place 

Of mutual love and forbearance between man and wife. 

Of solicitous care for the welfare of the aged. 

Of nurture of children into early habits and attitudes that 
are truly Christian. 

Of counsel and guidance for maturing youth, that they may 
voluntarily commit their lives to discipleship of Jesus. 

To ma\e it a place 

Of such sharing and kindness and service, within the home 
and out into the community, as will help to establish a brother- 
hood of God's children, each solicitous for the welfare of the 
others. 



Of such reverence and worship as will acknowledge the pres- 
ence of God all the while as the unseen head of the household, 
under whom we are stewards of all that we have and are. 

Family: We do all heartily make these our vows. 

Prayer of Dedication and Blessing, closing with the Lord's Prayer 

Benediction 



Dedicating a Home in Africa 

By Mathilde T. Dysart, Chikore, East Africa 

C We have been slow to acknowledge that many native customs 
are both sacred and beautiful, and that it will strengthen the 
church and its members if we adopt some of them, possibly with- 
out the usual bringing of gifts and feasting. 

Recently a group of 150 people assembled to dedicate the new 
teacher's home at Bangira, one of the outstation schools. Thunder 
and heavy clouds kept many away, but some came who live from 
eight to ten miles distant, many with babies on their backs. 

The shower came during the singing of the first hymn, a good 
sign, said many. We did not mind, for the rain was badly needed. 
Shelter was sought in one of the school buildings where the pro- 
gram continued. In his opening remarks the African pastor said: 

This is nothing new. We all know this custom of dedicating 
a new home. We know that our forefathers never moved into 
a new home without first asking for the blessing and the pro- 
tection of the Great Spirit and the family Spirit. We know that 
they also had other customs which were good and helpful. They 
never chose a new building site without invoking the guidance 
of the Great Spirit and His helpers. They also did this when the 
name was given to a new baby. Many other customs they had 
which were also good. Some of them had parts which were not 
so good, as when the medicine man was called in to do his 
part. But we must not condemn them, for they lived up to the 

66 



light they had. And now that we are re-adopting this beautiful 
custom of dedicating a new home, let us see to it that we live 
up to the light we have. 

The shower passed during the program. At its conclusion we 
took up the singing of another hymn while marching around the 
two school buildings and back to the new home. It was an inspir- 
ing sight as we looked back upon the crowd, all dressed in their 
Sunday best. The deep voices of the men and boys in the rear 
came rolling in like heavy breakers on the beach. 

"Why haven't we done this before?" queried some. 

"We must do it again," said others. 

Another custom which we may soon adopt is that of bringing 
the young bride to the Great Spirit and the family Spirit for an 
introduction and a blessing at the time of marriage. The Head 
of the Kraal says as he presents the new member: 

Here is our new daughter, O Great Spirit. Bless her and 
protect her. Help her to be happy here with us. May she know 
how to give as well as to receive and to be a real daughter in the 
family. 



Service for the Dedication of the Home in India 

From The Festival of the Christian Home, 1942-1943, National 
Christian Council of India, Nagpur, C. P. 

(L The house having been cleaned, decorated and beautified, inside 
and out, lights should be placed in different places ready for light- 
ing at the appropriate time. A central place should be made ready 
for the service with chairs or mats in a family circle. In the centre 
there might be a picture of Christ, perhaps a new one to be 
dedicated and placed on the wall later. There should be a re- 
ceptacle for gifts and as much decoration in the way of flowers, 
lights, etc., as possible. 

When the family have assembled the following brief service 
may be used. 

67 



Leader: Peace be to this house and all who dwell in it. Amen. 

Hymn of Praise: (Any well-known hymn may be chosen) 

Leader: Let us remain in silence and remember that the Lord 
Jesus Christ is present with us. 

Silence 

Leader: God so loved the world that He gave His only begot- 
ten Son. 

Let us thank and praise the Lord Who came down to earth 
for us. 

Leader: 

For Thy humble birth in a stable, 

After each sentence all repeat: We praise Thee, O Lord. 
For Thy love of Mary, Thy Mother, 
■For Thy home in the village at Nazareth, 
For Thy work in the carpenter's shop, 
For Thy blessing on the wedding at Cana, 
For Thy visits to the house of Martha and Mary, 
For Thy fellowship with simple, humble people, 
For Thy love of little children, 

Heavenly Father, we thank Thee that Thy Son, Jesus Christ, 
was born in an earthly home, such as this one. Bless this house 
and all who dwell in it. Grant that it may be full of peace and 
love. May our Lord Jesus Christ abide with us always. Amen. 

Bible Reading: John 4: 46-54 

Leader: Let us pray for God's forgiveness. 

C After the mention of each sin there should be a pause for 
remembrance and penitence. 
Let us remember before God the times that we have sinned 
.... our quarrels, .... our lack of love, .... our selfish- 
ness, .... our disobedience, .... our failure to serve one 
another. 

I will arise and go to my Father and say unto Him: Father, 
I have sinned against heaven and before Thee. 
Let us confess our sins to God saying all together: 

68 



O God, our Father; we have sinned against Thee in thought, 
word, and deed. Have mercy upon us and forgive us our sins. 
Strengthen us against temptation and help us to overcome our 
faults, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. 

Let us pray for this family 

For those at home. . . . 

For those away from home. . . . 

C Mention each member of the family by name, pausing 
after each name for silen^ prayer. Then let the leader and 
other members of the family pray in their own words, 
giving thanks for special blessings received and praying for 
special needs. 

Let us pray together God's family prayer 

Our Father .... 

THE THANK-OFFERING 

C During the singing of this hymn each member of the 
family shall bring an offering to the place already prepared. 

Take our life and let it be 
Consecrated Lord to Thee: 
Take our moments and our days, 
Let them flow in ceaseless praise. 
Take our hands and let them move, 
Working always for Thy love, 
Take our voices, let us sing, 
Always, only, for our King. 

Take our silver and our gold, 
Not a mite would we withhold, 
Take our hearts, they are Thine own, 
Let them be Thy royal throne. 
Take our lives, O Lord, we pour 
At Thy feet our treasure store: 
Take ourselves and we will be, 
Ever, only, all for Thee. 

69 



At the close of the hymn the following prayer shall be said: 
Heavenly Father, Giver of all good things; accept our gifts, 
and bless them in Thy service, for Christ's sake. Amen. 

THE CEREMONY OF THE LIGHTS 

(L During the singing of this hymn the whole family shall 
proceed in procession round the house, lighting the lights 
wherever they have been placed. 

Hymn: As with Gladness Men % of Old 

C All shall return to the place of prayer and the service shall 
close as follows: 

Christ is the Light of the world. Amen. 
Christ is the Light of this house. Amen. 
Christ is the Light of our hearts. Amen. 

O loving Father, we dedicate this, our family, to Thee and 
Thy service. Bless us and keep us at all times and in all places. 
Give us joyful hearts and teach us always to serve Thee. Make 
this a truly Christian household. May it be a light shining in 
the darkness for a witness to Thee. And do Thou lift up the 
light of Thy countenance upon us now and always. Amen. 



Consecration of a House 

This account of the ceremonies used in the consecration of 
building a house in Tinnevelly, India, is taken from Worship 
in Other Lands, by H. P. Thompson, (Society for the Propaga- 
tion of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, London) and is used by 
permission of the publishers. 

C When the foundations have been dug, and the first stones are 
to be laid, the family and workmen all stand round the excava- 
tions. Extempore prayer is said, and the priest (or maybe the 
catechist) lays the first stone. Next the father of the family lays 



7° 



a stone, then any near male relative who is present, then the 
mother and any grown-up children. Each says a few words of 
prayer before laying a stone. 

When the house is finished, there is a ceremony of dedication, 
to which special friends of the family are invited. A fire is first 
lighted upon the hearth, and milk is boiled on it, in a new pot. 
As soon as the milk has boiled, prayers are said and the house 
is blessed — the form of words is left to the person who conducts 
the service. Then the milk is handed round to the chief guests, 
and plantains are also given. 

After eating, all sit down and sing lyrics for a time. Betel and 
areca nut are then distributed, and one by one the guests take 
their leave. After this the household move in all their belongings 
and take up residence. 



Suggestions for the Observance of the 
Christian Home Festival 

From The Festival of the Christian Home, 1942-1943, National 
Christian Council of India, Nagpur, C. P. 

A. ' IN THE HOME 
1. Preparation 

a) Cleanliness. During the week preceding the festival the 
house should be thoroughly cleaned, inside and out. Any accu- 
mulation of rubbish should be turned out and burned. Old or 
unwanted clothes, etc., might be given away to poorer neighbors. 
Village homes might be newly whitewashed, the floors freshly 
done with cowdung, and decorated with patterns if that is the 
custom. There should be no cobwebs in roof or corners. The sur- 
roundings of the house too should be neatly swept, all rubbish 
taken away and no stagnant water left lying. In fact it is a golden 
opportunity for the general clean up of the Christian hamlet. 

b) Beauty. As far as possible the home should be decorated and 
beautified. It would be nice if a new picture could be bought. 



71 



There is a good selection of colored pictures produced by the 
Lucknow Press at a reasonable amount each which are available 
from many Christian Book Depots. There is a beautiful rural 
picture of The Christ of the Indian Home available from the 
N. C. C, price 2 pice. Or there is a new colored poster of the 
Virgin and Child, price i anna, to be obtained from the Christian 
Literature Society. Families which can afford to pay a little more 
might get any one of the pictures of the Life of Christ by Elsie 
Anna Wood, also in color. Family photographs could be gar- 
landed and in each house a receptacle for offerings cleaned and 
prepared. Where there is a garden some special plant might be 
grown ready for the day or a new tree planted. More especially 
arrangements should be to have as many lights as possible, both 
inside and out, to be lighted up after dark. The little village 
earthen ware saucers with a piece of rag twisted into a wick burn- 
ing in castor oil are both easy and cheap to provide. 

2. Family Gatherings 

Wherever possible there should be family gatherings. Married 
sons or daughters might return to their parents' home taking 
their children with them. In villages where so often different 
members of one family are living side by side it should be pos- 
sible for them to gather together for at least one family meal to 
which each household could contribute something. In fact it 
might prove an occasion on which family quarrels could be 
healed. Children at school or grown-up sons and daughters away 
from home should be encouraged to write a greeting to the family 
party. 

3. Family Ceremonies 

These may take various forms as follows: 

a) An act of family worship. 

b) The re-dedication of the home, with the family going round 
in procession singing. 

c) The lighting of the lights, a symbolic act in which the chil- 
dren especially should take part to signify that Christ is the Light 
of the home. 



72 



d) Entertainment by the children, i.e., singing, reciting, acting, 
bhajanas, kolatum, games, etc. 

B. IN THE CHURCH 
i. Preparation 

Churches, prayer-houses, schools, any building in which Chris- 
tian worship takes place, should be cleaned and decorated and as 
far as possible this should be a joint undertaking of men, women 
and children. Palm leaves, branches, garlands, lights, etc., can 
usually be obtained at little or no cost if people are prepared to 
take trouble. If individual families cannot afford to buy a new 
picture for their own house, perhaps several of them might con- 
tribute to buy one for the Church. 

2. Thanksgiving Services 

a) Services of Holy Communion at which there are special 
prayers, offerings and addresses. 

b) Special Services, for which several forms for different types 
of worship will be found in this book on pages 13, 17, 21. 

It is suggested that at such services the families might, as far 
as possible, sit together, the boys with the father and the girls 
with the mother. 

3. Thank-Offerings 

These may be in money or in kind and should be given a 
prominent place in the service. It is suggested that each family 
should come up in turn, bringing their offering, as at a harvest 
festival. It should be emphasized that these offerings are a token 
of thanksgiving for the blessings of family life and, with the 
consent of the pastor, each congregation, group of congregations, 
or church (according to the custom prevailing in that body) 
might decide to what object the thank-offering should be devoted. 

4. Processions 

These could proceed round the Christian houses, with pauses 
for special prayer where there are sick people, newly born babies, 
or where there has recently been bereavement. They can also go 



73 



through the non-Christian quarters, as an act of witness, if de- 
sired. These are specially suitable for village congregations. 

C. IN THE COMMUNITY 

It is very important that, while centering chiefly in the home, 
and finding its first expression in the Church, this festival should 
also extend to the Christian community as a whole and if possible 
to the non-Christian world outside. The following are sugges- 
tions as to how this may be carried out in the larger centres: 

i. Special meetings for fathers and mothers together, with talks 
on topics in which the co-operation of both parents is needed, i.e., 
Family Worship, Sunday Observances, Training of Children, 
Understanding of Adolescence, Christian Marriage Arrangements, 
Family Budgets, etc., etc. 

2. Open Meetings for non-Christian women on subjects deal- 
ing with home life but without a specifically Christian bias. 
Health, Hygiene, Diet, and to some extent the Training of Chil- 
dren, would provide such topics. 

3. Inspection of Christian homes with prizes for cleanliness, 
order and beauty, graded according to the circumstances and 
opportunities of the home involved. 

4. Plays and pageants dealing with any aspect of family life. 

5. Christian Home Exhibitions containing handwork, models, 
pictures, cooking, sewing, etc. 



Man and His House 

There are old trails across the life of man. One of the very old- 
est is that trail which leads to his shelter. Night comes and man, 
who has been all day at his work in the world, goes home. There 
are his wife, his children, his food and his fire. Therefore man 
has ever loved his shelter. 

But whether the house is of clay or of bark or of brick or of 
stone — or of whatever material — the man who has made it has 
loved it. Some of us have heard the glad singing of a man and 



74 



his friends as they have brought home from the forest the roof- 
tree of his new house. Some of us have heard the dancing and the 
drumming when a man's friends have trodden down the clay 
floor of his new house. Think of all the customs we know with 
which man has honoured the building of his house, and shall not 
a prayer to God be such a custom? 

prayer: O God, we thank Thee for the end of our labour and 
for the finishing of this house we have built. By Thy life in us 
we have had the wisdom and the strength for the work of build- 
ing. All the material in the house is from Thee. Before we began 
to build, behold Thou didst go before us in the way, making for 
us wbat we would need to build our house. Now we ask Thee 
to bless Thy children who will live under this roof. May Thy 
hand be over us, like the roof of this house. May Thy care 
be around us, like the walls of this house. May we love one an- 
other in this house, and may we love Thee. Then shall this house 
be blessed both in Thy sight and before the eyes of the people of 
this town. Amen. 

— Jean Mackenzie 



Than\s giving for Water 

Wherever man is to live, water must be there also. To every 
living man God gives water, be it ever so little. A fine spring is 
the pride of a village. Those who travel where there is no water 
carry it with them, else they must die and their bones bleach in 
that dry land. Passing through a proper village, the thirsty travel- 
ler will beg water from the woman in her house, and she will 
give it to the stranger, though the spring be far and the water 
heavy. 

Jesus Himself spoke of the kindness there is in the gift of a cup 
of water, and there is a Christian way of giving water to the 
thirsty. Water is an old thing; there was water on earth before 
the coming of man. In giving His children water, God has given 
them life and power. There is great power in the rushing of water 
and in. the stream of water, as every schoolboy knows. We have 
not yet learned all the work that water can do for man, but every 

75 



human being knows many kind ways and uses of water, and the 
Bible is full of the praise of it. 

prayer: O God, we rejoice in the rain. We rejoice in the clear 
water of the spring. We rejoice in the great water of the river. 
We thank Thee that Thou hast remembered us with the gift of 
waters. We thank Thee that Thou dost send Thy servant, the 
water, to save Thy children from drought and from thirst. We 
drink Thy water and we thank Thee. We bathe in Thy water and 
we thank Thee. Our seed in the ground lives by the fall of Thy 
rain; we thank Thee. And if anywhere today, in any field or 
village, Thy water fails Thy children, remember them in mercy, 
we pray Thee. Send Thy servant, the rain, to visit them, and 
cause Thy children to be glad in the fall of Thy beautiful water. 
For Jesus' sake. Amen. 

— Jean Mackenzie 



Thanksgiving for Light 

There is a child who, when the moon shines, rejoices greatly. 
There is a traveller who likes to walk in moonlight. There is an 
old person who sits gladly in sunlight. There is a man who has 
long desired to carry his own lantern, and tonight he carries it. 
And there is a woman who is glad because at last there is a lamp 
in her house. There is a chief whose house is bright with elec- 
tricity. 

This is a prayer for all such people who desire to give God 
thanks for light. 

prayer: Our Father God, we thank Thee for all lights that light 
our days. We consider the moon and the stars which Thou hast 
made. We thank Thee for starlight, for moonlight, for great and 
strong sunlight. We thank Thee for warm firelight and the lamp 
in our house and the lantern in our hand. All light comes from 
Thee, who art the Father of Lights. And we pray Thee that Thy 
Word may be a lamp for our feet and light on our way. For 

Jesus' sake. Amen. , 

— Jean Mackenzie 

76 



CHAPTER VI 



SERVICES OF REMEMBRANCE 



All Saints' Day 

An All-Saints' -Day Service in China 

Halo Sunday 

Parents' Day in China 



IT is quite understandable that some of the best material for 
such a chapter should come from China, where there is in 
the national culture such a reverence for ancestors. The fine traits 
of this reverence are being brought over into the Christian Church. 
No less beautiful is the observance of All Saints' Day in the little 
mission school in Northern Rhodesia described so eloquently by 
Miss Shaw. 



TJ 



All Saints' Day 

This description of a hauntingly beautiful AH Saints' Day ser- 
vice in a Northern Rhodesia Girls' School is taken from 
God's Candlelights, by Mabel Shaw. 1 

C. "We shall light the candles soon," they said to me one morning, 
and my heart leapt to the words. God would come to us at the 
lighting of the candles. All Saints' Day came. The chapel was 
made beautiful with flowers, and when night fell, the children 
came quietly, expectantly. Each one on entering was given a 
little unlighted candle. Only the quiet padding of little bare feet 
was heard, and now and again an indrawn breath of wonder. It 
was very beautiful, the most beautiful we could offer. 

On the altar table covered with its fair white linen were flowers 
white and red, and the tender green of ferns. Amongst them 
were many lighted candles. Under the chapel lamp there was a 
low stand surrounded by flowers and ferns, and on it stood a 
tall ivory candlestick, in the midst of white roses and crimson 
lilies. In all the windows there were lighted candles and flowers. 
The children's faces as they entered were lit up with awe and 
joy. They had come to meet with the Chief and all his people. 

We knelt and sang: 

O Chief, our Light, shine in upon us now. 

Then standing, we said all the Chief's words about light. They 
sat and we talked of it. 

"I am the Light of the world." That one tall candle standing 
amidst the flowers was His, the Chief's, who came bringing the 
light of God to earth. 

Those to whom He first gave the light, St. Paul who carried 
it far: we foHnd their candles on the altar table. 

Then the great army of the saints and martyrs, high and 
lifted up like their Lord: we had their candles. 

The tiny little candles amidst the flowers and ferns were those 
of the little children martyrs whose hands held the Light un- 
falteringly through the ways of life and death. We heard the 

1 Used by permission of the publisher, The Friendship Press, New York. 
7 8 



greatly loved story of little Tarsicius once again. All, all of them 
passed before us, pressed in upon us, all the great tribe of the 
Lightbearers, the Communion of Saints. 

And to us has come the Light, into our hands it has been 
given, passing from hand to hand through all the ages. And now 
it is for us to carry it through our day and generation, to fall into 
our places in the great procession and to follow on. Never to lay 
it down, to guard that Light as our very lives, never to let the 
Lrght go out, and then at the end, to hand it on as we pass 
into the radiant realm where there is no need of sun or candle- 
light, "for God himself is the Light thereof." 

It seemed as if there was no need for words, we were all seeing 
together, caught up by the glory of the vision. The still rapt faces 
of the children, the silence throbbing before us, the trembling of 
our hearts as we waited: these things, not words, were the reali- 
ties. 

Now came the sacramental lighting of our own little candles 
from the one standing alone. Mwenya and I went first, for we are 
the seniors of the school community. Then the others, one by 
one. Not even the moving feet of the children broke the silence. 
The little ones knelt waiting their turn with eager shining eyes. 

Hands trembled with eagerness and stress of feeling. Quietly 
they sang, "Who are these like stars appearing?" 

At last, all the candles lighted, we stood, and from one side 
came the question, "Who are these that are arrayed in white 
robes, and whence come they?" The other side made answer. We 
sang the Hymn of Light: 

O Light of the Great God 

Which has shined in our darkness — 

Lord of Life — 

Light for us the Fire of Life 

In this our House of Prayer. 

O Lord — look upon us, 

We lift to Thee our lamps, 

Even our hearts, 

Let them be lit up with Thy Light. 

Great God of all goodness, 



79 



Lord of Life, 

Spirit of Holiness, 

Thou art worthy to be worshipped by all men. 

Great Lord — we children worship — 

We children worship — 

We kneel before Thee, 

We worship, we worship. 

They knelt and bent forward for the last verse. Then we made 
our thanksgiving for all the Saints, those we know by name, and 
all the others, those still on earth with us whose love and prayer 
encircle this school as with light itself. And last of all our own, 
our very own, the children of this house who have gone on 
ahead into the land of Light and abundant Life — Mary Mwamba 
and her little son Michael, Agnes Chipola and her little son 
Wilfred, Malita, Margaret Chitoshi, Kabesi, Kapaya. 

At each name the children lifted high their candles. 

We rose and went out singing, "The Son of God goes forth 
to war." Mwenya stayed there kneeling. 

I went to the chapel door. The children crossed the courtyard, 
each one intent on guarding her candle flame. Half-way over, 
the leaders stood still, and the rest gathered round; then without 
one word or sigh, almost as one, that company of children looked 
up to the stars and lifted high their candles. They lowered them 
and passed in silence to their houses. 

I went back into the chapel to Mwenya and knelt with her. 
She said brokenly: "If only I could go now with my candle in 
my hand there would be no fear. Pray for me that I go now." 
I prayed for us both that we had lighted God's candles in the 
hearts of His children. 

She was silent for a long time, then she spoke. "I have never 
seen it before. God's world is so near. Why did I ever fear? And 
how beautiful it is! And they are our friends, we belong to them." 

I went to say good-night to the teachers. They were sitting 
quietly. "We don't want to speak, we want to remember it always." 

It was the same in the school houses, where the big girls were 
sitting up. "We don't want to sleep, we want to see it all in 
our hearts." 



80 



Chomba followed me to the door of her house. 

"You said the other morning the Chief would come to us. He 
has come, and with the Great Ones of His Kingdom." 

Next morning I called one of them and said: 

"Why did you stand still in the middle of the yard last night 
and lift your candles?" 

"Did you not see the stars?" she asked. "We thought they in 
the spirit-world were lowering their lamps to us, and so we lifted 
ours to them in greeting." 



An AU-Saints'-Day Service in China 

"0 Blest Communion, Fellowship Divine" 

This service is adapted from a description of the service by 
Ellen M. Studley, in the Religious Education Fellowship 
Bulletin, Autumn, 1940, published in Shanghai. The service 
was held November, 1939, in the Hall of Worship of Peking 
Union Bible Training Institute for Women. It may be used, 
with such changes as may be desired in each country, or each 
community or denomination. 

Has it not been in the genius of the Chinese people to weld 
links with family ancestors? Has the church done enough to 
show honor in a Christian way to those whose memory we 
cherish? — Why should not all branches of the Christian faith 
join in commemorating the saints of the Church universal 
and eternal, and reap the reward of deepened appreciation of 
our priceless heritage? 

The service, while carefully planned, and ritualistic in out- 
line, was spontaneous in content. The participation of the stu- 
dents was unpracticed. 

C In the Hall of Worship, the altar-table was covered with can- 
dles, large and small, high and low. The great, tall, central candle 
alone was lit, for Jesus Christ. 

Processional Hymn: (Sine Nomine) 

O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold, 
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old, 

81 



And win with them the victor's crown of gold. 
Alleluia! 

C Introductory statement by the leader, about the universality 
of the day. 

Thou wast their rock, their fortress and their might, 
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well-fought fight, 
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true light — 
Alleluia! 

the forerunners of Christ. Candles behind and below Christ's 
were lit, with a quotation from a word about such forerunners 
of Christ as John the Baptist, Isaiah, Moses, Confucius, Buddha. 

the saints of the early church. Candles lit near to Christ's for 
John, Mary the Mother of Jesus, Peter, James, the writers of the 
Gospels, Paul, Timothy, Lydia, etc. 

Reading: Rev. 7: 9—17. (Verse chanted to a Chinese tune) 

the great leaders of the church. Candles lit for Augustine, 
Monica, Ambrose, St. Francis Xavier, Wesley, Luther, etc. 

the pioneers of the gospel in china. The next tier of candles 
was lit for Morrison, Leung Faat, Pastor Hsu, Bishop Scherew- 
schewsky, the Shansi martyrs, etc. A prayer of Thanksgiving was 
offered for those heroes who brought Christ to China. 

those who brought the light to us. Each person lit a candle 
for the person who had held open for her the door of the King- 
dom — a grandmother, a teacher, a beloved pastor, missionaries, 
etc., were mentioned by name with tenderness and gratitude. 

O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold, 
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old, 
And win with them the victor's crown of gold. 
Alleluia! 

we light candles for ourselves. Each student lit a small candle 
for herself, as a symbol of her prayer and desire to be included in 

82 



this glorious company. All stood to form a circle of light, and 
sang with awe, 

O blest communion, fellowship divine! 
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine; 
Yet all are in Thee, for all are Thine. 
Alleluia! 

Prayer: (Book of Common Prayer, collect for All Saints' Day) 
O Almighty God, Who hast knit together Thine elect in one 
communion and fellowship, in the mystical body of Thy Son 
Jesus Christ our Lord; grant us grace so to follow Thy blessed 
Saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to 
those unspeakable joys, which Thou hast prepared for them 
that unfeignedly love Thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. 
Amen. 

Recessional: Rev. 7: 12 (chanted in chorus) 



Halo Sunday 

This service of recognition of the aged members of a congre- 
gation was used in the Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church, Franklin, 
Indiana. All members over seventy years of age were guests of 
honor in the service. The service was suited to the tastes of 
these veterans of the church, and most parts of it were led 
by older people. 

Organ Prelude 

Hymn: Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing — Wyeth 

Invocation 

Responsive Reading: Ecclesiastes 12: 1-13 

Hymn: Rock of Ages — Hastings 

Scripture Reading: Psalm 130 

83 



Morning Prayer and Choral Response 

Quartet: Have Thine Own Way — Stebbins 
(By a group over sixty years of age) 

Recognition of Honored Members 

Reception of Offering 

Organ Offertory 

Sermon: De Profundis 

Hymn: Sweet By and By — Webster 

Benediction and Quiet 

Organ Postlude 

HALO SUNDAY 

We honor today those thirty-eight members of our church who 
have attained the age of three score and ten. We congratulate 
these people, thank them for their faithful service to the Church 
and Kingdom, and wish for them many more years in the service 
of the Master here on earth. 

Grow old along with me 
The best is yet to be 
The last of life for which 
the first was made. 

The response to the Sunday was far beyond expectations. It is 
true that a little child shall lead them and that you can bring the 
parents to church by putting the children in a program. It is 
equally true that you can touch the hearts of men and women in 
a way that will never be forgotten by a kind deed to their aged 
parents. 



84 



Parents' Day in China 

This description of a Parents' Day service comes from Pastor 
Cheo Yu-wen, of Chuchow, Anhwei, China, who planned and 
conducted it. 

C The Parents' Day service observed by the Chuchow church on 
May ii added gready to the Christian spirit of our homes. Fifty- 
nine families, all sitting as family groups, but also as members of 
the one family of God in His church, brought their tribute of 
adoration and praise to the Father in Heaven. After Pastor Cheo 
mentioned the names of parents and revered older people who 
had gone on, including Dr. Osgood, the missionary, the Rev. 
Shih Kwei-biao and others, two members of the congregation 
offered prayer in memory of them. Two younger members of the 
church then offered prayer for the living parents who are now 
carrying the burden of the work of the church. Then, while the 
entire congregation stood with bowed heads, Pastor Sheo prayed 
for the young people of the church who have dedicated them- 
selves to Christian service both in the church and in their business. 

At the conclusion of the service, each member was given a 
piece of red paper cut in the shape of a fruit. All returned to the 
afternoon service bringing their paper fruits with names of the 
fruits of the spirit of God written upon them. After the afternoon 
service, there was a period of recreation and a reception. There 
were folk games, and the young people dramatized the story of 
the Prodigal Son. 

At the end of the day, the congregation went home with the 
resolution to lead all members of their families to Christ, and to 
be obedient children of the Father in Heaven. 



85 



A Hymn for the Country Church 
Tune: Holley or other L.M. tune 
O thou Who workest hitherto 

Through sun and rain, in flock or tree, 
We sow and reap and plow anew, 
Rejoicing thus to work with Thee. 

We meet Thee in our fertile fields; 

We see Thee in the brooding sky; 
Thou givest what our tillage yields; 

Our happy homes reveal Thee nigh. 

O Thou Whose rest is evermore, 

Transcending all that Thou hast made, 

We, on our day of rest, adore 

And feel Thy Presence, unafraid! 

Our hearts respond to throbbing bell; 

Our souls rise like the eager spire; 
We gather in these walls to tell 

Thy boundless love, our deep desire. 

Like Him Who in unselfish toil 

Revealed on Earth the Life Divine, 

May we revere the very soil, 

And serve in life each child of Thine! 

With Thee Who openest Thy hand 

To satisfy all living things, 
We feed the cities of our land; 

Their rivers have with us their springs. 

Redeem our rural life from care, 

From blindness to its mission high! 
May all who sow plow first with prayer! 
May all who harvest know Thee nigh! 

— Edward Tallmadge Root 
(Used by permission of the author) 

86 



CHAPTER VII 



CHRISTMAS CELEBRATIONS 



The Festival of Lights 

An African Christmas Service 

Carols in Africa 



\ pparently little has been done to develop truly indigenous 
* *■ celebration of the great historic festivals of the Christian 
year. Little material was found which seemed to be truly indige- 
nous material used in the celebration of Christmas, and practi- 
cally none for Easter, Pentecost, and the lesser festivals of the year. 
Christmas is celebrated more universally than any other Chris- 
tian festival. How the imagination \indles as one things of the 
celebration of the birth of the Redeemer and the coming of the 
Shepherds and the Magi among the peoples of the far lands of 
the earth. Thin\ of the starlit Christmas Eve under the velvet of 
an African s\y, the throngs of Indian villagers lighting their 
candles to symbolize the coming of the Light of the World to 
India, the drama and pageantry of celebration in North and South 
America, and across Europe. Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas 
tonight. Rural people everywhere find joy in bringing their gifts 
of adoration and praise to the feet of the infant Redeemer. 

8 7 



The Festival of Lights 

This Christmas service was prepared and used by the Rev. 
William S. Taylor at Indore, Central India, among Christians 
from rural areas. It is based on the Service of Lights used in the 
Greek Church at the time of the Nativity, even before the 
celebration of Christmas became an established custom in the 
Western Church. 

C At the beginning of the service the Church is fully lighted. 
When the people are seated, and the proper time has come, the 
choir marches in, coming slowly up the centre aisle, singing as 
they come, and take their place at the front of the Church. They 
have unlighted candles in their hands, but these are not displayed. 
Or the unlighted candles may be left in their seats for them to 
get as they reach the front. The next few items of the service, 
down to the reading of John i: 1-5, may be varied to suit local 
conditions, and may follow the ordinary order of service. They 
should be arranged, however, so as to give the congregation some 
part in the service, as they will take little active share in the latter 
part. The following items are merely suggestions: 

Invocation 

Hymn: A Christmas hymn with the whole congregation join- 
ing in 

Responsive Reading 

Recitation of the Disciples' Creed and the Lord's Prayer: (in 
unison) 

Prayer of Adoration and of Thanksgiving to God for the Gift of 
His Son 

Hymn: A Christmas hymn with the whole congregation join- 
ing in. At this point, the lights in the Church are dimmed, and 
from here on the order of service should be followed closely. 

88 



Address: The Minister briefly speaks on some such theme as 
I Am the Light of the World, showing how in Christ the Light 
of God came into the darkness of the world. He will finish by 
saying, We will now read the story of how this Light came 
into the world, or words to that effect. 

Old Testament Reading: A passage or passages, e.g., from Isaiah, 
dealing with the coming of the Christ. 

New Testament Reading: St. John i: 1—5, 9—14 

C At the words "And the Word became flesh," a large candle 
placed either on the altar or on a table at the front, is lighted. 
This is to represent the light of Christ. 

Hymn: Choir only, one verse of O Come All Ye Faithful, or 
some such hymn. 

C It would be best to have this memorized, as the light in 
the Church is too dim to read by, and the use of torches 
throws lights over the walls and ceiling that are distracting. 

New Testament Reading: Matthew 2: 1— 11 

C During the Scripture reading a star, suspended over the 
altar, is lit. 

Offering 

C Immediately after the Scripture is finished, three wise men 
march up the central aisle of the Church, from the doorway, 
singing as they come We Three Kings of Orient Are, and 
bringing their gifts. When they reach the front each one 
sings the verse appropriate to him, and lays his gift at the 
altar. Either during the course of this song, or immediately 
afterwards, the offering of the congregation is taken up. The 
wise men walk down the aisle to meet the people bringing 
the offering, take it from them, bring it to the front, and lay 
it at the altar with their gifts of gold, frankincense, and 
myrrh. They then withdraw. 

89 



New Testament Reading: Matthew 9: 13-18 

C As each disciple's name is called, he comes forward and 
lights his candle. No candle is lit for Judas, buts Acts 1 : 23-26 
is read and Matthias comes forward and lights the twelfth 
candle. 

Hymn 

C Choir only, one verse or two of a song of dedication. As 
before, this should, if possible, be memorized. 

New Testament Reading: Acts 26: 13-18 

C Paul comes forward and lights his candle. The minister 
explains how the elders of the Church get their light from 
the apostles, and how from them it has spread to all peoples 
of all lands. The elders come forward and light their candles 
from the twelve disciples, who have remained standing in a 
row at the front. The choir may here sing another verse of a 
hymn, if desired. The Minister pronounces the Benediction. 

The choir, the disciples, the elders, and as many of the 
congregation as know the words sing some well-known hymn, 
such as Onward Christian Soldiers, or The Morning Light 
Is Breaking. The congregation remains in their places during 
the singing of the hymn, but at the first words the choir 
starts to march out, lighting their candles from those of the 
elders as they pass in front of them, similarly holding their 
candle high. 

When the elders and disciples have reached the door, the 
lights of the Church may be turned on, and the congrega- 
tion may pass out. The elders and disciples, and perhaps the 
choir also, will by that time be waiting at the doors, and will 
give to every person as he passes out a candle, which he will 
light from those held by the elders and the disciples. In this 
way the symbolism will be carried a stage further. Many 
people will carry these candles home to their houses, there to 
light other candles around their house. 



90 



MATERIALS 

i) Candles — One large candle, and many packets of small can- 
dles which can be bought in packets of 50 for a few annas per 
packet. 

2) A Star — This can be easily made from a small box covered 
with black paper, with a small star cut in the side, and covered 
on the inside with white tissue paper so that the electric light bulb 
(if electricity is used) will not be visible. If there is no electricity, 
some other device must be used. 

3) Costumes — These are only necessary in the case of the three 
wise men. 

4) People must be selected and trained beforehand for the 
choir and the disciples. 

5) Cardboard bases in which the candles of the disciples and the 
elders may be fixed — to catch the dripping wax. The general 
symbolism is very easy to follow, and the effect of the lighted can- 
dles in the dim church, and in the dark compound outside when 
all the people are carrying them, is very beautiful. 

C If preferred, ( 1 ) the Church need not be dimmed until after 
the short address, or (2) the address may be placed just after Paul 
lights his candle. In this case the disciples leave their lights on the 
table during the course of the address, take their seats, and after 
the address come up and get their lights again. This seems a 
rather unsatisfactory arrangement however. 



An African Christmas Service 

This service comes from Northern Rhodesia. It is described in 
God's Candlelights by Mabel Shaw. 1 We have kept the descrip- 
tion of it in Miss Shaw's beautiful language, so that the atmos- 
phere of beauty and devotion may be caught by the reader. The 
service could well be reproduced in a rural setting anywhere 
in the world. 

C It was Christmas Eve and in their own school village that very 
evening there was to be the great act of worship of the Christmas 

1 Used by permission of the publisher, The Friendship Press, New York. 

91 



season, a gathering of the Tribe to greet its Chief. The rain did 
not come, but during the late afternoon the clouds banked up 
and looked threatening. 

Chief Kasembe came in with his drums and a great crowd of 
people, and they went to the village to wait there until the school 
bell should call them. 

As the sun set and lit up the smouldering clouds, quietness came 
upon the children, and a sense of expectancy. The school court- 
yard was all ready, the nsaka was formed into the outer room of 
the Inn at Bethlehem. The sky grew black, and blacker, but we 
went quietly on with our preparations, and when we were ready, 
and all the children dressed for their parts, we rang the bell. 

The children say it has another cry on Christmas Eve, it says 
"Come — come — come to the Chief." 

We lit up the nsaka. In a few minutes the people were pressing 
in. Gentle rain fell, but it did not deter them. And then the chief 
came. There was a movement and stir as his bells and beads 
jangled, he was taken to his place, and the rapidly increasing 
audience sat down. 

The children were sitting in school, very still. 

"The rain will stop, we know it will." 

I went out again and looked up. Through a cloud rift gleamed 
a star. An old man pointed to it. "The rain will pass," he said, 
"it is going down the valley." 

"Ask the chief," the children begged. 

I summoned up courage, and stooped down by his side. 

"We want to know, chief, if the rain will stop." 

He flicked his fly-switch towards the sky. "It will pass — it passes 
now" — and it did. 

We began. If it could have been a more beautiful service than 
other years, then it was. The stars just beamed light upon us, 
and all the little golden lamps glowed like the worshipping hearts 
of joyous children. We know nothing of Christmas stockings here, 
neither do we have Christmas trees. All our trees bear God's gifts 
to us, the kindly cooling shelter of leaves, forest fruits, healing 
leaves and bark for our ailments, food for our fires, wood for our 
houses and furniture. Neither do we have the old legends of 



92 



Father Christmas. The little Child is wonder enough, and the 
lovely stories of shepherds and wise men, of stars and little lamps, 
of angels, of the young Mother and her quiet wondering husband, 
of their journey to Bethlehem, of the inn, and the lighted city, 
all these are beauty and joy, colour and romance and rapture. 

They come from far, year after year; the old climbing up the 
hill from the village with the aid of sticks, the young Africans, 
well-dressed, familiar with modern cinema films — they all come 
to the school village. 

For the children it is their time of giving. One said to me, 
"On Christmas Eve we give our gift, on Christmas morning the 
Chief gives to us. I don't know which is better, they are both so 
good." It is a gracious and lovely gift of worship they give. All 
the reverence and courtesy, the childlikeness, the gay-hearted sim- 
plicity, the unquestioning faith of Africa are seen here, untouched 
and unspoiled, enshrined in one act. 

The bell that Christmas Eve softly called the vast audience to 
silence. Sweet soft voices from afar sang of wonder and joy, and 
from the darkness came the swaying bodies of the children who 
are called the "baby angels." They came, all white and gold, car- 
rying little swinging coloured lanterns that looked like glowing 
flowers. There was no sound but the far-off quiet singing, and the 
tiny bell-hung feet beating out a dance to the music of the carol. 

The chief sat forward and transfixed. Not a breath broke the 
silence as the children drew near to the nsaka and danced round 
to that far-off sweet hymning. The chief, who wore innumerable 
bells on his ankles, set his feet firmly so that no sound from him 
should mar the music of the bells on the dancing feet. 

Six tall angels drew near, holding aloft lamps like stars — they 
all gathered round the sleeping Babe and sang a little lullaby. 
They withdrew, moving to the rhythm of the hidden choir. 

A woman sitting in die nsaka came forward and lifted the 
Babe from the manger and gave Him into the arms of the 
Mother. Joseph, the guardian of the little fire, was a man in a 
dream because of this thing which had come to pass. The mother 
was Nellie Musonda, that year, and the Babe, her little month- 
old son. 



93 



The shepherds from their sheep and watch-fires and angel visi- 
tants; the kings with their gifts from the East where the star 
beckoned; the children with their flowers; the world's seekers after 
God: all, in their turn, came to the Bethlehem in our midst. And 
then the long procession of every man, kings and shepherds, high 
and low, wise and ignorant, the very old and the very young, and 
with them the angels representing the unseen spirit world, all 
with little star lamps encompassed the nsaka, and kneeling, put 
their lamps down, thus encircling it with light. There they sang 
the great hymn of the Christian Church, "O Come, all ye faith- 
ful, joyful and triumphant." 

As they sang the last verse, "Yea, Lord, we greet Thee," they 
knelt and greeted Him in their own beautiful way. With them, 
many in the audience bent forward to give their greeting. They 
rose and moved slowly away, a pageant of light and colour and 
music. At the far end of the courtyard they formed a cross, raised 
their lamps and sang, " Jesu, Word of God incarnate." Then it 
seemed to us that worship was too deep for words or action — 
the voices rang out through the clear still night, and sank into 
mystery and silence. 

Again the movement; the children took their places all round 
the big enclosure, lighting it up with their lamps. A knight, sym- 
bolic of the young Christian Church, moved into the centre. He 
wore the gleaming helmet of salvation, carried the shield of 
faith, and the sword of the Spirit. He came robed in black and 
gold, led and followed by the spirits of light, those who for ever 
attend him on his perilous pilgrimage through the world. 

He came to the Baby Chief to make his vows, and as he knelt 
there, someone sang, "There was a Knight of Bethlehem." Again 
the procession formed, and they went back, singing the last carol. 
The little angels who surrounded the Mother and her Child led 
her out and danced around her. It is said that the African women, 
though graceful walkers, are unable to dance with grace. The 
children on Christmas Eve are as little bits of thistledown floating 
around. Africa can give grace and beauty where she gives rever- 
ence and love. 

A European onlooker said to me one night, "How do you do 



94 



it?" Our answer was, "We don't, the children do it." It is their 
own gift, much of it their own interpretation. There are rarely 
more than three rehearsals, there is very little stage management, 
and the children carry the whole thing through. Before each move- 
ment or scene Chungu reads from the New Testament of the 
shepherds, the wise men, the Chief's call to the children, of the 
"Light that lighteth every man," of the procession from the east 
and the west, of the Christian warrior, of the one Chief and the 
one Tribe, and she closes with prayer. 

The audience sat that night as if loath to go — then it moved, 
rose, stretched itself, and began to stream towards the gates. It 
was quiet and orderly in spite of Chief Kasembe's presence. He 
waited for me. 

"It is good, good, good, and these children who do it, all white 
and clean, are they ours? Are they the children of my kingdom?" 

"Chief, they, with you, are the children of a Kingdom vaster 
than life and death." 

"Yes," he said thoughtfully — thanked me, and moved off. 

The drums were not beaten — only a little song accompanied 
him on his way to the village. 

Nelson Chakota, one of our evangelists, stopped behind to say 
thank you. "We always say this night that these white-clad chil- 
dren who do these wonders and sing these songs cannot be ours; 
we sit in wonder." 

He looked towards the nsaka. 

"Salvation came through a little Child, may it not come to us 
through these, our children?" It reminded me of something Re- 
becca had said in prayer. "Of old they said a child shall lead and 
save them. Here are our children, O Chief, gathered in this place, 
and they are beginning to lead us." 

But I had to leave the slowly dispersing audience and go into 
school. The children were sitting waiting. The noise of the crowd 
had not disturbed their calm; the last little act had to come. To- 
gether we asked the Chief to accept our gift and to bless us. 

They rose from their knees, and the tongues were loosed. 

"Was it good, Mama?" 

"And the singing — did we go flat?" 



95 



Who had words to answer such questioning when our hearts 
had been stirred to the depths by the sheer beauty of it all? 



Carols in Africa 

C It is Christmas night in Africa. The African moon hangs 
heavy in the tropical sky as the Christians gather to see the pageant. 
No building can hold them all, so the porch of the school building 
is used for a stage, and the audience sits under the open sky. 
Tonight the students portray the birth of the Christ Child. Behind 
them flows the slow-moving river. Such scenes are alien to its 
jungle shores. 

Mary's simple home is shown. African water jugs contribute to 
a realistic scene while Kwapchi, as Mary, receives Risku as Gabriel. 
Now the twelve shepherds, dressed in long blankets and carrying 
shepherds' crooks, sit about a real campfire watching their flocks, 
in reality the goats of the mission station. As they sing The Lord 
Is My Shepherd in their native tongue, Gabriel and his angels 
appear with the good tidings. Black angels, a black Gabriel, yes 
— but who told us that all the angels were white? 

King Herod in all his oriental splendor could not be more 
kingly than Dika, the head hospital lad, as he plays the part. The 
African audience in hushed awe thrills to the scene of the three 
wise men as they ask for the new king of the Jews who is to be 
born in Bethlehem. Rich African voices harmonize the beautiful 
Christmas carols O Little Town of Bethlehem, and Holy Night. 

Mary and Joseph are in the stable. Kwapchi and her husband, 
Shellon, gaze in adoration at the manger before them. Now come 
the eager shepherds and the dusky wise men with their gifts to 
the Christ Child. As they lay them at the foot of the rude manger 
crib, the entire audience, singing with the cast Joy to the World, 
brings its gifts. And in hushed reverence Balang offers a prayer 
of thanksgiving for the greatest of all gifts, He who was sent that 
all — black, white, brown, red and yellow — might have abundant 
life. 

96 



CHAPTER VIII 



OCCASIONAL SERVICES OF WORSHIP 
AND SACRAMENTS 



A Community Good Friday Service 

A Weed's Program of Daily Worship 

A Preparatory Service for Baptism 

A Candlelight Communion Service 

An Indian Christian Wedding 

Baptism in Assam 
The Christian and the Church 



97 



A Community Good Friday Service 

This service was prepared and led by the Rev. Loren W. 
Burch, in an American rural community, New Haven, N. Y. 

Organ Prelude: Passion Medley 

Call to Worship* 

Invocation* 

The Lord's Prayer* 

Violin Solo: A Ballad of Trees and the Master 

Responsive Reading 

Duet: The Old Rugged Cross 

A Moment of Silence 

litany of ADORtiTi(m*(Responsive) 

Leader: When we consider Jesus Christ, who, when crucified by 
sinful and lawless men, condemned them not, but rather cried 
out, Father forgive them, for they know not what they do; 

Response: We praise Thy Name, O Lord. 

Leader: When we consider His mercy toward a dying thief, so 
that He said, Verily I say unto thee, this day shalt thou be 
with Me in Paradise; 

Response: We praise Thy Name, O Lord. 

Leader: When we consider His tenderness toward His mother 
and that disciple whom He loved, and how He said, Woman 
behold thy Son, and, Son behold Thy mother; 

Response: We praise Thy Name, O Lord. 

Leader: When we consider the depth of His sorrow, so that He 
cried out, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? 

Response: We praise Thy Name, O Lord. 

* Congregation standing. 
9 8 



Leader: When we consider the intensity of His suffering so 

that He cried out, I thirst; 
Response: We praise Thy Name, O Lord. 
Leader: When we consider the great things accomplished by 

His life and death, and that He said, It is finished; 
Response: We praise Thy Name, O Lord. 
Leader: When we consider His sublime faith, so that in the hour 

of death He said, Father into Thy hands I commend My spirit; 
Response: We praise Thy Name, O Lord. Amen. 

The Doxology* 

Prayer 

Hymn:* Beneath the Cross of Jesus 

Sermon: The Glory of the Cross 

Hymn:* When I Survey the Wondrous Cross 

Benediction 

Postlude 



A Week's Program of Daily Worship 

Community Service in the Witness of the Church 

These worship plans were followed by rural churches in West- 
ern India in preparation for evangelistic witnessing. They are 
a part of a Gujarati book of worship for rural churches prepared 
for a three-month period, by the students and faculty of the 
Rural Church School, Vyara, Surat District, India. 

Daily Readings: 

Monday — Luke 10: 25-37. Th e Perfect Pattern of Service 
Tuesday — Mark 10: 32—45. The Grace of Christian Social Ser- 
vice 
Wednesday — Luke 4: 1 6-2 1. Service, the Ideal of Jesus 



* Congregation standing. 

99 



Thursday— Acts 9: 32-43. Dorcas — A Woman Who Served the 

Community 
friday — Acts 4: 31-37. Spirit of Service in the Early Church 
Saturday — Matthew 25: 31-46. The Results of True Service 

To Be Memorized: Mark 10: 44 

For Meditation: 

1. Christian Service is the true fruit of religion. If we do not 
serve, our religion is shown to be futile and insincere. The story 
of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10) teaches us that religion must 
issue in service. 

2. Whom shall we serve, and how? See Luke 4: 16-21. The 
true joy of Christian living is found in serving all — the poor, 
the prisoners, the blind, the sick, the children — all who are in 
need. 

3. What can Christian rural folk do about these problems? 

a. Poverty 

b. Malaria and other epidemic diseases 

c. Illiteracy 

d. Use of liquor and other drugs 

4. There is only one permanent and effective remedy for these 
evils, and that is the impact of the Gospel. 

5. As a Christian, is it not your responsibility to keep your 
home, your street, your village clean and beautiful? If right 
where you live old superstitions, old and harmful customs, and 
sorcery pass away, and give place to cleanliness, light, beauty, 
and love, then your service can be said to be real. 

Hymn to Be Sung 

Thanksgiving: 

Let us give thanks for Christian Institutions — schools, dis- 
pensaries, centers of rural reconstruction, homes for widows and 
orphans, and all places where the light of Christian service 
shines. 

Let us give thanks for all who have been drawn to Christ 
through such service. 



100 



Prayer and Intercession: 
Let us pray — 
That the Kingdom of God may come on earth and in our 

homes as it is in Heaven. 
That through the unselfish service of our doctors, nurses, and 

hospitals, many people may be brought to Christ. 
For those who are giving their all in the rural reconstruction 

of India and other lands. 
For all institutions of social service run by the Christian Church. 



A Preparatory Service for Baptism 

This preparatory service for baptism is from God's Candlelights, 
by Mabel Shaw, pp. 90-91. 1 It is a service designed to make 
baptism for the African girls as real and vital an experience as 
tribal initiation. It is from Northern Rhodesia. 

C The Baptismal Sunday came. The chapel service at dawn was 
one of preparation. After the opening praise and worship the girls 
came forward and knelt on the step before the apse. I told the 
children of the knights of old who pledged themselves to their 
chief, and of the Bakalume ba mfumu of their own land who 
lived near their chief to do his bidding. That to which our girls 
were giving themselves that day was the final act of initiation. 
They gave themselves to the Chief in the great congregation, and 
He, with all His people, the quick and the dead, received them. 
It was for them to guard the Tribe's law and tradition, to obey 
their Chief's behest, to eat of the Chief's food, and be His good 
tribesmen forever. I talked of signs and symbols well known to 
them, and then of the water in baptism, the symbol of initiation 
and cleansing. It is water that cleanses us day by day, and only 
the clean-hearted can stand before the Chief. 

They all stood. I said: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they 
shall see God. 



1 Used by permission of the publisher, The Friendship Press, New York. 

101 



Again they knelt, and I asked them: Whose people are you? 
We are the people of the Chief. 

What is the Chief's name? 

It is the Chief Jesus Christ. 

What is the law of His Kingdom? 
It is the law of love. 

To what does He call you? 

To obedience, to love and to service. 

What are the bounds of His Kingdom? 

His Kingdom has no bounds, it is everywhere and forever. 

Then they rose and said: We are the people of the Chief 
through all days of our life, and through death we pass 
into His presence, and join the Tribe triumphant. 

We then sang a hymn of praise to the Chief. 

Later on they went to the Church in white dresses, and with 
others were baptized. At the end of the day they spent a little 
time in the chapel alone. 



A Candlelight Communion Service 

This service was prepared by Rev. James D. Wyker, for his 
rural community church in North Jackson, Ohio. 

Hymns: (seated and unannounced) 

ANTIPHONAL READING 

Persons on the east: Let us sit quietly and leave the door ajar, 

for God. 
Persons on the west: Seek ye Jehovah while he may be found; 

call ye upon him while he is near. 
East: Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? 
West: He that hath clean hands and a pure heart. 



102 



East: Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves 

a year old? 
West: What doth the Lord require of thee but to do justly, and 

to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? 

Special Music: Jesus Calls Us 

Readers — Lessons in Purity and Self-Control: 

i. I must live in the world. What shall I do about worldliness? 
Ephesians 4: 17; 5: 16, 17; 4: 27. Phil. 3: 18, 19. 

2. What are the ultimate consequences if I keep on sinning? 
Ephesians 4: 19. Gal. 5:19-21. 

3. I find it so easy to be self complacent and slothful. Romans 
14: 7, 13, 16, 19. 

4. Now that I am converted, what? Ephesians 4: 22, 23, 31, 32. 

5. Would that my testimony might compare to that of St. 
Paul to the Corinthians. II Cor. 4: 11— 13. 

Hymn: The Height and Depth of DiVine Love 

What the Lord's Supper Means to Me 

Meditation and Silence: Preparing myself for communion 

Prayer for a Right Mental Attitude — 
Cleanse Thou me from secret faults. 
Out of the heart cometh the issues of life. 
Help me to open wide the inner doors of my soul, tonight 

before Thee alone. 
Prayer for a right attitude toward others — 
All we like sheep have gone astray. 
We have left undone those things which we ought to have 

done. 
Withhold me from this table, my Lord, so long as I harbor 

any sin such as jealousy, hatred, greed, falsehood. 
I pledge myself to reconcile that particular wrong in my life. 
Prayer for Peace and Quiet — 
I am meek and lowly of heart and ye shall find rest unto your 

souls. 



103 



Let me relax — and relinquish petty purposes. 
I was made to enjoy God, and to glorify Him. 
Let me sacrifice myself, completely, as Jesus did. 

The Holy Communion at the Altar: (groups of about 15 come 
by the center aisle, return by outer) 

Parting Hymn: In the Cross of Christ 

Benediction 



An Indian Christian Wedding 

In this account of a wedding in Tinnevelly, South India, the 
ritual is surrounded by many distinctly Indian features which 
make it peculiarly attractive. The description is taken from 
Worship in Other Lands, by H. P. Thompson, (Society for the 
Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, London) and is 
quoted by permission of the publisher. 

Following it is an account of a wedding at Kolhapur, India, 
used by permission from the same source. 

C All the preliminaries so necessary to a wedding in South India 
have been carried through, the future fathers- and mothers-in-law 
are all satisfied, and all that now remains is to begin the final 
arrangements for the marriage, which will take place from the 
bride's house. The first step is to build the marriage pandal (an 
open-air booth), for apart from the many guests there will be 
also the poor to be fed. The help of the priest is sought, and he 
must proceed to the house and plant the first upright to form the 
pandal. This is usually in the village street. When the hole is 
ready to receive the pole, the members of the family gather round, 
and after extempore prayer the post is planted, and is then smeared 
by the priest with the sign of the cross in sandal-wood paste. 

On the day of the wedding, as the bride is being dressed, her 
friends and female relatives sit round and sing sacred songs, wish- 
ing her every blessing. 



104 



Again after the service in church all gather in the pandal, and 
while lyrics are sung flower petals are thrown towards the bridal 
couple. It is a gesture of wishing the same blessings upon all if 
the bride and bridegroom throw back a few of the petals. 

After an exchange of garlands between bride and bridegroom, 
silence is kept, while first one and then another offers prayers to 
God, all concluded by the priest pronouncing the blessing. 



C The day before the wedding the bride is given a bath in which 
turmeric powder has been sprinkled, and eight or more green 
glass bangles are bought and placed on both arms. 

Early the next morning the bride's girl friends again assist her 
to have a bath, while the husband's friends in his house are doing 
the same thing for him. Then the husband's people bring the 
wedding clothes for the girl, a blessing is asked on the clothes, 
and the girl is dressed by her friends. The husband has put on 
his new clothes, and both parties now come to the church for the 
wedding ceremony. 

After the service the bride and bridegroom are garlanded by 
their friends, and after receiving congratulations the combined 
parties now go to the husband's house. Here the house has been 
decorated with mangotree branches and leaves of the banana palm 
(emblems of fruitfulness). The husband and wife sit on a mat 
in the centre of the room, and their friends in turn come up and 
bring their wedding presents, and lay them in front of the newly 
married couple. These gifts are usually household pots and pans 
and clothing. 

On this day the usual curries are not eaten, only sweet things. 
At the meal the husband must first take a little rice in his hand 
and feed his bride, and she must then do the same for him. 
There is usually a good deal of happy laughter over this part of 
the proceedings, as both the husband and wife are terribly shy 
of each other. 

There is still another ordeal before them, and that is the cere- 
mony of using in public for the first and last time their Christian 
names. It is not considered polite for a husband or wife ever to 



105 



use each other's name. Either each speaks of the other as "they" or 
"my master" or "my family," or employs a pet name. But on this 
occasion the husband makes a little sentence bringing in his wife's 
name, and she must do the same with her husband's name. 

A padre usually attends the feast, and after prayer and a little 
singing he gives a short address to the newly married couple, and 
then, before the friends disperse, the gifts of the husband to the 
girl's parents are received, whilst the girl's parents in their turn 
give to the husband a new suit, and to the girl two saris, bedding, 
and household cooking pots and a water-jar. 

Amongst the gifts by friends to the bride and bridegroom are 
always two coconuts and five bananas and a little rice, indicating 
the wish of their friends that they may have a large family and 
health and prosperity. 



Baptism in Assam 

An example of baptism in which the ancient sacrament is well 
adapted to the culture of the people is this account from 
Worship in Other Lands, by H. P. Thompson. Used by permis- 
sion of the publishers, The Society for the Propagation of the 
Gospel in Foreign Parts, London. 

C There were some twenty-five candidates in all, ranging from a 
man with grey hair, a father of a family, to an infant only a few 
days old. For the first part of the service they were lined up out- 
side the west door of the church, with a very large congregation 
overflowing into the road. Then from the padre's house the cross- 
bearer and priest with two assistant ministers arrived. The first 
part of the service was taken — the prayers, the Gospel, and the 
Thanksgiving. Then for the promise the candidates were bidden 
to turn to the west, the direction of the setting sun, the end of 
the day being symbolic of the end of the old life of sin, which 
by their promise they now renounce. Then for the other promises 
they turned to the east, the direction of the rising sun, the begin- 
ning of the new day symbolizing the beginning of a new life in 
the faith of Jesus. 

106 



The procession was then marshalled to go to the river. First a 
cross-bearer followed by five drummers, then the congregation, 
each with flags or palms or flowers. Then the second cross-bearer 
flanked by palm-bearers followed by the clergy, then lastly the 
third cross-bearer leading the candidates. These are dressed in 
their oldest clothes, arrangements having been made at the river- 
side with screens and attendants, men and women, who bring the 
new clothes. 

The procession advanced to the river singing Mundari bhajans, 1 
led by the drums. As they progressed, as on the first Palm Sunday, 
the people climbed the trees and cut down branches to carry 
along the road. Arriving at the river the first cross-bearer led the 
congregation on to a bridge and to the opposite side of the river. 
Then the second cross-bearer led the clergy and candidates to 
the place arranged for the ceremony. The priest, Paulus, then 
entered the river and said the prayer of blessing of the water, 
signing with the sign of the cross. After this the whole congre- 
gation sang the hymn In Token That Thou Shalt Not Fear Christ 
Crucified to Own. 

Then the first candidate came down to the river's edge, and 
entering the water he was immersed three times at the three-fold 
name of the Trinity. He then returned to the attendants and re- 
ceived his new clothing. When all had been baptized, the pro- 
cession was marshalled for the return journey. It is the custom 
that this time the candidates lead the way and the congregation 
follow. Returning to the church, they stood in a line outside the 
west door to receive the sign of the cross; We receive this child 
into the congregation of Christ's flock and do sign him with the 
sign of the cross in token. . . . 

This ended, a catechist led them to the church door where, on 
entering, each received a lighted candle, this symbolizing that 
Christ is the Light of the world, His word a lantern to guide 
our feet on the road of the new life. 

Then followed the final thanksgiving, all standing, before the 
sanctuary, and the exhortation from the padre that each will walk 
worthy of the life begun and the promises made that day. 



1 Spirituals. 

107 



The Christian and the Church 

This is one of a series of worship services used in the Rural 
Institute, at Hsia Shuang Keng, China, in 1940. 

Call to Worship 

Song: (Audience) 

Silence 

Leader: Psalms 122: 1; 95: 1, 2; 84: 1, 2a 

Song: I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord 

Prayer: (Leader) 

Responsive Scripture: Psalm 84 

Gloria 

Scripture: Ephesians 3: 14—21 (designated person) 

Song: Church of China, Arise and Stand 1 

Silent Prayer: Praying especially that we as members of the Chi- 
nese church shall be faithful and strong, a help and not a hin- 
drance, a light revealing the power of Christ in His Church, a 
living, serving, member of His Church, willing to sacrifice for 
the church and our fellowmen, our fellow Christians. This 
silent prayer followed by audible prayer by some member of 
the group asked previously or by the leader. 

Benediction: Ephesians 3: 20, 21 (leader) 

1 Not in English, but a powerful song — a real marching song for the church 
in China. 



108 



CHAPTER IX 



HYMNS OF THE RURAL CHURCH 



Lord, for Thy Revealing Gifts 

Great Are Thy Mercies 

Dakota Hymn (Lacquiparle) 

Rural Hymns from Africa 

Hymn to be Used at Seed Consecration Service 

For Home or Church Building Consecration 

Harvest Festival Worship Service 

Prayer Hymn for Rain 

Adventures in Music for African Worship 

Men of the Soil 



npHERE is an increasing number of hymns which have grown 
•*- out of the country churches around the world, some of them 
of singular beauty and richness. In the few which are given here, 
there are representatives of several lands. Those hymns which are 
customarily sung to well-\nown western tunes have the tune indi- 
cated by name. 



109 



Lord, for Thy Revealing Gifts 

C This lovely nature hymn is Chinese in form and content. It is 
taken from Hymns of Universal Praise, edited by Bliss Wiant, 
and is used by his permission. 



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Tzu jan fu yu hua t'u seh, 

Na - ture is full of col - or 

Ling hsing hua k'ai shih jen - pi, 
Flow'ring from the ar - tis-tic heart; 

T'ien chen liu lu yueh yin chung, 

Na - ture gives a mus - ic sweet, 

Shen ch'i shih chien hsin yi - shu, 
That re-veals a Fa - ther's art; 

ching ying ts'an tan shih chiuen, 

He with care con -trives them all, 

Wan hsiang yin jen chien chen shih. 

Thus per-ceived we know in part. Amen. 



no 



Great Are Thy Mercies 

C The tune of this hymn comes from a Chinese Folk-Song, en- 
titled, Song of the Hoe. It was first used as a Christian hymn in 
193 1, in a book consisting entirely of Chinese tunes and original 
hymns by Dean T. C. Chao, Yenching University School of Re- 
ligion. It was subsequently used in Hymns of Universal Praise, a 
union hymnal used by almost all churches in China today. The 
music was edited and the English translation done by Bliss Wiant, 
through whose courtesy it is here used. 

Dr. Chao wished to breathe a Christian spirit into the secular 
words, and did it very well indeed. The last line is especially 
beautiful. The literal translation of it is, God is the spring wind; 
I am grass: Let Him blow! 

Key — C. Tune: Ch'u T'ou Ke (Song of the Hoe) 



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Great are thy mercies, Heavenly Father; 
T'ien shang ti fu ch'in Ta sse pei ya; 

All our food and shel-ter thou dost give. 
Shang wo ch'ih ch'uan yang yang tou ch'uan pei. 

Serving Thee, Ev'-ry day, Humbly would I live. 

Wo ting yao Fu ts'ung ta, Hsiang t'a hsing Chi'en pei. 

I'm a ten-der blade of grass — Breathe on me. 

T'a shih ch'un feng, wo shih ts'ao — Jang t'a ch'uei. 



in 



Dakota Hymn (Lacquipatle) 

Paraphrased by Philip Frazier of the Dakotas 



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Man - y and great, God, are Thy things, Mak - er of 
Grant ud - to us com - nun - ion with Thee, Thou star - a- 



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Arth |F and sley. Thy hands have set 



earth 1 and sky. Thy hands have set the heav - ens with stars, 
bid - ing One; Come un - to us and dwell with us, 



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Thy fin - gers spread the noon - tains and plains. Lo, at thy 



Thy fin - gers spread 

With Thee are found the gifts 



life. Bless us with 



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rord the wa - ters were formed, Deep seas o - bey Thy voice. 



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word the wa - ters were formed. Deep seas o - b'ey "Thy 

life that has no end, b - ter-nal life with Thee. 



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112 



Rural Hymns from Africa 

C These hymns are among the best examples of real rural Chris- 
tian folk songs which have come out of the developing conscious- 
ness of worship in more primitive peoples. They were collected 
and sent by Rev. Julian S. Rea, of Kambini, P. E. Africa, where 
they had their origin. They were first published in English as a 
mimeograph bulletin by Agricultural Missions, Inc. 

Hymn to be Used at Seed Consecration Service 

Leader: Seed we bring 

All: Lord, to Thee, wilt Thou bless them, O Lord! 

Leader: Gardens we bring 

All: Lord, to Thee, wilt Thou bless them, O Lord! 

Leader: Hoes we bring 

All: Lord, to Thee, etc. 

Leader: Hands we bring 

All: Lord, to Thee, etc. 

Leader: Ourselves we bring 

All: Lord, to Thee, etc. 

C Leader may put in as many verses as he likes, using such 
words as knives, hoes, seed, etc. As each particular article or 
some special seed is mentioned, it is held up. The following 
tune is used: 



^ JllTj-j"rJ^riTj | J-JJJ^I JJ ^l 



Tim-be-wu ha ne-ha Hosi ka we-na nga u hi ka-te-ki-so Ho-si 
Our seed we bring Lord to thee May you bless it, Lord 



Leader All 



"3 



Hymn used at Both Seed Consecration 
and Harvest Festival Time 



Leader: The man who works 
Leader: The man who digs 
Leader: The man who plants 
Leader: The man who harvests 
etc., etc., etc. 

(Our hymnal has 36 suggestions for verses. This is sung to a 
simple Tswa refrain of 17 notes.) 



All: He it is who rejoices greatly 

All: He it is who rejoices greatly 

All: He it is who rejoices greatly 

All: He it is who rejoices greatly 



For Home or Church Building Consecration 

Leader: Lord, we thank Thee this day. 

All: We thank Thee, Lord. (Response after each line) 

Leader: Thou who art source of all strength. 

Leader: You caused us to build this building. 

Leader: Lord, we thank Thee because of the carriers. 

Leader: You helped us cut the trees. 

Leader: We thank Thee for the building. 

Leader: In this house we will remember Thee. 

Leader: In this house we will worship Thee. 

(Many other verses may be improvised to suit the occasion.) 



Harvest Festival Worship Service 



Note: All this type of song originated because of our first 
efforts in connection with that service ten years ago. 

I. 

Leader: On this day 

Women: Amen, we are glad 

Men: We give thanks, deeply 

Leader: We thank the Lord 

Women: Amen, we are glad 

Men: We give thanks, deeply 



(sung jointly as 
response) 

(sung jointly as 
response) 



114 



Leader: 


Who has helped us 


Leader: 


That we have health 


Leader: 


That we dig our gardens 


Leader: 


To cause rain 




etc. 


Leader: 


That we reap a rich 




harvest 




etc. 




etc. 



(Refrain as before) 



2. 

Leader: 

We thank Thee, Lord 

We have lived another year 

You blessed us greatly 

With sun and rain 

We thank Thee with seed 

We thank Thee with corn 

etc., etc., etc. 
Lord, receive us 
We will serve Thee 
All through our lives 



All: 

We thank Thee, Lord 

We have lived another year 

You blessed us greatly 

With sun and rain 

We thank Thee with seed 

We thank Thee with corn 

etc., etc., etc. 
Lord, receive us 
We will serve Thee 
All through our lives 



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Prayer Hymn for Rain 

Lord, this famine! 

Lord, we lack 

Food to feed our bodies. 

refrain: 
Men in Unison: Send the rains! 

All: Send the rains! Send the rains! 

They will make soft the earth, our soil. 
Drought defeats us. 
Rain goes to one side. 
We are left in famine! refrain: 
/ 



"5 



The cattle they groan. 

Children they cry. 

They lack food, refrain: 

Lord, heed 

Come and help us. 

Help us in this death! refrain: 

Note: This is used with a simple African tune and originated at 
the boys' school. 



Adventures in Music for African Worship 

This note on African music by Ephraim Amu is included in 
this book because it is the statement of an African who sees 
the beauty and value of the music of his people when used in 
the Christian church. 



C. When Christianity was introduced into Africa, European hymns 
were translated into a number of African languages and taught 
to the Christians. There appear to be two possible reasons why the 
missionaries took this course. First, that, because of insufficient 
insight, African airs appeared to the missionaries as unsuitable for 
Christian purposes; and, second, that the difference between Af- 
rican music and European music is so great that the study of 
African music, which is still no easy task for the professional 
European musician, was an almost impossible task for the mis- 
sionaries. 

The following are some of the describable differences between 
African and European singing: 

The basic rhythm of African music is a regular alternation of 
double and triple effect. 

Speech intonation is very closely observed in singing, and any 
disregard of it is in the majority of cases likely to make the words 
suggest an entirely different meaning from the one they were 
originally meant to convey. 

The most important form of singing that obtains in Africa is 

\ 

116 



the solo and chorus form, in which the soloist improvises the 
words. 

Singing in parts is more the rule than the exception. In the 
main it is two-part singing, the parts moving in parallel thirds 
intercepted here and there by a fourth or fifth. 

What is indescribable is the spirit in which the singers sing 
and the spontaneity of self-expression, both of which make for the 
ultimate effect of African singing. In view of the differences re- 
ferred to, European hymn singing is to the African, be he literate 
or illiterate, rather dull. To say, however, that European hymn 
singing should therefore be abandoned is to be unreasonable. On 
the other hand, if music is to be made to play in the life of 
African Christians the part it plays in the life of Africans in 
general, then the singing of African songs should be encouraged 
in the Church. 

The right course to take in the further development of African 
music requires a very careful study by those Africans who are 
specially interested in their country's music. It is a matter of 
experimenting in different ways. However, this much can be said: 
that there does not seem to be the need for inventing a different 
musical notation from the current Western musical notation; that 
the study of the principles of Western music is as absolute a 
necessity as is the careful study of African music; that the right 
use of the principles of Western music in developing African 
music lies not in adoption but adaptation; and lastly, but most 
important of all, that in developing African music every effort 
should be made to retain its characteristic brevity and simplicity, 
both of which make for spontaneity of self-expression. 



117 



flSOMTZDgAMR 




— 



Men of the Soil 1 

b890<t7203849a Danish Folk Tune 

By Harold Hildreth 

Men of the soil! We have labored unending, 

We have fed the world upon the grain that we have grown, 

Now with the star of the new day ascending, 

Giants of the earth, at last we rise to claim our own. 

Justice thru-out the land, Happiness as God has planned, 

Who is there denies our right to reap where we have sown? 

Men of the soil! Now the torch we have lighted, 
Kindles fire in every land where rings the harvest song! 
Shoulder to shoulder in courage united 

From every race we comfe to join the tillers' mighty throng. 
Earth ne'er shall eat again Bread gain'd thru blood of men, 
We have sworn to right forevermore the ancient wrong. 

Men of the soil! We are coming in judgment, 

To tell the world till justice rules there is no liberty, 

We in our strength are arising as prophets, 

Marching on to show the world the dawn that is to be. 

There's a lightning in the sky, There's a thunder shouting high; 

'We will never stop until the sons of men are free. 



A Prayer for Agriculture 
Almighty God, who hast blessed the earth that it should be 
fruitful and bring forth abundantly whatsoever is needful for the 
life of man; prosper, we beseech Thee, the labours of the hus- 
bandman, and grant such seasonable weather that we may gather 
in the fruits of the earth, and proclaim Thy great goodness with 
Thanksgiving; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

— The Book, of Common Order (Presbyterian) 

1 Used by permission of Cooperative Recreation Service. 

118 



RE5H 
ZIEGLER .26? 

Rural people at worship 



This book may be kept 

FOURTEEN DAYS 

A. fine of TWO CENTS will be charged 
for each day the book is kept overtime. 


MIS H'59 












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