Worship Moment Maker

What exactly is an Ebenezer?

Worship moments can be created in any number of ways.  Here's a great way to give meaning and context to one of the great hymns.

Come Thou Fount is one of my favorite hymns, but I must admit when I first sang the line, "Here I raise my Ebenezer..." I immediately had the mental image of lifting up Scrooge McDuck from Mickey's Christmas Carol.  While comical, it's not what author Robert Robinson had in mind.  Robinson is referencing 1 Samuel 7:

Then Samuel took a stone...and named it Ebenezer for he said "Thus far the Lord has helped us".

You can dive into the etymology of the word, but essentially an Ebenezer is a reminder of God's faithfulness.  In this particular story, the Israelites defeat the Phillistines to take back the Ark of the Covenant and Samuel marks the place with a stone of remembrance.  While Samuel used a stone, anything can serve as a reminder.  So how can you create a memorable moment in your worship set from an Ebenezer?

Moment Makers

  • Explain the meaning and allow time for everyone to recall and meditate on a time of God's faithfulness before singing the song.
  • Invite short prayers of thankfulness to be prayed out loud in the service
  • Use the intro of the song to show images of Ebenezers

Conclusion

Ebenezers are created in times of celebration and are powerful reminders in times of trial.  Understanding the lyric gives so much more meaning to that powerful verse.  Take the time to explain it and you'll create a moment to remember.  So what kind of Ebenezers have you built in your life?

Jason Houtsma serves as Worship Pastor for Mosaic Church in Bellingham, WA, Husband to Alli, Father to Bjorn and Asher, and guitar instructor for WorshipArtistry.com

Worship Moment Maker

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Comments

Great reminder

Thank you Jason, for taking the time not only to teach us how to play songs on our guitars, but teaching us the importance to know what we're singing and especially teaching us how to lead the church to worshipping God in song. I really enjoy the green room. I think it's an excellent place for us to learn much more than playing an instrument.

Thanks so much.

I love this section of the site. We've had some great conversations so far...

Moment making

Thanks for the thoughts about moment-making in worship. I agree, that sometimes that moment is the only thing I remember from the whole service. After reading this post and the "Creating Memorable Moments in Worship" post, do you or anyone else have any other ideas for creating those moments?

I love

offering a short story as to why I chose a particular song, meditating on a specific verse, reading scripture aloud together or leading songs in a very different way. One of my favorite times recently, I started the gathering leading Rich Mullins' "Step By Step" on just my unplugged acoustic and no powerpoint. It was a beautiful moment.

Standing Stones

I love the idea of standing stones or "Ebenezer". Five years ago this month, we have 45' of our basement wall collapse at 4:15am. Just a few hours later, we had 20% of our church family at the house helping us clean-up and secure our home. In the following weeks, we saw God move directly in our lives as we put our home back together. As a result, we found a very large stone and stood it up in front of our home as a reminder of what God did in this place. To help us be intentional about telling His story, we put the words of Psalm 46 in Hebrew on the stone. Now when people come to our home (UPS, FedEx, repair men, etc), they always ask what that stone says and means. We are then given an opportunity to tell them it says "Come and see what the Lord has done". And we get to them the His story of how He rescued us from the mud through acts of kindness.