There are special seasons in the Christian year that provide opportunities to observe, commemorate, and celebrate important moments in the life of Jesus Christ. These include the season of Advent and the birth of Jesus, the season of Lent, a time of personal reflection and meditation on the rejection and death of Jesus. The forty days of the Lenten season is followed by the celebration of Easter and the resurrection of our Lord. The birth of the Christian church is celebrated at Pentecost, which follows the Easter Celebration. At Donelson, we have special services of readings, music, and meditations to enrich our understanding of these Seasons.
Christmas – We gather weeks ahead of Christmas, to decorate the church. The drama team practices their parts for the Readings and Carols service, the Sanctuary Choir practices their special cantata for a service of music. Each is an offering to call us to the true spirit of Christmas – a season of joy and goodwill.
Lent – We begin our Lenten journey of prayer and reflection on Ash Wednesday. With a simple meal we gather, recognizing we are entering a solemn time that reflects the trials that Jesus experienced in his life and how sin in our lives can rob us of the peace that Christ offers us. Near the end of the forty days of Lent we have a Maundy Thursday Service and Communion to recognize Jesus last meal with his disciples. On Good Friday, our drama team along with its music ensemble carries us through the heartache of injustice and violence of the Crucifixion.
Easter Sunday – While the Lenten season gives a sobering note to the Christian story, we are not left there. Easter is the celebration of Jesus resurrection and the promise of new life for those who believe in God’s ultimate love for us. On Easter we gather with family and friends to celebrate through songs of joy and thanksgiving, scriptures and words of hope, concluding with Handel’s triumphant “Hallelujah Chorus” by our Sanctuary Choir.
On Pentecost Sunday we bring out the traditional red color and special music to celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Then we enter into the season of Ordinary Time, where we have special services to remember our heritage as reformed Christians and celebrate those who have preceded us as faithful servants in our church and the world. During the year the youth of our church contribute to our worship services with special music, drama and serve as liturgists. Their growth in faith and evidence of promise is highlighted in their annual Youth Sunday.
Don’t be surprised, since you are in the Music City, when many of our members pull out their guitars, dobros, mandolins, or bass and bring us a Bluegrass Sunday. Memories of old hymn favorites from family porch jams, community “tent meetings,” or contemporary performance bring a powerful message of faith, hope, and celebration – now that’s not ordinary.
We also have special services that focus on a particular theme or celebration. Recently, we have had a month of Sundays in which we focused on the spiritual themes to be found in particular movies, including “The Sound of Music,” “Sister Act,” and other favorites.
We also have special services that focus on a particular artist, musician, or writer. We have in the past had services celebrating the spiritual themes of the music of Mozart, or the poetry of Emily Dickinson. We Presbyterians believe that God can speak in all things. We enjoy listening for God’s Word in various places!”