Whether you call it the Recessional Hymn or the Retiring Procession, we sing a hymn at the end of each service to cap off Sunday morning and send us out into the world (or at least to coffee hour).
Some of you may have noticed that this week's retiring procession, Go forth for God (#347 in our Hymnal 1982) was the same as last week. If you wondered why, you have come to the right blog.
Last season, as part of a larger effort to encourage congregational singing, we chose hymns to sing in the service that would stay the same for three weeks or so. The idea was that if people were more familiar with certain hymns, they would feel more comfortable singing them in church. One Sunday last May, I happened to look down from the choir loft while the congregation was singing a piece of music very familiar to us: the Sanctus. It is sung every Sunday after the children come in from Sunday School. I saw the enthusiasm with which one child in particular sang a familiar line, and it occurred to me: the hymn that we keep for several weeks should be the closing hymn so that our children can become more familiar with these tunes as well.
So, when we sing it one last time this Sunday, my hope is that more among us, young and old, will hear the tune with a familiar ear and join in singing!