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Many people are used to the idea of Lenten practices—giving up coffee or chocolate, perhaps, or doing some kind of regular spiritual discipline during the weeks before Easter. The worship planners at All Nations Church took that concept and applied it to Easter. What would Easter practices look like? Why do we do what we do every Sunday? Why do we go through the same motions? These practices are for Easter, but since every Sunday is a little Easter, they are encouragement for all Christians, in every season.
It’s December. Shoppers and worshipers alike greet each other: “Merry Christmas!” “Happy holidays!” Maybe even (on Sunday): “Peace and joy!”
This service was built on earlier examples, especially the ordination service of Cindy Holtrop, who serves on the staff of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship.
As with the preceding service of installation, this service of ordination draws significantly on baptism imagery.
God's Greeting and Call to Worship
According to the Iona community’s Wild Goose Worship Group, Lent, Holy Week, and Easter “are marked by a series of progressions.” As Christ walked a path marked by suffering and unparalleled victory, so believers follow in his steps—“through fear to courage, from private suspicion to public testimony, from a scattered band of loners and losers to a tightly knit community of faith” (Stages on the Way: Worship Resources for Lent, Holy Week & Easter, p. 11).
John Bell has been avoiding me.
In the past few years, I’ve been increasingly nurtured by the music the Iona Community produces and distributes. But for most of that time, the hope that I would ever encounter Bell, perhaps its best-known member, had been diminishing.