Laura Smit is a faculty member in the religion department at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Articles by this author:
It seems to me that people are no longer asking the question to which the ascension is the answer. For the Reformed tradition, the doctrine of God’s transcendence, God’s otherness, God’s glory, and God’s sovereignty are central, coupled with an awareness of God as our Creator, the one for whom we are made. Such an understanding of God raises the need for a mediator as our most profound existential question.
I wrote this service for a couple I married several years ago. Recently a colleague found it useful for a wedding he did, and now friends of that couple have asked for copies, so perhaps others will find this helpful too.
Declaration of Intent
I. The Way of Creation/Re-creation
The First Lesson: Genesis 2:18-25
Affirmation of the Families
Come, let us worship and bow down': service plans for a four-week series based entirely on the psalms
In crafting a series that explores the richness of the Psalter for the life of prayer, I considered two approaches. The first was to spend one week on each of the main types of prayer in the psalms—for example, lament, songs of praise, enthronement psalms—choosing one psalm from each category to be that type’s model and the focus for the preaching and worship of that week’s service.
The idea for this series was planted when I first read the words to the carol "White Lent" in The Oxford Book of Carols (London: Oxford University Press, 1965. No. 144). The carol is six stanzas long, set to the familiar Christmas tune ANGEVIN, known to most of us as "O Leave Your Sheep." It was the third stanza that so struck me:
Lyle Schaller, the church-growth guru, suggests that one strategy for revitalizing a church is to cancel the "summer slump." Most churches do go through a slump period in the summer: the pastor and the choir go on vacation; the Sunday School doesn't meet; and church attendance drops dramatically. Schaller points out that summer is also the time when the greatest number of visitors (and potential new members) come through most churches, so he advocates maintaining a full program throughout the summer.