Every June issue of Reformed Worship is a theme issue, and every year the Reformed Worship staff and editorial council weigh various themes. Some of our theme issues have dealt with "hot button" topics of our time. Last year, when the RW editorial council discussed what the next theme issue should be, the Lord's Supper was clearly at the top of the list.
Have-you ever tried to picture what the great wedding banquet of the Lamb will be like? Those three images—of wedding, banquet, and Lamb—are poetic metaphors of what lies "beyond the Jordan," to use another metaphor. Every time we meet for worship, we anticipate another time when we will begin a worship service that will be so perfectly planned and carried out that we won't want it to end. And it won't. Scripture is full of poetic language that gives us hints and glimpses of what eternal life is all about.
This past year was one of the most invigorating enjoyable, and exhausting years I have spent for a long time. In the March 1997 issue (RW 43:2) T wrote that I was on a partial study leave to deal with a number of questions:
Quiz time! Without digging out that old bulletin, what did your pastor preach on last Sunday morning?
Not a clue? You're in good company. You belong to the ninety-and-nine percent of the Coro's sheep who don't remember either.
One of my strongest memories, of growing up is the tradition we and many others used to share of coffee time after church on Sunday morning. Mom would always bake a cake on Saturday, and Dad would often invite visitors at church to come over for coffee, perhaps to stay for dinner. As a matter of course, one of the topics of conversation was the sermon we had just heard. I cut my theological teeth on those conversations, while listening to the adults wonder about this point or that emphasis or that interpretation.
Have you ever filled put one, of those product cards in a card pack or magazine? I ordered a catalog from "Banner Media Services," hoping to get some new banner ideas for use in worship. But the word banner was used in quite a different way than I expected; the company was marketing audiovisual equipment. More catalogs followed from different companies that mysteriously got my address; they offered a dizzying array of sound boards, microphones, video systems, "cassette ministry" systems, and more.
This past June, my home congregation learned that we would be losing one of our two pastors, the adult choir director, and the organist. They all left for good and different reasons. But the joy of Pentecost Sunday was muted when I heard that day that all three would be leaving.
Allow me to introduce myself. I'm the rookie theological editor at CRC Publications. Apart from sending our authors' occasional doctrinal slip-ups into cyberspace (and unwittingly appending my own), I also get to join the editorial staff of RW. That means I now have opportunity to watch these gifted people work their magic. I come at this after twenty years in the parish ministry. What credentials do I bring to my new role?
A few weeks ago, Bruce Klanderman, organist at the Rochester (N.Y.) Christian Reformed Church, sent me a chart of the number of Psalter Hymnal songs that have moved in his congregation from "red" to "green."
Now for the translation: Two other organists in western Michigan prepared a color-coded chart of the entire 1987 Psalter Hymnal when it first came out.
They marked every song either
I still clearly remember the day the idea for Reformed Worship was born—Friday, May 10, 1985, somewhere on the New York Thruway. Harvey Smit, Dave Vanderwel, and I were traveling from Toronto to Midland Park, New Jersey, during a fifteen-stop tour across North America to introduce a draft of the forthcoming Psalter Hymnal, Toronto had been our tenth of fifteen "Psalter Hymnal Study Conferences."