For the last several years, our congregation has connected the traditional Christmas children's program to another program during Lent or Easter. Last year during Advent we used the series "Have You Seen the Angels?" (RW 37) along with a children's program. So our Easter program (see below) also focused on angels.
From the Table to the Cross: A maundy Thursday service of drama and song based on Wangerin's Living the Passio
Cast and Props
Readers for 16 parts
Planning worship for Good Friday is a challenging pastoral and theological task. How do we begin to acknowledge the power and the mystery of the cross of Jesus Christ? How do we proclaim, even on Good Friday, that Christ is crucified and risen? What emotions are appropriate to express? Do we rejoice or do we weep?
Three Typical Approaches to Good Friday
A quick study of thirty or more printed orders of service in my files suggests that most Good Friday services feature one of three strategies.
Our congregation was in need of healing. During the span of a year or less many members of the Neland Avenue Christian Reformed Church had experienced serious illness, death, and other tragedies. The elders responded to these needs by calling several mid-week prayer services, which were helpful to those who attended. However, members also desired to deal with such needs in the context of congregational worship. The following service was planned and conducted in response to that need.
Explanation of the Service (1)
FIRST SUNDAY IN LENT
Object: A bag of "silver" coins
[Using a cordless microphone, someone clinks coins onto a table.]
Listen! Someone is counting out coins. Big coins, coins that are probably worth lots of money. From the way they ring, they sound like silver coins.... Maybe even real silver, solid silver.
Listen! They're talking about how many coins there should be. Hmm, I wonder what they could be buying that's worth so many coins?
Note from the Pastor
We held our first Taize service on Good Friday in 1993. The idea came from my experience in Quincy, Washington, where the local Presbyterian Church hosted a community Taize service every year on the Friday before Good Friday. To prepare our congregation, we explained the concept to the elders, and after their approval placed an announcement in the Palm Sunday bulletin:
It's easy to gear ourselves up for a big Easter celebration. We're more than happy to sing the joyous songs and fill the sanctuary with flowers on that glorious Sunday, rejoicing in our Savior's even more glorious life beyond death.
How Would the Lord Be Worshipped; The Lord Will Raise You Up (Psalm 91); I Worship You, O Lord (Psalm 30)
Brink and Polman are coeditors of the forthcoming Psalter Hymnal Handbook.
Again in this issue of Reformed Worship, we offer a preview of the forthcoming Psalter Hymnal Handbook, a collection of essays on the history of music in the church as well as entries on every song and author and composer in the 1987 Psalter Hymnal. This ten-year-long project is now in production and is scheduled for release in Spring 1998.
Heidi and Professor Snyder come to discover new meaning in the Resurrection
[Heidi, a college student, comes to the office of her academic advisor, Dr. Snyder, to get one final signature to complete her registration. They are good friends.]
Heidi: I've got my registration finished, Professor Snyder. It's done correctly. I know what I want— the courses, I mean, [arrogantly] I don't care what you say, I don't care what the registrar says, I don't care what anybody says—I know what I want to take.
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:
This service was prepared by John D. Witvliet to accompany his article on p. II.
Gathering for Worship
Call to Worship and Greeting
Hymn: "Go to Dark Gethsemane" PsH 381, PH 97, TWC 225
Prayer for Illumination
This service was adapted from an annual Festal Service of Easter Lessons and Carols with Procession developed in Christ Church Cathedral, Ottawa, over a period of decades. It brings together many traditional elements of Christian worship in celebration of the resurrection of our Lord. Through readings and carols and congregational hymns, the service recalls the prophecies and the events leading up to and following the resurrection, and concludes by looking forward to the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.