Based on the psalms the Common Lectionary recommends this year for the four Sundays in Advent
The following music is appropriate for use in the worship service during the Advent, Christmas, or Epiphany season. The list includes music used with the children in our church school music program over the past several years. Those titles with a star (*) were used in the 1987 candlelight service. All music is sung in unison with piano accompaniment. Optional two parts, descants, or instruments are indicated below.
All carols unannounced
"O Little Town of Bethlehem" Manz
"Sinfonia" (Christmas Oratorio) J. S. Bach
"In Dulci Jubilo" Dupre
Choral Invitation and Processional:
"O Come, Little Children" Schultz
"Once in Royal David's City"
(The congregation shall rise and join on stanzas 5 and 6.)
Include the Whole Family of God in Your Christmas Celebrations
The leaves were just beginning to change color a few years ago when I noticed the first displays of Christmas decorations in a local department store. It shouldn't have come as any surprise. In our highly commercialized society, shopping malls are known distorters of time and season: bathing suits and shorts appear in January, heavy winter coats in the midst of a major July heat wave.
The first time I walked into a church and found two French Provincial pink and blue stuffed chairs near the pulpit, I thought they had been brought in for a drama of some sort. I was participating in a worship conference and had arrived early to check out the piano, organ, and sound system. I assumed someone would remove the chairs after the drama section of the program.
Practical comments on bringing new life to acoustically dead sanctuaries
The building committee needed a break. They had been discussing the acoustical problems in their sanctuary for over an hour. They had read the complaints, studied the estimates from a contractor, and argued back and forth about the importance of a good sound system.
Scott R. Riedel. St. Louis, Missouri: Concordia Publishing House, 1986, 32 pp.
This pamphlet provides an excellent and authoritative overview of the often overlooked subject of sound and acoustics in the worship space. Riedel begins by emphasizing that the "event" of worship is largely an aural activity and that the message of the gospel and the response of the assembled congregation all take place within a "sound" environment that can either enhance or detract from the whole worship experience.
In our attempts to modernize our sanctuaries we may be muffling the sounds of worship.
"And I will stop the music of your songs." (Ezek. 26:13)
Lionel Adey. Vancouver, British Columbia: University of British Columbia Press, 1986, 288 pp., $24.95 (Canada), $20.50 (U.S.).
An informal survey on the when, why, and how of paying church musicians.
Somewhere in the fourth or fifth grade a child may discover there is nojustice in the universe. Michelle works harder at her math than Judy does, but Michelle getsCs while Judy gets As. Kevin's family gets to go to Disney World every year; Dan's family only goes to the tractor pull at the local county fair. It doesn't seem fair.
Dale Dieleman, ed. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1985, 92 pp., $9.95.
Young people today need to do more than learn how to worship: they need to gain confidence and experience in leading worship. The Praise Book, an excellent resource for pastors and youth leaders, suggests meaningful and creative ways of involving youth groups in worship.
Ken Medema—Christian composer and performer—talks about the people and ideas that have influenced him and the dreams that challenge him.
RW: Could you begin by telling us a bit about your childhood?
Celebrating Our Faith: Evangelism Through Worship. Robert E. Webber. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1986,118 pp., $11.95.
The strength of Celebrating Our Faith is Webber's contention that "the early church knew no such thing as an individualistic Christianity—it practiced evangelism by, in, and through the community of God's people" (p.5). The author wants the reader to see that worship is the key to evangelism.
Christmas marks the culmination of the Advent season. The time of waiting is past, and God's people eeiehrate the arrival of their Messiah, who has visited and redeemed his people.
*Everyone who is able, please stand
A service in honor of the 250th anniversary of the conversion of Charles and John Wesley (1738) and the 200th anniversary of the death of Charles Wesley (1788).
*Everyone who is able, please stand.
*Call to Worship
*Hymn: "Rejoice, the Lord Is King"
(PH 408; RIL 596)
October 1,1988, Ancaster, ON
Conference on Liturgy and Music at Redeemer College. Contact: Dr. Bert Polman, Music Department, Redeemer College, Ancaster, ON L9G 3N6.
October 8,1988, Holland, MI
Conference on Liturgy and Music. Sponsored by Holland-area Christian Reformed Churches and CRC Publications. Contact: Mrs. Marcia Smits, 545 Central Ave., Holland, MI 49423; (616) 396-7091.
Reflections on the Millennium of the Russian Orthodox Church
This year marks the one-thousand-year anniversary of the Russian Orthodox Church, the largest church in the USSR. Around the world Russian Orthodox Christians will gather to celebrate the birth of their church and to rejoice in their history and heritage.
Happy and Thankful
In RW 4, we included the Japanese hymn "Here, O Lord, Your Servants Gather" as one of the Hymns of the Month. Although the copyright holder granted us permission to use the hymn, we recently also received a letter from the author himself. We thought RW readers would enjoy a glimpse of the delightful side of the copyright negotiations we encountered when corresponding for permissions for the Psalter Hymnal.
If John Calvin were a member of your worship committee, what comments might he have about the shape and content of the liturgy your congregation follows on Sunday morning! Would he be impressed with your creative litanies, warmed by your pastor's folksy opening remarks! Or would he be critical of some of your more innovative practices, appalled that you celebrate the Lord's Supper only four times a year?
I preached through Micah last year. Using the lectio continua method, I organized a series of sermons that spanned the Sundays from Thanksgiving to New Year's and focused on the messianic hope of this ancient Hebrew prophet. A summary of that series appears on these pages.
If your holiday liturgy is a string of special numbers and exciting extras, your congregation may be missing the true communion of Christmas.
My first congregation was a small and struggling Reformed Church in a sagging, central-Jersey factory town. Our average attendance was no more than fifty, and we didn't have a choir because we couldn't afford a choir director. But in spite of our humble circumstances, the five Christmases I worshiped there were the best Christmases of my life.
I Am the Lord Your God
The story of a hymn usually begins with a text, but this one starts with a tune. A little over 150 years ago, Nicholas I, Czar of Russia, ordered Alexis Lvov to compose a national hymn tune. For years Russians had been singing a Russian text to the English melody for "God Save Our Gracious King." Nicholas thought it was time his people had their own hymn. Lvov responded by composing the melody we now know as RUSSIA, or RUSSIAN HYMN.