This service was adapted from a set of perspectives and worship resources for Christ the King Sunday (November 21, 1999) through the first week of the year 2000. The eighty-page booklet Standing at the Door is available at no charge from the United Methodist General Board of Discipleship (1-800-685-4370).
The vesper service reflects the historic tradition of daily evening prayer services. It is a brief service that makes use of silence and symbol. The mood of the service should be unhurried and quiet.
How long have God’s people been debating about the language and order of worship? Almost as long as we’ve been gathering for prayer and praise.
We planned this service as part of an evening series on the book of Nehemiah. It focuses on the feast of booths or tabernacles (sukkot). With a little bit of tweaking, it could be an interesting service either for the time of sukkot or else possibly a service for the first Sunday of Advent.
My Soul in Stillness Waits; Psalm 98: Sing a New Song to the Lord; O Gladsome Light; Miren que bueno!/O Look and Wonder
All but one of the songs in this issue were included as part of service plans outlined in this issue of Reformed Worship. “My Soul in Stillness Waits” was sung as the opening hymn of every service during the Advent series from Hope Christian Reformed Church, Thunder Bay, Ontario (see p. 3). “O Gladsome Light” was recommended for the New Year’s Eve service plans (see p. 34). “Miren qué buenoÂ¡” was sung at the joint English/Spanish service at West End Presbyterian Church in New York City (see p. 24).
As the fall of 1998 came around, the worship planning team at Cascade Fellowship was confronted with two problems. We had determined to enhance the versatility of our worship space with the installation of a computer and video projection system. However, this new technology came into conflict with one of our most treasured symbols—the cross. A screen was erected on the front wall of the worship center that made it impossible for the cross to remain. There was not room enough for the two of them.
In past years Reformed Worship has offered churches a series of Advent resources that have often been based on Scripture lessons outlined by the Revised Common Lectionary. This year the resources take a different, though related, direction. Each year the lectionary follows a different gospel more or less sequentially. The gospels of Matthew and Luke (Years A and C respectively) contain enough narrative about Jesus’ birth or early life to make the direct focus on Jesus every week in Advent preaching natural and relatively easy.
Whether you’re just beginning your search for suitable service music for piano or you want ideas for adding to your collection, the following list of recent publications should give you a good place to start. Churches with several pianists may want to invest in some of these for a “pianist’s library.” Each is marked E (Easy), M (Moderate), or D (Difficult).
Albrecht, Mark. Timeless Hymns of Faith. Augsburg Fortress, 1998. #10-10863. 22 pp. $10.00. M.
The joy of the Christmas season is an unending fountain of creativity for musicians. I reviewed over fifty new organ collections for the Christmas/Advent/Epiphany season from several publishing houses. The spirit of the season is alive and well in the writing of new organ music. The following collections are those I found most rewarding for worship and inspiring for congregational singing. Each is marked E (Easy), M (Moderate), or D (Difficult).
SOLO ORGAN MUSIC
FOR THE SEASON
“We’ve not found anything, Mom.”
That’s what Ellen told her. Jan might have felt hopeful if the words weren’t always packaged in a deadbeat tone that carried too much finality, and Jan knew—aren’t mothers supposed to know?—that Ellen wasn’t really looking.
So Jan had tried once again, last night, Christmas Eve. “Have you found a suitable church?”
Maybe you’ve picked up this issue of Reformed Worship right away, and you’re ready to start planning for Advent and Christmas. Yet many of you are still busy planning the more “Ordinary” services in the months leading up to Advent. Planning ahead often takes a back seat to planning for next Sunday.
After the grand visual displays of Advent and Christmas, it is often tough to get anyone excited about creating visuals for the start of a new year. Here is one that is not too difficult to make. With all of the hoopla surrounding the turn of the new century, this visual serves as a reminder that everything—including time—is held in our God's protecting hand.
Brief notes on the banner's construction and a downloadable pattern can be found below.
This service was planned by Alistair Drummond, pastor, Amy Mendez, associate pastor, and Jorge Lockward, minister of music, along with members of a worship planning team at The West End Presbyterian Church, New York City.
ASSEMBLING IN GOD'S NAME
Introit: “Live in Charity” (Music of Taizé, vol 1; GIA) (1)
Ubi caritas et amor, ubi caritas Deus ibi est.
Donde hay amor y caridad. Donde hay amor, Dios tambien está.
You’ve been asked to obtain permission to reprint songs for your bulletin, Christmas program, liturgy, or Bible-study song sheets. Or maybe you want to copy the text of the choir’s anthem in the bulletin, make overhead transparencies of songs for your congregation, or copy a special theme song into the church newsletter . . . and you wonder how to do this legally.
Q. Just what may go on the communion table? Flowers? Offering plates? Open Bibles? Fake communion bread?
Christopher M. Idle. London: St Matthias Press and Carol Stream, Ill.: Hope Publishing Co., 1998.
The More We Get Together: An interview with Jorge Lockward, minister of music to both a Spanish-and-English-speaking congregation
I got off the subway and walked a couple of blocks to the big brick church on the corner of Amsterdam and 105th in New York City. West End Presbyterian Church has been on that corner for over a hundred years and has seen many changes, especially in the past generation.
You may want to file this helpful information from the March/April 1999 Children’s Ministry magazine:
Please note that if you show videos to children [other audiences too!], consider purchasing the Motion Picture Licensing Corporation (MPLC) Umbrella License for the public performance of home videos. The license costs $95 per year, and it allows your church to show copyrighted videos legally. Their address is 5455 Centinela Ave., P.O. Box 66970, Los Angeles, CA 90066-6970. Or call 800-462-8855.
Ron B. De Boer is a teacher and writer in Kitchener, Ontario. He wrote this play for the children’s Christmas program at Community Christian Reformed Church in Kitchener.
Setting and Props
Fourth Sunday in Advent
Flourish Like Grain
Hosea 14; John 12:23-26
Call to Worship
From Scripture: Psalm 96
In Song: “Humble Thyself in the Sight of the Lord” Maranatha! Praise Chorus Book 3 66
Lighting the Advent Wreath
Child: Why do we light four candles today?