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News and Notes

CRC/RCA Hymnal Gets a Name!

Lift Up Your Hearts: Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs is the name of the hymnal to be published by Faith Alive Christian Resources in 2013.

In our planning discussions the term “heart songs” comes up repeatedly. It is our prayer that the songs in this collection will represent the songs that reside in the hearts of people. These heart songs can be confessions, praises, laments, words of adoration, and psalms and contemporary, global, ancient, or hymn-like.

“Lift up your hearts” is a liturgical phrase that has been used in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper since the early church. It is part of what is known as the sursum corda. The presider says, “Lift up your hearts,” to which the congregation responds, “we lift them up to the Lord.” This communal action expresses our oneness in Christ.

“Lift up your hearts” is also a phrase that John Calvin focused on in his writing and his theology of the Lord’s Supper. As such, it is very Reformed. In the sacrament we are lifted up and united with Christ spiritually. The image of lifting up our hearts was so significant to Calvin that he chose to use a hand holding a heart as his seal.

The reference to “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” is from the apostle Paul’s letters to the Colossians and Ephesians (Col. 3:16 and Eph. 5:19-20).

For more information on this upcoming hymnal, visit www.crcna.org/pages/hymnal.cfm.

Don’t Forget . . .

to register for the Calvin Symposium on Worship. This yearly conference will be held from January 28-31, 2010. Join worshipers and worship leaders from around the world for a time of fellowship, worship, and learning as we seek to deepen and integrate all aspects of worship, develop our gifts, encourage each other, and renew our commitment to the full ministry of the church. For more information see the ad on the inside front cover of this issue or visit www.calvin.edu/worship.

It’s Not Too Late…

to apply for a Worship Renewal Grant from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Proposals will be excepted till January 11, 2010. The Worship Renewal Grants Program aims to foster well-grounded worship renewal in congregations and worshiping communities throughout North America. Made possible through the generous support of Lilly Endowment Inc., these grants serve to stimulate thoughtful and energetic work for worship that exhibits renewed creativity, theological integrity, and relevance.

Resources for Your Visual Arts Ministry

Do you want to increase the use of visuals in your worship? Consider these resources:

  • Visuals for Worship offers beautiful original woodcut images by Elizabeth Steele Halstead for your church to use in a variety of ways. Halstead combines symbols with biblical references and with explanations of their theological and historical background. An accompanying CD lets you download high-resolution images to use on bulletin covers, banners, and more. It’s a great tool for anyone planning and organizing a worship service. Available through Faith Alive Christian Resources by calling 1-800-333-8300 or visiting www.FaithAliveResources.org.
  • Images of Faith is a CD edited by Sandra Bowden that contains 100 images by contemporary artists to be used for projection in worship, teaching, preaching, and devotional purposes by churches, colleges, and seminaries. The images are organized around four themes: Creation/Creator, the Fall, Redemption (Life of Christ), and the Life of Faith. An index allows a cross-referencing of images with various topics. Each image comes with its own essay as well as biographical and contact information for each artist. Copublished by Christians in the Visual Arts and the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Order at www.civa.org.