Appreciated Resource for Those with Alzheimer’s

I want to tell you how meaningful John Core’s hymn “When Eyes That We Once Knew as Keen” (RW 72:28) has been to people in our church. I have given this hymn to a number of people who either are caring for or have cared for a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. They are so moved by it. One friend called in tears and asked me to play it for her so she could sing along. We plan to use it at a healing service in our church soon. Thanks so much for thinking of that particular group of people.

Annetta Vander Lugt, Director of Music
Neland Avenue Christian Reformed Church
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Perspective on Reformed Identity

I am grateful for the article by Bill Van Groningen in RW 73. I happened to read that shortly after reading an article by Michael Weinrich, who speaks of the Reformed priority on “confessing” over “confession” (Reformed World, 53.4, December 2003).

Van Groningen gives specificity to the Weinrich emphasis. Van Groningen voices a “deep appreciation of the sovereign scope of God’s relating to the world (that) leads to a prevailing commitment to seek out God’s ways wherever we are in whatever we do.” It is a leaning forward instead of backward as we meet the world head-on, following Christ our leader as we live out our belonging to God.

Thus Reformed worship must build on the confession of the church of the past, but far more important, it must constantly re-form our confession of Christ through the Scriptures as we witness in the contemporary world.

Arlo D. Duba
Hot Springs, Arkansas

Grieving with an “Ebenezer Wall”

Having read Lisa Stracks’s article “Where Twenty or Thirty Are Gathered: Creative Worship for Smaller Congregations” (March 2004), I recommended to our worship department that we consider building an Ebenezer wall during worship on Labor Day Sunday as a means of honoring and thanking God for the work given unto our hands. We filled two wheelbarrows with bricks left over from the construction of our church many years ago and placed slips of paper in each bulletin with the key verse from 1 Samuel 7:12 highlighted. Below this verse was a space to jot down labors for which we must give thanks to God. Everyone came forward to place their thanksgiving message into the holes of the bricks, which our youth then built up into a “wall of thanksgiving.” Our congregation responded enthusiastically to this fresh, hands-on, approach to Scripture.

Little did we realize the therapeutic benefits of the Ebenezer wall in weeks to come.

One month into the new school year, our community suffered the sudden and unexpected death of a spectacular high school teacher. For many students this was their first experience with the death of someone close to them.

The search for a fitting way students could express their feelings of loss and grief called to mind the tactile act of worship we’d experienced on Labor Day. Our church quietly stacked up leftover bricks to form an Ebenezer wall near the funeral home. People attending visiting hours were invited to write down their expressions of love, support, and thanksgiving for their beloved teacher and place them in the holes of the bricks.

Several hundred messages were stuffed into the wall that evening, and our youth group has organized these notes into an album for the teacher’s family. What tremendous healing Lisa’s idea promoted within our small community! And what an affirmation that worship can and does extend beyond the church’s own walls. Our thanks for the gift of a great idea.

Rev. Mike Doak, Pastor,
Carrollton (Ohio) Church of Christ

Back Issue Corrrection

I save all my back issues of RW and use ideas from different issues year after year. This fall we are using Dr. John Bush’s worship service “From Advent to Alleluia” from RW 51. I realize this is five years old, but would you still be able to send me the six meditations of Dr. Bush promised with this order of worship?

Mark Stephenson
West Olive (Mich.) Christian Reformed Church

Editor’s note: We were happy to connect Mark with John Bush; the correct address (it was incorrect in RW) is jbush3838@earthlink.net.

Baptism Song

We used “Baptism Song for an Adopted Daughter” (RW 74) in the baptism for a little girl adopted from China. I was able to use the chord chart to improvise a simple accompaniment, and the words were so beautiful I think the simple music was appropriate. The parents were moved by the words and were so thankful for the song.

Thank you again for providing this song. We will continue to use RW to enrich our worship services.

Nick Kuiper, Praise team leader
Calvary Christian Reformed Church,
Edina, Minnesota

Reformed Worship 75 © March 2005, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Used by permission.