The Story Isn’t Over

By the time you start thinking about Ascension and Pentecost services Easter will have passed. Pastors and worship leaders are giving a collective sigh of relief that they have reached this stretch of Ordinary Time without any great expectations for special services. But wait—the gospel story isn’t over yet. Christ has been raised from the dead, but the story continues through Christ’s ascension and the giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and beyond. It is with the giving of the Holy Spirit that we join the story. The Spirit invites us to join in its work of redeeming, transforming, and expanding God’s kingdom. In the last issue of Reformed Worship I wrote about our love for hearing and telling stories, particularly God’s story (“I Love to Tell the Story,” RW 134). If that’s true, we can’t stop mid-way.

Though this season might not require additional services, cantatas, or full orchestras and worship bands, it still needs your thoughtful attention. How are you going to tell the story of Christ’s ascension and the Pentecost event? How are you equipping your congregation to join in the story, to participate in the Spirit’s work in the world around us?

This issue is filled with resources for services celebrating Christ’s ascension and Pentecost, from full services to reflective poetry and artwork to thoughtful articles. You will also find many articles and resources around the theme of prayer, for this season also provides church leaders an opportunity to address particular spiritual disciplines. Consider where your congregants need to grow. What spiritual muscle do they need to further develop to more fully engage in God’s work? If prayer is one area you identify, I encourage you to also think about teaching the twin discipline of listening.

When I regularly planned and led worship I often turned to RW for resources, ideas, and insights. What I particularly appreciated was that the bulk of the resources came from regular worship leaders and pastors like myself. The Spirit is at work in small and large congregations, in urban and rural contexts, in churches of all ethnic makeups, in churches of all denominations. I sometimes meet folks who don’t think they are good enough writers, or who think we wouldn’t be interested in how the Holy Spirit inspired their worship. Nothing could be further from the truth! If the Spirit has blessed you, consider sharing that blessing with others by submitting your resource using the submission form at ReformedWorship.org.

Don’t Forget . . .

  1. Reformed Worship’s website: As always, you will find loads of great ideas and resources in this issue, but don’t forget to check out ReformedWorship.org for many more. Using the search function in the top right corner will usually provide you with multiple pages of resources. We have provided some tips for using the search function to deliver even better search results. Look under the “Content Search” tab on the website.
  2. Reformed Worship’s Facebook page: Still not finding what you are looking for? Connect with RW’s larger community through our Facebook page.
  3. Reformed Worship’s editorial staff are also available to support you in your work. You can reach us via email at editors@ReformedWorship.org or phone at 1-877-272-6202.

Joyce Borger (jborger@crcna.org), an ordained minister in the Christian Reformed Church, is editor of Reformed Worship and Lift Up Your Hearts, and director of Worship Ministries of the Christian Reformed Church.