I have enjoyed Reformed Worship since the very first issue. I appreciate the banner suggestions as I do most of the banners for church as well as organ music. Your comment on the back of the RW 59 (March 2001) about finding fewer people who sew is true. I do sew but over the last few years I have not sewed much on banners. I used Wonder-Under for a while, but I like using Heat and Bond better yet. There are a couple of different thicknesses—lightweight, etc.—and for me it just works better than the Wonder-Under. Keep those ideas for banners and bulletin designs coming with the good articles!
Responses to Holy Week Drama (RW 58)
We’re glad to print some of the many e-mail letters that Marla Ehlers received and kindly shared with us:
Thank you so much for your drama in Reformed Worship. I have been blessed by your material and our congregation has been gripped by this powerful tool.
We took your concept for a one-evening drama (we’re doing that on Maundy Thursday) and turned it into a five-part series. Each week leading up to Palm Sunday, one character presented a three- to five-minute monologue on one of their first encounters or hearings of Jesus. I wrote three of them and adapted material from The Book of God by Walter Wangerin. What a joy! It has really helped to build anticipation for Thursday.
Once again, thanks for your outstanding ministry and may God richly bless you.
Trinity Reformed Church
Orange City, Iowa
Thanks for your Holy Week Drama “We Were There” We are using it as part of our Good Friday service. I do have one question as I have been following the theme of “The Lamb” all through Lent and I was wondering where you got the idea that Jesus came through the Northern Gate or the sheep gate (seventh paragraph of Judas’s dialogue). Or was that your sanctified imagination? I like the touch, but if it is based on real evidence, that would help me out. Can you let me know?
Pastor Andrew Vander Leek
Response: I’m afraid having Jesus come through the North gate was dramatic license on my part. Just as I was writing Judas, my pastor mentioned in one of her sermons that the straightest route would have been through the East gate where the Messiah is traditionally expected to come, but that she thought it would have been interesting if he came through the North gate with all its connotations.
Acting on such providential serendipity, I included it in my piece, though to the best of my knowledge there is no biblical or scholarly basis to think that it really happened that way. But then, I don’t know of anything that says it didn’t. . . .
Since we benefited from your gift of that service, I thought I should at least write my/our congregation’s appreciation. We did not present this as a memorized drama, but rather as a reading with no costumes—subdued gray or black clothing for the characters. As you suggested, we did use the rock, money bag, etc., but had not used them through Lent, since we were on another theme that was a bit hard to mesh with the reading preparations. In our gym-cum-worship space, we managed only to keep most of the lights off instead of using spots of any sort. Yet that sort of minimalism does keep the service from being seen as alienating because of out-of-reach “professional” production techniques. In any case many were moved profoundly, with one regrettably over-honest 17-year-old telling me, “Pastor Jim, I really liked that Good Friday thing and learned a lot more from it than one of your sermons. I never lost attention at all.” Alas. Blessings on you, Marla.
During our preparations, our worship committee suggested that the reading/drama might have a better sense of biblical source and presence if there were some Bible readings to introduce the several sections. At first I feared that might detract from the seamlessness of the service, but after poking through the gospels and focusing mainly on Luke (one from John) for brief readings, I inserted them into the text easily from my computer Bible program. For your interest I’ll attach the final script we used as a WordPerfect document and hope that you can
decode the attachment without difficulty. In this script I’ve also included our brief service of communion that preceded that presentation of your reading itself.
This was the service for us to use for our Good Friday communion worship and reaped very many
grateful comments. We trust that worshipers were drawn closer to our Lord and thank you and our Lord for that.
Hope Christian Reformed Church
Thunder Bay, Ontario
Are These Available?
Our pastor will be preaching on Psalm 130 and would like to use the “Ah, Holy Jesus” and “Kyrie” idea from your article in RW 58. You mentioned the song has parts. Are these available somewhere? I really appreciate LOFT’s approach to contemporary worship. My wife and I are hoping to use the model of your group in encompassing many contemporary worship styles, including global songs, as opposed to one style, so that we can encourage our youth to participate in leading worship. Thanks for helping us out if you can. May God continue to bless your various ministries.
Response: That “Kyrie” is available in Sing! A New Creation (Faith Alive Christian Resources); Many and Great, a collection of world songs from Wild Goose Publications (GIA); and With One Voice (Augsburg Fortress)—you’ll need the leader’s edition for the harmony. The “Kyrie” is in Cm and “Ah, Holy Jesus” is in Fm. You can sing them both in their respective keys, or transpose them both into a common key, Dm, for more seamless transitions. We also liked the contrast in vocal range from one song to the other when done in a common key.