Bert Polman (email@example.com) is a hymnologist who is a professor and chair of the music department at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Articles by this author:
- A Festival of Lessons and Carols
Reading and hearing the biblical narratives leading up to the birth of Christ seems countercultural these days. Commercial establishments begin celebrating an “instant” Christmas the day after Halloween. But when there’s no room for Advent celebration, there’s no “prepare the way of the Lord,” no waiting and working for Christ’s kingdom.
- A Musical Tour Through the Church's History
"You are holding an unusual hymnal! The texts here are not grouped by theme, season of the year, or order of worship. Rather, they are presented in chronological order by text, beginning with a sampling of Old Testament psalms and continuing right up to songs written in the past few years. Paging through this book, then, is like taking a 3,000-year journey through the songs of God’s people.”
Many hymnals have a large section devoted to Christmas. In actual practice, this section gets used throughout Advent (thereby shortchanging the character of Advent). If you take a few moments to page through the Christmas carols and hymns in almost any hymnal, you’ll find that narrative and folksy, sentimental lyrics easily outweigh songs with a theological treatment of the meaning of Christ’s incarnation.
- For Christmas or Epiphany
All the readings and music in this service intentionally focus on light; the service is appropriate for Christmas Eve, Christmas, or Epiphany. Multiple songs are listed; we encourage you to choose songs that would work best in your worship setting.—JB
- Why "Jehovah" Is Passe
In RW 80 the column “Songs for the Season” featured the song “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah,” which has been changed in some hymnals to “Guide Me, O My Great Redeemer.” The fact that RW on this occasion did not change the text prompted Bert Polman to write this challenging and informative essay.
- A Tribute
How shall I honor my colleague Emily Brink upon her retirement from editing Reformed Worship these past twenty years? What is the literary equivalent of a bouquet of flowers and a gold watch? I’m not sure! However, when I contemplate Emily’s contribution to RW, I think of three descriptive nouns:
After many years at Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ontario, Bert Polman (bdp5@ calvin.edu) recently joined the staff at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, as chair of the music department and professor of music. He is also a senior research fellow at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. He is currently writing two books, one on contemporary Praise and Worship songs, the other on musical settings of the Magnificat.
Some weddings are primarily a dialogue between the wedding couple and the presiding minister, but it needn’t be so. Inviting the gathered wedding guests to sing “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” provides a corporate opportunity to express musical praise for God’s love to us, to offer sung prayers for the wedding couple, and to encourage everyone to practice the Christian virtues of faith, hope, and love.