What a vision of peace the prophet Isaiah paints for God’s people in the southern kingdom of Judah! Invasions by the ruthless Assyrians came from the north, they were betrayed by their sister kingdom Israel, and inadequate kings of their own made the time perilous.
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One of the unique things about this Good Friday service is the interweaving of Psalm 22 throughout the account of the crucifixion. By quoting the first verse of this psalm while he was dying on the cross, Jesus was really pointing to the message of the whole psalm. Notice the movement in the psalm from a cry of despair—“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”—
to a proclamation of praise—“He has done it!” —JB
The Lord’s Prayer has often been a source for structuring congregational prayers. This service is actually an extended prayer based on the Lord’s Prayer and the commentary on it in the Heidelberg Catechism (Q&A 120-129). It was designed as the conclusion to a preaching series on the Lord’s Prayer; each of those services also included sections of the Heidelberg Catechism.
What is the meaning of light in the Bible? This drama was prepared for the conclusion of a series of sermons our pastor preached between Epiphany and Lent that asked that question. Rather than using a narrative approach, I began with three scenes: creation, fall, and redemption. Using my concordance, I found relevant Scripture passages for each scene. (All Scripture is taken from the NRSV.) When I noticed that my original three-part structure didn’t satisfy, I added scenes 3 and 5.
What part, if any, does the Heidelberg Catechism play in your liturgy? If you are Presbyterian, probably none at all, since it is not part of the Scottish and English tradition. If your roots are Reformed and from the European continent, you are probably familiar with the Catechism as it is used in preaching.
Today's parents no longer assume that they know what family worship should be. Even those brought up with some sort of family prayer and Bible reading are often looking for a more meaningful way to worship at home with their families.