Joyce Borger

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.

Articles by this author:

  • Shalom

    Welcome to this theme issue on shalom. You may not see that word outside of this editorial, but the whole issue can be summed up in that one Hebrew word. In reality, shalom is more than a word—it’s a concept, a dream, a promise. Whether we are talking about becoming a hospitable community, caring for the needs of people with disabilities, fighting human trafficking, working for immigration reform, or seeking solutions for the conflicts in the Middle East, we are talking about becoming a people of shalom.

  • The Rest of the Story

    While I was talking with someone the other day, she spoke of the “time collapse” of the Christian year. “Every year, Christ is born, then dies, and rises again. The next year he is born, then dies, and rises again. . . .”

    Why do we rehearse the entire gospel message year after year? We do it because we are people who forget. We need to be reminded of the truths the Christian year contains. We need to be reminded of the grace of God’s story and of the fact that we are God’s beloved, saved, and redeemed children.

  • The Poetry of Lent

    How do we speak in worship? What language do we use? Sometimes the best response is silence, awe, and wonder. Sometimes we need to spring to our feet with joy, raise our hands in praise, and clap with the trees of the field. We speak with unscripted words such as “amen” and “praise the Lord” and with scripted but equally sincere phrases such as “thanks be to God” and “hear our prayer.” And sometimes we speak in poetry.

  • Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, and the Mission of God

    For many of us, Advent marks the beginning of the church year. But is it the proper place to start? The season from Advent to Epiphany is only one chapter in the metanarrative that began with the creation of the world. Scripture makes it clear that the mission of God is to redeem the world, to bring the nations to himself.

    In the Old Testament, God chose to work primarily through the Hebrew people to bring others into the covenant community. In Genesis 12 God says to Abraham:

  • How Can I Keep from Singing?

    Some years ago at a Calvin Theological Seminary chapel service, the college choir led us in singing “My Life Flows on in Endless Song” by Robert Lowry, also known as “How Can I Keep from Singing” (see p. 3). It was a good service, but I don’t remember reflecting on it much as I tucked the bulletin into my coat pocket.

  • Transitions

    “I don’t like change,” I wrote in a previous editorial. Since transitions include change, I don’t like transitions much either. Transitions are difficult and scary times, since the future often seems unclear.

  • Living in the Tension

    What do Lent, Good Friday, Easter, the psalms, and caring for God’s creation have in common? Two things: they are all themes present in this issue of Reformed Worship, and they all have to do with living “in the tension.”

  • Songs for the Journey from Advent to Epiphany

    One of the challenges when planning a hymnal is deciding where a particular song belongs, knowing that though the index in the back of the hymnal may suggest multiple places for a particular song, the location of the song has greater influence on when it will be sung. The challenge in this Noteworthy is to think outside the hymnal placement, as each one of these songs can be used both during the time from Advent to Epiphany as well as at other times of the year.

  • From Longing to Shalom

    As I reflect on this issue of Reformed Worship, the words “longing” and “journey” come to mind. Longing is what sends us out on our journey to discover what more there is to life. Ever since the fall, people have been longing for things to be the way they were meant to be. We long for the restoration of relationships gone wrong. We long for a creation restored. We long for an end to war and violence and hunger and pain. And so we journey on in faith and hope.

Blogs by this author:

  • Worship practices during the COVID-19 pandemic have opened up opportunities for worship leaders to reflect the principles and the most important elements of corporate worship.

  • During this Advent season, are you the one knocking or the one invited to express God’s love and mercy and open the door?

  • The anti-idolatry response [to worship’s “de-Christianizing of God’s people] is to make sure that our worship leaders and planners from pastors to musicians, artists, tech, liturgists and elders, and yes also those gathered, understand that it is God who calls us to worship, it is the Holy Spirit who enables our worship, and it is Christ who perfects it. 

  • Is it ever OK to be intentionally exclusive in worship?

  • Even in the midst of falling steeples, in the face of the crucified Messiah, in our own baptismal drowning we are assured that the church won’t fall.

  • I am excited that Reformed Worship is beginning a weekly blog and absolutely thrilled at the group that we have gathered to write.  They are a diverse group of practitioners, academics, musicians, and theologians; what connects them all is their love for the church and worship that is thoughtful, relevant, rooted, innovative, global, contextual, creative, and disciplined. 

    -Rev. Joyce Borger, editor

    Kevin Adams​