Mary Sytsma is an elder and worship planner at Wheaton Christian Reformed Church, where her husband is the choir director. Mary also teaches English at Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, IL.
Articles by this author:
“When Jesus expressed his anguish on the cross with the words of Psalm 22, he highlighted one of the precious facets of the psalms in general, namely, that as songs they uniquely convey the inward depths of the soul, and especially of Christ’s soul. Not only do the psalms help shape our response to God in the trials and joys of life, they also reveal to us something of the inner life of Jesus Christ, glimpses we do not have through the gospels alone.”
(L. Michael Morales, Jesus and the Psalms)
- Holy Communion and Tenebrae Service
The service of Tenebrae, meaning “darkness” or “shadows,” has been practiced by the church since medieval times. Once a service for the monastic community, Tenebrae later became an important part of the worship of the common folk during Holy Week. We join Christians of many generations throughout the world in using the liturgy of Tenebrae.
When I ask a young person if he or she is interested in making profession of faith, the answer is almost always a variation of “I’m not ready.” When pressed to explain, the young person will often say, “I’m not good enough,” or, “I’m not sure about some things.”
Reinventing the Youth Service: Discipling young people in a way that benefits the whole congregation
If you’ve ever suffered through trying to organize an unfocused group of teenagers into a cohesive team of worship leaders, you may have asked yourself, “Why are we doing this?” That’s the way we felt when we started working with our church youth group eight years ago. It took us a while to figure out how the youth service we had inherited fit in with the rest of the youth ministry program. Were we only going through the motions each year because “We’ve always done it that way”?