Recently someone asked me what five songs I think are important for every child in the church to know; songs that they would memorize and carry with them throughout life. What a wonderful, thoughtful, question! As I considered my response I wondered if it wouldn’t be more helpful to provide a list of things to consider when choosing songs to sing than an actual list of songs; that way the church could create a list that fit their context. So after some thought, here is a list of things I would consider when creating a core group of songs for children.
I’ve been thinking about the spiritual discipline of waiting lately as we are working on the next issue of Reformed Worship and waiting is one of its themes. Sometimes our waiting is short lived like when the Amazon package arrives on my doorstep early, even before I had begun to wait. And sometimes our patience is tested as it seems that the waiting knows no end.
In RW 139:11, the Sing 10 column introduced fourteen congregational songs for Ascension and Pentecost. Ruth-Ann Schuringa, one of the contributors for the resource article, provides background information and performance practices on the three songs that she recommended. —editors
“I pray that we will remember that on Easter Sunday we proclaimed a unified gospel message one that needs to continue to unify us as together we work to bring Christ’s healing to a hurting and divided world.”
In many traditions, the Good Friday prayer of intercession serves as an annual opportunity to bring before God all the burdens and concerns of God’s people. As such, this congregational prayer is often long and wide-ranging. This prayer has been written for Good Friday in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
I am a frequent lurker — and occasional participant — in an online discussion group on Facebook. It is comprised of worship pastors and other people responsible for the liturgical life of their gospel communities. We ask each other questions. Not ivory-tower abstract questions, but real-life theological/worship-leader questions. For example: “Does anyone have suggestions for a worship resources that address issues of racism and justice?” and “Is it permissible to just change lyrics to a song we’re going to sing this Sunday?” (I may tackle the latter in a subsequent post!)
Be mindful of the health of the fellowship of believers. As we make our way through this current maze, keep an eye on the foundations.
In Part 2 of this two-part blog, Joy-Elizabeth Lawrence shares two examples of bridging public lament with biblical lament, and some useful suggestions in writing your own laments.
Biblical lament is not only asking the questions “why” and “how long,” it directly addresses the questions to God. It also often includes references to God’s past rescuing, and asks God for help.
Discipleship takes place through dozens of different faith practices. Might the increased isolation due to COVID be calling us to build capacity for significant conversations and quiet times through which we encourage one another and ourselves as we die and rise in Christ together?
But the light is here. It has come into this world we just need eyes to see. So look up and out.
As pastors and worship leaders we may need to remind ourselves and those we lead in worship that our joy is rooted not in our immediate context but the much larger story of redemption.
Communion is not limited to the past or present. In fact, it points forward with the resilient hope that Christ is making all things new.
How do we engage our calling to honor those in civil authority during a time of political strife?
Joy, prayer, and thanksgiving move us to the place where we see God and recognize our need to totally depend on him.
As pastors and worship leaders, we do our best to live into the gospel that we proclaim from week to week. It’s a gospel big enough to contain both our laments, our cries, our hopes, and our joys. It’s a gospel that recognizes and acknowledges the brokenness of our world and still finds a way to offer the hope of Easter morning.
God’s got you. You are not alone. God’s got you and God isn’t afraid of your fears and wonderings, your anger and questions, your weariness.
A pastoral reflection on the use of “I” and “we” in corporate worship.
Wise and honest Christians sing the Blues. Regularly. We sing them habitually, so we know the words by heart and soul.
This is what we, the church, may need at this time—to sit, silently, in the presence of God.
- Music is the vehicle for the liturgy. It is the canvas upon which words may have both sensual meaning and intellectual meaning. In this two-part blog, Dr. Adán Fernández shares ten practical ideas for music ministry during COVID-19.
Music is the vehicle for the liturgy. It is the canvas upon which words may have both sensual meaning and intellectual meaning. In this two-part blog, Dr. Adán Fernández shares ten practical ideas for music ministry during COVID-19.
Let worship words speak within a stone’s throw of worship itself. Let worship throw open windows for us to sense the bigger-than-words realities to which our words refer.
- The global COVID-19 pandemic has exposed centuries-old, unresolved racial disparities and injustices that are groaning for the reconciling grace of the gospel. Amidst this reality, what is the shape of honest worship in your context?
Many people are counting the weeks until we can reopen the building and welcome people back, but even/especially then the liturgical creativity is only starting.