It was so predictable that it became comical. The third Monday of the term students walked into the “Foundations of Worship” class that Karen deMol and I taught together at Dordt College with their heads hanging, eyeing us suspiciously, holding their worship reflection assignments in their hands.
Who Needs It?
It is a hazardous thing to criticize a worship song. The songs we sing in church are dear to us—sacred even. Their potency comes from the fact that, over time, the songs become a part of us. Like eating and drinking, the rhythms and rhymes of these songs have a way of seeping deep into our marrow.
So it is with a bit of trepidation that I criticize the much-beloved hymn below.
Liturgophiles Gone Wild
Many of us who love and appreciate the Church’s rich liturgical tradition feel this way because of how it has affected us, especially over time. For us, the liturgy is deeply understood and deeply felt. But this is not the case a large majority of Christians. Despite the resurgence of interest in overtly liturgical worship (I use “overtly” because, as many have pointed out, all worship has a liturgy), the growth of the Church in the global South has been largely of the Pentecostal and charismatic variety.
I often don’t know what to pray for when thinking of the Middle East. The prayer “peace for the Middle East” though melodic doesn’t seem to cut it. How do we pray when we hear of the horrors of those who call themselves the Islamic State? How do we pray when we hear of abductions, beheadings, bombings, and destruction? How ought we to pray?
Remembrance: An Incomplete Truth
Every year, I ask my college and seminary students to tell me how they think 8 and 9 year olds in their congregation would summarize the point of the Lords’ Supper in a sentence. Invariably, the vast, vast majority say “the Supper is about remembering Jesus’ death.”
3 minute prelude.
+4 minutes for announcements and call to worship.
+6 minute section of confession and assurance.
+6 songs in the service x 2 minutes each = 12 minutes.
+24 minute sermon.
+7 minute morning prayer.
+8 minutes for deacons announcement, prayer and collection
+15 minutes Lord’s Supper
+10 minutes Baptism
≠ 60-75 minutes for worship
Who is Selma? That was my first reaction after hearing about the movie Selma without knowing that it is the name of city in the USA. In Pakistan Selma (Salma) is a popular name of girls. Salma Hayek is a famous movie actress in Hollywood and there was another actress Salma Agha in Pakistan as well. Bollywood films (Indian film industry fashioned after Hollywood) produced songs that use this name in their lyrics.
It happens every Sunday: our worship leader, Marja, invites us to confess our sins in a manner so winsome and simple that the eight year old is encouraged to engage wholeheartedly, and a crusty old-timer like me cannot resist either.
Now is the time to join the RW email list to get worship planning tips, links to articles, song recommendations, and more. http://eepurl.com/bbDaST
Sign up to receive a monthly e-newsletter with relevant and timely resources for worship. Don’t worry, we will not fill up your email box with needless clutter. A monthly email provides opportunity to respond to current events, highlight new blogs, offer up-to-date information, resources, videos, and more.
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