The following service from First Presbyterian Church, Slidell, Louisiana, was planned cooperatively with a conscious effort to include the congregation. The whole congregation was involved with singing and some Scripture reading. In addition, the church choir sang, six narrators took part in various readings (including those marked unison), and the children created covers for the service booklets (which included the words to all the music and readings).
How well do you “hear” Scripture?
For some people the spoken or written word is powerful. But others “hear” more clearly through other senses. Worship leaders face the challenge of presenting the Scripture to people who have a variety of intelligences and learning styles. How can we help all these people hear the Word of God with greater clarity and understanding?
When our worship committee selected Peter Hoytema’s series “Six Biblical Characters, Six Traditions of Faith” (RW 65) for the 2002 Advent season, I scrambled to find a series of children’s messages that would complement the services. Unable to find what I was looking for, I turned to Hoytema’s article to see what I could glean for use with the children of our congregation.
John D. Witvliet prepared this prayer for his ordination service into the ministry of Word and Sacrament in the Christian Reformed Church.
This prayer is based on the ancient “O Antiphons” that are also the basis for the Advent hymn “O Come, O Come, Immanuel” (see also p. 38). The elipses (. . .) are places for possible extemporaneous additions.
What are we to do with Advent?
The lectionary says, “repent and prepare,” but the rhythms of many congregations say, “children’s Christmas program.” The calendar says, “fast and pray,” but Sunday schools schedule Christmas parties with cake and cookies. Advent says, “not yet, not yet,” but church-goers clamor to sing their favorite Christmas carols.