Every Sunday, and especially on the great festival days of the Christian year, preachers and worship planners search for ways to tell the old, old story in fresh new ways. On the other hand, many congregations cherish longstanding traditions such as a Christmas Eve candlelight service or an Easter sunrise service. Those services may include a few of the same elements year after year.
Learning with Brothers and Sisters Across the Globe: A report on a church music conference in Taiwan and an invitation to a symposium closer to home
Some of you may have noticed my new byline as “senior research fellow” for the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. With the completion of the new hymnal Sing! A New Creation, I had thought of kicking back a bit, but instead I accepted an invitation to join the growing staff of the Institute, which has had a close relationship with Reformed Worship throughout the Institute’s short five-year history. So now I serve in two arenas for the support, encouragement, and renewal of worship on the congregational level.
Once a year, each academic department at Westmont College is invited to host a chapel for the majors and minors in their department. Here in the art department, we’ve used this opportunity to present our “artistic testimonies,” to discuss what might constitute Christian art, and to use works of art from the past as foci for devotional exercises. This year, we’ve decided to ask students to read one of Jesus’ parables of the kingdom, the parable of the talents from Matthew 25.
Several Chicago-area teens came to the youth pastor, wondering if they could try a new kind of worship a few of them had experienced. It was quiet and beautiful, they said, and it calmed their spirits. We’re so busy all the time, they said. Maybe instead of all the hype and fun in our youth group, we could try Taizé.
The other day I was grocery shopping. The cashier and I exchanged the standard “How are you doing today?” But this time she took my question seriously.
“Not so good.”
“Why is that?” I asked, going (somewhat unwillingly) into pastoral care mode.
“I had a hard weekend. Two funerals—an aunt and a friend.”