Calvin called the ceremonies of the Roman church "alien hodgepodge, theatrical pomp, foolish gesticulations and empty little ceremonies, outward trappings, magical incantations, and perverse rites." (These and many other denigra-tions can be found especially in the Institutes, Book 4). Four centuries later, hardbitten detective Travis Mc Gee says: "To me organized religion, the formalities and routines, it's like being marched in formation to look at a sunset. Maybe some people need routines. I don't."
Just what is Reformed worship, anyway?
It is possible today to go to a church in the Reformed tradition and find worship influences from all sorts of directions— low and high church, charismatic and evangelical, liturgical and . . . well, of course, Reformed. Such variety raises the question in many minds of whether there is anything distinctive about Reformed worship.
The Friday Voice of Faith: A serious theology of the cross requires a serious practice of the lament psalms
In spite of their poignancy and availability, the lament psalms are not much used. If you look in the back of the hymnals of most major Protestant denominations, you will find perhaps Psalm 1, then skip to 8 and 19 and perhaps 22. Even when lament psalms are included, they are not sung much. In Roman Catholic and liberal Protestant usage, most of the lament psalms simply do not exist. (Anglicans use the lament psalms, but set them to such wonderful music that you don't notice what is being said!)
In the opening song of the musical The Cotton Patch Gospel, the chorus sings: "Somebody said, 'It's the second coming,' someone said, 'It's the first.' Somebody said, It's the best that could happen,' someone said, 'It's the worst.'"
The Three Great Days: Remembering Christ's death and resurrection calls for more than worship on Easter (and all the 'little Easters')
How many extra services does your church plan during Holy Week? Traditionally, most Presbyterian and Reformed congregations have held a service on Good Friday. Some have also gathered for a sunrise service on Easter morning. But few have considered anything further.
In recent years, that pattern has begun to change. Worship planners have enthusiastically discovered the riches of a liturgical heritage that goes beyond traditional Holy Week offerings, and have added new services to their Holy Week schedules.