For this Advent/Christmas issue of Reformed Worship, we asked our RW staff this question: “What congregational song related to the story of Christ’s birth do you find particularly meaningful and why?”
from Handel’s Messiah.
Words: Job 19:25–26; 1 Corinthians 15:20; adapt. by Charles Jennens
Our worship team was brainstorming one night in response to a facilities improvement survey. We talked about the way our sanctuary and the rest of our buildings don’t flow well—they seem strung together. This is true for many churches: Education wings were a second thought after the sanctuary, and additional space—from kitchens to gyms to side chapels—are tagged on as years and needs accumulate. Things change, sometimes without much thought about the overall impact of the build-up of small changes over time.
The god of the innovative is hard to resist. While this issue of Reformed Worship encourages us all to pay attention to how multiple intelligences and multiple learning styles inform worship planning, we need to do so with thought and discernment. This article causes us to pause and to take the time to think about what we do in our worship. Nothing is value-neutral.
If you’ve been anywhere near a computer in the last decade, you’re familiar with the phenomenon called “going viral.” It’s what happens when email inboxes, websites, and social networks light up like postmodern switchboards at the discovery of something new: the video of the cat doing that thing, the unexpected hit single, or that new author nobody’s ever heard of before who’s written something incredible. Suddenly, with unprecedented speed, everybody knows about it.
The Lord’s Supper is the pivotal feast that celebrates the victory of God, which he shares with each person in his kingdom. Here we gratefully acknowledge our inclusion in the community that God has designed. Here we confess our reluctance to demonstrate the full power of the gospel on our lives together, particularly as it pertains to the lack of hospitality and grace extended to others. Here we all recommit ourselves to following the example of Jesus—the Host at the table—who calls us, in view of his sacrifice, to serve others with humility and love.