The children filed out of their seats and stood in two squirming rows in front of the congregation. As the pianist pounded out the introductory notes, the choir director, equipped with giant white word cards, took her place in front of the group.
Articles in this issue:
During the last several decades the Christian community has witnessed a vast explosion of hymnody. Some of these new songs are produced by gifted authors, people like Timothy Dudley-Smith or Margaret Clarkson, who write hymns that build on the heritage of Christian hymnody. But a larger part of this "hymn explosion" is Scripture songs—actual scriptural texts or paraphrases of Scripture set to music, often in a popular style.
Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1984. 192 pages, $6.40.
In 1980 the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. resolved to develop a "new book of services for corporate worship, including a Psalter, hymns, and other worship aids." It also requested that over the "next several years a variety of worship resources be made available… for trial use throughout the church before any publication is finalized."
Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1985. 114 pages, $6.40.
New York: The Church Hymnal Corporation, 1985. The Hymnbook 1982, home edition, 1,070 pages, $12.95 (hymns only). The Hymnal 1982, pew edition, 960 pages, $9.95 (melody-only edition of hymns and service music). The Hymnal 1982, accompaniment edition (in two volumes), 1,769 pages, $27.50.
I pastor a congregation of people who clap their hands a lot. We clap while singing. We clap when fellow worshipers speak a word of testimony and mutual encouragement. Once in a while the congregation even claps when I make a strong point in my sermon.
We have no prescribed pattern for clapping, no rules for when it is or is not appropriate. But I can think of at least one time when it would be impossible and wrong for us not to clap…
James A. De Jong. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Board of Publications of the Christian Reformed Church, 1985,128 pp., $7.25.
For centuries congregations who stood in the Reformed/Presbyterian tradition had no choirs. Because Calvinists took the priesthood of all believers seriously, they jealously guarded congregational involvement in worship: the people were to speak (sing) for themselves. That meant no choirs, no anthems, no cantatas—-just the strong, vibrant sound of congregational singing in response to the spoken Word.