Stories—all of us love them. A good story lives in the memory, enlivens and evokes thought and feeling, invites identification and involvement, and works its special magic long after truths stated in a more dogmatic way have sunk into oblivion. As Anthony de Mellow says, "The shortest distance between truth and the hearts of hearers is a story."
Articles in this issue:
Resources for a Prayer Day Sewice or Rural Life Sunday
Using family devotions to support Sunday worship during Lent.
Reading: Philippians 2:5—11
Hymn: "O Love, How Deep, How Broad, How High" (PH 364, RIL 342, 343, TH 121)
CHRIST'S TRIUMPHAL ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM
Reading: Luke 19:29-38
Hymn: "All Glory, Laud, and Honor" (HB 187, PH 375, RIL 279, TH 173)
Planning a special service for your church and community? Consider a hymn festival, a blending of song and readings, often from Scripture, that appeals to people of all ages.
The apostle Paul urged the people of Ephesus to sing the words and tunes of the psalms and hymns when they were together, and to go on singing and chanting to the Lord in their hearts, "always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Eph. 5:20 NIV).
The houses around our church in Scarborough,at the eastern edge of Toronto, look like suburban houses anywhere in North America. Their inhabitants do not. If all of the neighborhood's residents gathered in the street, one would see an astonishingly diverse assembly-— different colors, different languages, different religions— "from every nation under heaven."
Rediscovering the meaning and place of the offering in worship.
One of my impetuous classmates once decided Lo ignore local custom. He was preparing to preach in a church in Holland, Michigan—a church with a conservative, low-church background. Instead of wearing his navy suit, my friend donned his black Genevan gown. As he walked down the center aisle after the service, he was startled to hear someone hiss "papist!"
The faces of the Cherub Choir members shine as they finish their song. Before I know it, I am applauding with everyone else. What am I doing? I glance around to see if anyone is watching. (We liturgy professors take ourselves very seriously.) What are we to make of this increasingly popular practice of applauding in worship?
Bringing the people to the upper room
The school gym where I worship is normally bright and bustling before a service. On this Thursday night, however, it is dim and quiet, dozens of small candles providing the only light. In place of the usual rows of chairs there are rows of tables, snaking back and forth to form a single continuous line. At the head table a prominent array of thirteen candles symbolizes Christ and his disciples, whose last supper together this Maundy Thursday service will commemorate.