Generalizations are dangerous, but I'll hazard one. I have visited enough churches in The Netherlands to generalize that usually not a soul or body in those congregations will so much as nod a greeting at a visitor. After the service there may be occasional "hellos" among friends, but few people linger. Five minutes after the benediction both the sanctuary and the bicycle parking lot are empty.
Articles in this issue:
Mary Nelson Kiethahn, editor. Garland TX: Chorister's Guild, 1989, 128 pp., $24.95.
In situations of joy as well as in occasions of crisis, phrases or refrains of hymns will sing in our minds, offering encouragement and consolation. Because hymns are a powerful tool for learning and using theology, we need to consider where—or if—our children are learning to sing and love a variety of the great hymns of faith.
For years Protestant churches observed the Easter cycle during the span of one week, beginning on Palm Sunday with a sermon on Jesus' triumphal entry and followed by a service on Good Friday. The observance ended with a service on Easter morning in which the congregation sang all the great resurrection hymns. Trumpets rang out, lilies flooded the pulpit area and the narthex, and choirs sang Easter choral arrangements and cantatas.
During the 1990 Lenten season at Hessel Park Church in Champaign, Illinois, a local artist, Linda Vredeveld, demonstrated that liturgical art can be as unassuming as a pile of dirt at the foot of a cross. She chose common materials such as dirt, light cloth, and twigs and gave them new meaning in the worship setting.
1991 conferences scheduled around the new Presbyterian Hymnal and the Directory for Worship of the Presbyterian Church (USA): January 14-16, Princeton, NJ; February 18-20, Austin, TX; April 18-20, Minneapolis, MN; April 25-27, San Diego, CA; May 1-3, Chicago, IL; May 9-11, Louisville, KY
Contact: Theology and Worship Unit, Room 3406, Presbyterian Center, 100 Witherspoon St., Louisville, KY 40202, (502) 569-5289
"What can I use for a Good Friday sermon next week?" my pastor friend moaned over the phone. "I'd like to focus on one of Christ's sayings from the cross, but many of my people will have attended a community service on the seven last words in the afternoon. What's left to preach about on Good Friday evening?"
SURELY HE HAS BORNE OUR GRIEFS
Leader: He gave his back to the smiters and his cheeks to those who pulled out his beard.
All: He hid not his face from shame and spitting.
Leader: He set his face like flint.
Women: He knows he shall not be put to shame.
Men: The LORD God helps him.
Women: Who will declare him guilty?
Leader: He was despised and rejected by men.
This dramatic reading of John's passion narrative uses the NIV text of John 18-19; small changes were made in the biblical text to encourage greater clarity in this script.
The following roles are necessary:
A Servant Girl
A Chorus of Priests