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December 1991

Hymn of the Month


How I Love You, Lord...(Psalm 18)

Psalm 18 may at first seem a strange choice for a congregational song, especially during Lent. Praise, militant language, despair, destruction, salvation, and apparent boasting present a confusing mix. Congregations will appreciate an explanation of the psalm or, better still, reading it responsively before attempting to sing it.

The Bread Was Broken, Not the body


Ministers in the Reformed tradition have always been shy about stressing rituals and symbols. We don't kneel as the Anglicans do, and we seldom raise our arms as Pentecostals do. We don't know what gestures we should use in the "presentation" of the offering, and we are unsure if we ought to lift the chalice or goblet in the Lord's Supper. But we do have a fixed tradition in the "breaking of the bread." And here we give the wrong message.

Old-fashioned Innovations: There's more than one way to celebrate the Lord's Supper

The worship team of our church met recently to discuss the Lord's Supper—not its theology or spiritual significance, but the mode of our participation. Should we sit in pews, the way we have done for the past sixty years? Should we consider gathering around tables, as our church's founders did in 1915? Should we come to the front and take the bread, dip it in the cup, and eat while walking back to the pew, as we have tried a few times (dubbed "dip and run")? Should we stand in a circle as we take the bread and wine?


It's quiet in there now. There's a crack in the curtain, and when I looked inside, I saw all of those kids sitting there on the edge of their chairs, just like I thought they would. That's not to say I wasn't worried. I prayed a lot...

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The Heart of Holy Communion

What is "The Great Prayer of Thanksgiving," and what does it have to do with Reformed worship?

ACTS: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication


Call to Worship


Opening Prayer

Prayer concludes with singing:

"Lord, Listen to Your Children
[PsH 625]

A Psalm of Praise: Psalm 146

Hymn: "What Shall I Render to the Lord"
[PsH 178, TH 637]

A Message for Children


A Psalm of Adoration:


Praise & Worship Not the Answer

I agree that many people are rightfully dissatisfied with "traditional" church music, but I do not believe that Praise & Worship, as described in the June issue of Reformed Worship, presents the best alternative.

Rather than adjusting our standards downward to the least common denominator of musical ability and taste in a rush to emotionalism, I believe we need to elevate our standards of musical selection, preparation, and performance.

Book: Words Around the Table

Gail Ramshaw. Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 1991.122 pages; $8.95 (paper).

An appropriate subtitle to the book Words Around the Table is "Reflections on the Words and Deeds of the Sunday Eucharist." In the book, Gail Ramshaw has sought to expand the readers' thinking concerning the mystery of the supper of our Lord.


Copyright Brochure

Still have questions about copyright? The article "Copy Right" in RW18 answered many questions, but you may have others, including some about church rights in taping and broadcasting worship services and use of copyrighted videos. "Rightful Use" is a new free brochure from the Presbyterian Church (USA). To order, call 1-800-524-2612 (DMS #223-91-006) or write to Presbyterian Church Distribution Management Services, 100 Witherspoon St., Louisville, KY 40202.

Aliens on the Way: Services for the six Sundays of Lent, page 2 of 2

Sharing of God's Forgiveness

[Members of the congregation turn to each other and say, "God's forgiveness is for you . . . and for you."]


Hymn of Thanksgiving: "We Come, O Christ, To You"

[PsH 238, TH 181]

Prayer of Thanks and Petition

Tithes and Offerings

Resurrection Apprehension: Lots of ideas to calm those Easter sermon fears.

The anxiety begins around mid-February Palms sweating, lips thin and straight as a mail slot, you peek ahead in your calendar. There it is staring up at you from the page—the queen of Christian festivals, the holy day of holy days, Easter.

The Cross Tree: Involving children in Lenten worship

It was the season of Lent, the time when all God's people prepare to celebrate the mystery of Easter. Once again a branch stood in our sanctuary, stark and white against the rich oak woodwork. It was supported by a pot filled with heavy stones and covered by a black cloth.

A Directory for Worship: What it is, what it does

Who Determines Worship Practices?

"Says who?!" So say kids when they have disagreements. And so say church folk to each other when they disagree about worship practices or changes. Who determines what happens during worship? What should be said or done? In what order? How much variation is allowed from week to week or within a denomination?

Book: Introduction to Christian Worship

Revised ed. James F. White. Nashville: Abingdon, 1990. 317 pages.

There are revisions, and there are revisions. Some publishers will add a new preface, update the bibliography, and trot out a book as a NEW, REVISED, IMPROVED, ENRICHED EDITION. White's book, even though appearing only ten years after the first edition, is a genuine revision. Although much of the earlier edition is left intact, both additions (such as a section on worship and justice) and numerous minor changes make this an honest "Revised Edition."

Book: The Embodied Word

Charles L. Rice, Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1991.144 pages.

This is not a general textbook on homiletics. Charles Rice sharply defines the focus and early forges the link between Word and sacrament. His basic thesis is that preaching cannot stand apart from the sacraments, and the aim of the sermon is to bring the worshiper to "make Eucharist."

Book: Litanies and Other Prayers for the Common Lectionary, Year B

Everett Tilson and Phyllis Cole. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1990. 220 pages.

Homework for Worship: Tying family worship to the Sunday worship service.

Today's parents no longer assume that they know what family worship should be. Even those brought up with some sort of family prayer and Bible reading are often looking for a more meaningful way to worship at home with their families.

From Doubt to Faith: A Scripture drama based on the story of Thomas.

This service focuses on the gospel narrative of Thomas' journey from doubt to faith; it is intended for an evening service on the Sunday after Easter. The service incorporates a dramatic reading prepared by Bert Polman, associate professor of music at Redeemer College. It was first held at the Ministers and Spouses Conference held at Redeemer College on March 28,1989.

Our Worship Begins

Hymn: "Christ the Lord Is Risen Today" (1)
[PH 113, PsH 388, RL 325, TH 277]