On a cold December evening, sixteen neighborhood, children responded to an invitation to hear the Christmas story at our house. I didn't even know all of them by name, but I invited them because I wanted to test a new way of telling stories I had learned at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan. I had taken the four-day training session twice. But I was still somewhat skeptical of this children's worship program with its quiet, reverent environment. How could children sit as still as fifty-year-olds to hear God's Word?
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It's that time of year again. As always, Lent has flowed into Easter, and Ascension is still five weeks away. In our service planning, Easter Sunday so logically forms an integrated unit with Lent services, that we can easily be left wondering what to preach about on the Sunday mornings following Easter. To keep our thematic joints from showing through too much, we may need to apply some spring tonic to fortify the link between Easter and the five Sundays before Ascension Day.
"I don't know if we can keep it up I much longer."
We were having a discussion about worship; she was the chair of another church's worship committee. I'd always admired the energy she poured into each service, but it looked as if she was approaching "worship committee burnout."
"I wonder if we are reinventing the wheel every week," she said. "We find it harder and harder to make our services fresh and new."
Spending their day pinched into street shoes or treading dusty ground with only a flap of leather to protect them, feet fulfill an unflattering, though necessary, function. Feet are not glamorous; they are the workhorses of the human body. In fact, to some of us, they are an embarrassment when not housed in footwear. Ceremony that exposes our bony, chubby, knobby, ugly smelly, or crooked feet is to be avoided. It is a quaintism, we think, that we can do without.
Ash Wednesday is an ancient holy day in the Christian church calendar. It marks the beginning of the season of Lent—a time of penitence, discipline, and renewal. In the Ash Wednesday service we are reminded of our mortality, we confess our sins, and we experience forgiveness through Christ's death and resurrection. The "imposition of ashes" is a central part of the service. During this time you are invited to come forward to receive the ashes on your forehead.
It was lucky Conroy was in his office. Otherwise Jamie Laarman might have spilled it all to the secretary. That's how badly he needed to unload his frustration.
"He's not coming back in," Laarman told his principal. "I've had it with the jerk. He's pushed me over the line, and he's gone."
Conroy swung his chair away from the computer screen and stood. "Shut the door," he said. 'And who's got your kids?"
This Easter sunrise service is intended for a relatively small intimate group. It draws loosely from the Easter Vigil tradition, and through experience and participation tries to develop an awareness of and an appreciation for some historic Easter traditions. The music is simple, familial; and minimal, so neither an accompanist nor a hymnal is necessary. The sermon consists primarily of quotations from Scripture, minimizing the minister's work during an already very busy week. The italicized instructions are only for the information of the worship leader.
Cast: Narrator, John, Thomas
Running Time: Approximately 6 minutes
This reader's theater piece is conceived for a variety of settings. It works equally well as a static piece (read at miavphones with limited gestures) or as a staged reading. In a staged reading, saipts are still carried in a bindei; but movement and gesture patterns are specifically determined. The following rendering of the script indicates only broad movement patterns.