Articles in this issue:
Q. Opinions in our church differ strongly about the "dress code" for our minister and others leading worship (a range from polo shirt to "Catholic" vestments). We would appreciate any advice you can give us, especially about the use of robes.
A. I will here limit my answer to the wearing of special worship "vestments" (although the polo shirt versus the business suit is also an interesting issue). As often when discussing worship questions, it's helpful to be aware of a bit of history.
What Pastor Reg realized one night after a worship committee meeting was that nobody read the Gazette's Saturday religion page as devotedly as Christians. At least the members of the committee seemed to know everything everyone else was doing.
Beth Olson said the Lutherans were showing the new Billy Graham film up on the side of the church and urging everyone to bring lawn chairs—homemade pie, coffee, and punch would be served. No offerings. "Wouldn't that be great?" she said. "Why didn't we think of that?"
Allow me to introduce myself. I'm the rookie theological editor at CRC Publications. Apart from sending our authors' occasional doctrinal slip-ups into cyberspace (and unwittingly appending my own), I also get to join the editorial staff of RW. That means I now have opportunity to watch these gifted people work their magic. I come at this after twenty years in the parish ministry. What credentials do I bring to my new role?
Call to Worship: Matthew 11:28-30
Jesus says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest."
O Lord, we turn unfilled to you again.
Jesus says, "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Our souls are restless until we find our rest in you.
Scripture: John 8:12-20
"Shine, Jesus Shine" RW 39:26; SFL 239
"Christ, the Life of All the Living" PsH 371
Because this song was new to our congregation, we printed a brief history of the hymn in the liturgy and asked the choir to sing the first two verses. "This Little Light of Mine"
We invited the children to come forward and sing this to the congregation.
In 1995, Natalie Lombard created the liturgical art for COLAM 95, the Conference on Liturgy and Music cosponsored by Reformed Worship and Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Throughout the week of the conference, she added elements to the worship space in the Calvin chapel. The final day, when all the elements were in place, everyone came to morning worship and sat beneath the stunningly beautiful mobile and canopy.
Scripture: John 10:11-21
Call to Worship: Psalm 95
Children' Choir: "The Good Shepherd" Delmonte
Our director of children's ministry led the children through the Children and Worship lesson on Jesus as the Good Shepherd. Using an oversized flannel-board and figures, she spoke of the Good Shepherd who seeks out his sheep.
Anne and I arrived at church twenty minutes early and slipped into our accustomed pew. I bowed my head and prayed for an outpouring of God's grace on the congregation, on our pastor as he led in worship, on our family, and on myself.
Scripture: John 11:17-44
Our praise team led this service and used the following songs: "Celebrate Jesus," "Hosanna," "Lord, I Lift Your Name on High," "He Is Lord", "There Is a Redeemer," and "I Looked Up." All of them can be found in Songs for Praise and Worship (Word, 1992).
"And Can It Be That I Should Gain" PsH 267, RL 450, TH 455