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December 1996

In Christ a New Creation: One artist shapes a worship environment rich with meaning and beauty

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.

Third Sunday of Lent: "I Am the Good Shepherd"

Scripture: John 10:11-21


Call to Worship: Psalm 95

Children' Choir: "The Good Shepherd" Delmonte

Children's Sermon

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.


Let the Symbols Speak: Preparing for worship by looking around

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.

Fourth Sunday of Lent: "I Am the Resurrection and the Life"

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

I Am--The Sayings of Jesus: A festival of hymns

This service was prepared by Kenneth D. Powell and David Tiedman, pastor and music director respectively of Pilgrim Church (United Church of Christ), Sherborn, Massachusetts. Powell composed the prayers and Tiedman the musical arrangements, some of which are included here. Since the songs come from different sources, the printed program for the service includes photocopies of all hymns, text, and music.

Fifth Sunday of Lent: "I Am the Way, Truth, and Life"

Scripture: John 14:1-14


Prelude: "We Come, O Christ, to You"PsH 238, TH 181


"All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name" PsH 470, 471, PH 142, 143, RL 593, 594, TH 296,297
"I Will Sing of My Redeemer" PsH 479, TH 650
"O Jesus, We Adore You" PsH 472, TH 255
"To God Be the Glory" PsH" 632

Songs for Lent, Palm Sunday, Easter, and Ascension

Lent, Easter, Ascension Day—what a marvelous time in the Church Year to think about the greatest events in the salvation story! What a time to bring our full adoration to our Savior— in song as well as in word!

To help us give voice to our adoration, more diverse styles of music are being used in worship today than ever before. "Musical eclecticism is the call of the day" (from of the preface of Gather, p. 6).

Sixth Sunday of Lent: "I Am the True Vine"

Scripture: Isaiah 5:1-7 and John 15:1-17



Transforming a Cinder-Block Sanctuary: Proclaiming the Gospel in wood, metal, and stone

A few years ago when entering the Calvin Christian Reformed Church in Ottawa, Ontario (for a Psalter Hymnal workshop), I was immediately struck by the artwork on the walls. It reminded me of the Roman Catholic tradition of depicting up to fourteen visual meditations on the suffering of Christ (see p. 16). After a few inquiries, I discovered that artist Johannes Veenstra, a member of that congregation, had picked up on that tradition and created the fourteen panels that are placed along the side walls of the sanctuary.

Maundy Thursday, Good Friday: "I Am King"

Scripture: John 18:28-40


We did this service on Good Friday because a neighboring church had already planned a Maundy Thursday service. I believe that it could be used effectively on either evening—either with or without a celebration of the Lord's Supper.

I Am--the Sayings of Jesus: A series for Lent and Holy Week

Few would dispute that the most self-revealing painting an artist ever produces is the self-portrait. Self-portraits are statements as well as disclosures. They are dangerous because they uncover what artists really think of themselves. They reveal the soul.

Easter Sunday: "I Am Returning to My Father"

Scripture: John 20:1-18

Service Notes

Call to Worship

What ended in darkness on Good Friday begins in light on Easter morning with the Easter shout of praise: "Christ the Lord is risen. He is risen indeed. Glory and honor and dominion and power be to our God for ever and ever! Christ is risen! Alleluia!"

Book: Leading in Prayer: A Workbook for Worship

Hughes Oliphant Old. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995, 370 pp. $19.95. Reviewed by Timothy Mulder, pastor of Preakness Reformed Church, Preakness, New Jersey.

Hughes Oliphant Old has written a practical guide to help ministers teach their congregations the language of prayer. In a warm introduction, he tells family stories of how a life of prayer develops.

A Dramatic Reading: John 18:28-19:16


[The narrator stays behind the pulpit. Jesus stands to the front, left, the priest to the front, right, Pilate moves back and forth between Jesus and the priest. The lights are dimmed.]

Narrator: Judas has done his job. Jesus has been arrested, and his disciples have scattered. Only a few hours earlier, he was questioned by the high priest. His face shows the bruising and swelling from a beating he received from the temple guard.

The Three Days: Celebrating the summit of Holy Week with four services and two sacraments

I remember when I was a kid and sometimes Christmas and New Years Day fell in a particular year on a Saturday Because we were a pious church-going family, we would attend all the services the church offered. That meant worship on Saturday morning for Christmas service, and then again on Sunday morning and evening. But the real kicker came the next weekend.



I write to express my appreciation to you and the entire RW staff for providing an excellent smorgasbord of articles that inspire, challenge, instruct, and provide helpful and creative ideas for worship leaders.

The Way of Suffering: Revisiting the stations of the cross

This service was adapted from The Services of the Christian Year, vol. V of The Complete Library of Worship, edited by Robert Webber Used by permission of the publisher, Hendrickson Publishing, 137 Summit Street, PQ Box 3473, Peabody MA 01961-3473.




RW would like to review some new children's Christmas programs. We're especially interested in those that were integrated into a worship service (rather than used as a separate program). Have you developed any? Or do you know of someone who did? Please send information about the program (including a script, if possible) to us at Reformed Worship, 2850 Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, MI 49560, or communicate on Internet to Thanks!

And There Was Darkness: A solemn service for Good Friday

This service is becoming a Good Friday tradition at Grace Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), a relatively new congregation in Madison, Alabama. The service is entirely spoken; there is no music at all. The people gather in silence, entering a church that has been stripped of all movable ornamentation at the conclusion of the Maundy Thursday service. Lighting is subdued, but adequate for the people to participate in Scripture readings, litanies, and prayers.

Compact Disc: Hymn: the American Boychoir

...a new recording of hymns by the American Boychoir. Produced by Angel Records #AGD5064, $13.99. Reviewed by Randall Engle, minister of worship at Calvary Christian Reformed Church, Bloomington, Minnesota.

On Hymns, Vestments, and Funerals

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.

Going to Heaven in a Hot-Air Balloon

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?"

When liturgy meets Murphy's Law

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?

First Sunday of Lent: "I Am the Bread of Life"

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.

Second Sunday of Lent: "I Am the Light of the World

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.