December 1997

RW 46
Reformed Worship issue cover

Articles in this issue:

  • This past year was one of the most invigorating enjoyable, and exhausting years I have spent for a long time. In the March 1997 issue (RW 43:2) T wrote that I was on a partial study leave to deal with a number of questions:

  • This service was prepared by John D. Witvliet to accompany his article on p. II.

    Gathering for Worship

    Call to Worship and Greeting

    Hymn: "Go to Dark Gethsemane" PsH 381, PH 97, TWC 225

    Opening Prayer


    Prayer for Illumination

    Scripture Readings

  • This service was adapted from an annual Festal Service of Easter Lessons and Carols with Procession developed in Christ Church Cathedral, Ottawa, over a period of decades. It brings together many traditional elements of Christian worship in celebration of the resurrection of our Lord. Through readings and carols and congregational hymns, the service recalls the prophecies and the events leading up to and following the resurrection, and concludes by looking forward to the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

  • Notes


  • For the last several years, our congregation has connected the traditional Christmas children's program to another program during Lent or Easter. Last year during Advent we used the series "Have You Seen the Angels?" (RW 37) along with a children's program. So our Easter program (see below) also focused on angels.

  • Planning worship for Good Friday is a challenging pastoral and theological task. How do we begin to acknowledge the power and the mystery of the cross of Jesus Christ? How do we proclaim, even on Good Friday, that Christ is crucified and risen? What emotions are appropriate to express? Do we rejoice or do we weep?

    Three Typical Approaches to Good Friday

    A quick study of thirty or more printed orders of service in my files suggests that most Good Friday services feature one of three strategies.

  • Our congregation was in need of healing. During the span of a year or less many members of the Neland Avenue Christian Reformed Church had experienced serious illness, death, and other tragedies. The elders responded to these needs by calling several mid-week prayer services, which were helpful to those who attended. However, members also desired to deal with such needs in the context of congregational worship. The following service was planned and conducted in response to that need.

    Explanation of the Service (1)


    Object: A bag of "silver" coins

    [Using a cordless microphone, someone clinks coins onto a table.]

    Listen! Someone is counting out coins. Big coins, coins that are probably worth lots of money. From the way they ring, they sound like silver coins.... Maybe even real silver, solid silver.

    Listen! They're talking about how many coins there should be. Hmm, I wonder what they could be buying that's worth so many coins?