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December 1998

Songs for Lent and Easter

With this “Songs for the Season,” we again introduce songs on the working list for the new hymnal supplement being prepared jointly by CRC Publications, the Commission for Worship of the Reformed Church in America, and the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. This supplement is intended to introduce twentieth-century hymnody, praise music, and world music that will enhance Reformed worship.

Messengers of Life in the City of the Dead: One church and two Easter services--at 8:45 and 11:15

These two Easter services were submitted by Charlotte Larsen, director of music at the Ann Arbor Christian Reformed Church, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Like many growing congregations, Ann Arbor CRC holds two morning services that are distinct in style and flavor but grow out of the same Scriptures and include the same sermon. The different character of the two services is designed to address the diverse university community.

How to...Introduce Worship Songs: Some helpful pointers for pastors and other worship leaders

Worship leaders rarely give much thought to something as simple as announcing the next hymn. Maybe they should, especially in congregations where new worship leaders are involved.

Winkel’s helpful suggestions, adapted from an earlier article published in Modern Liturgy are one small example of the care with which Roman Catholic leadership is attempting to encourage congregational singing.


Worshiping with Hospitalidad: Celebrating the wealth of Hispanic worship songs from around the world

The setting is a Protestant church in Havana, Cuba. The sanctuary is packed on this hot, humid June Sunday afternoon. Following the reading of la palabra de Dios (the Word of God), the pastor delivers the sermon. He speaks of esperanza (hope) and la paz de Cristo (the peace of Christ) during this “special time”—a euphemism used by Fidel Castro to refer to Cuba’s crumbling economy and the resulting suffering of the people.

The Wrath of the Lamb: A Tenebrae service

After hearing about the Good Friday Tenebrae service at Calvin College several times, I decided to go last year. Arriving shortly before the service was to begin, I was amazed to find every seat taken; more than twelve hundred students already filled the auditorium.

Via Dolorosa--the way of sorrows: a series for Lent and Easter tracing Jesus' journey to the cross

In this series prepared for the 1997 Lenten season at La Grave Avenue CRC in Grand Rapids, Michigan, John Steigenga (the copastor who preached two of the sermons in the series) and I decided to trace Jesus’ journey to the cross using the famous idea of the Via Dolorosa. Traditionally, those words have referred to the last hours of Jesus’ life, particularly to the fourteen stations of the cross traced out on the streets of Jerusalem and enshrined in Catholic churches.

From the Upper Room to the Cross: A service including drama, footwashing, and communion

The Maundy Thursday service on these pages includes a dramatized retelling of the last supper and a dramatic reading of our Lord’s suffering in the final hours before his death on the cross. At Corinth Reformed UCC, we have used this Maundy Thursday service for three years now, and because it was so well received, it may become an annual tradition.

Dragon Stories: Ideas for a series for adults--and children--on the book of Revelation

In the continuing challenge to keep our evening worship fresh, our congregation recently embarked on an unusual study of the book of Revelation. This book—full of dragon stories, horsemen, and angels—provided an intriguing series of nine worship services.

Book: The Dialogue of Worship: Creating Space for Revelation and Response

Gary A. Furr and Milburn Price. Macon, Georgia: Smyth & Helwys Publishing, Inc., 1998. 96 pp. $13.00. (1-800-747-3016)

Remodelling: How tearing down the church brought comfort to Carl Westenberg

When Carl Westenberg drove up to the church on Friday afternoon, he deliberately backed his truck up onto the sidewalk that led to what was once the west entrance. He told his wife he’d backed it in because he wanted everybody to see the bumper sticker his grandkids had picked up for him for his birthday—“I’d rather be fishin’,” it said, but he wouldn’t have dared to say it aloud because the work was being done for such a good cause.

Planning to Catch a Larger Vision: COLAM '99

I can still se them walking across the Calvin College campus during COLAM '95-Mark Filbert and his entire children's choir. Like a Pied Piper, he led the children to mealsm recreation, bells, and all the other activities of the first COLAM that included children. Mark, music director of a Lutheran church in Chicago, wanted his children to catch a vision larger than they experienced at home, a vision that would stay with them and help to shape their growth in their own congregation. They had a great time.

On African-American Worship, Spoken Transitions, and Children's Music

Q. Our congregation is eager to learn more about worship in the African-American tradition. Can you recommend some resources for us to study?



I have enjoyed Reformed Worship for years, but understandably read RW 49 with particular interest [as writer of the text for Psalm 42 on p. 25]. Thank you for the sensitive way the business of copyright permission by the Copyright Company was handled. Absolutely fair, but nevertheless true to the facts. I have had so many requests for the text, and it is really too bad that one always has to add the “however . . . ” when granting permission.