In the very early years of its history the Eastern Orthodox Church adopted the custom of using the Paschal sermon of St. John Chrysostom at the Paschal Vigil service held during the Saturday night before Easter morning. Chrysostom first proclaimed this sermon as instructions to catechumens, new Christian converts, who were baptized during that vigil service.
Articles in this issue:
Three years ago I was due for a sabbatical and was looking forward to learning about worship life in Reformed communities in other countries and cultures. But instead I stayed part-time in the office while also becoming interim director of music at my home congregation.
The season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, March 8 in 2000. This service combines features from several services. Ronald Kok, evangelist of Living Hope Community Church, Randolph, Wisconsin, submitted plans from a community-wide service. Similar plans from Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan, were developed from a service by John D. Witvliet included in The Services of the Christian Year, Volume V of the Complete Library of Christian Worship, edited by Robert Webber (available from Hendrickson Publishing, 978-532-6546).
A copy of this article, complete with graphics, is available at the end of the article.
This series of messages was prepared for the worship life of Hillcrest Christian Reformed Church for Lent 1999. Our intent during this season was to help members of the congregation to slow down the pace of life, to think reflectively and devotionally about their relationship with God by focusing on the person and work of their Savior.
When I was young, growing up in western Michigan, our family made frequent trips to the area west of Chicago to visit grandparents and family. While in many ways the five-hour journey (before interstate highways) was long, the way was familiar to us. To ease the routine of monotonous travel, my sisters and I would sing. Sunday school songs, hymns, pop rock, and easy listening—accompanied by radio, cassette, or a cappella—were all part of our repertoire.
“Come and See” has been presented at women’s groups, youth groups, and in worship services. It has always been well received.
The actor who plays the part should not underestimate the amount of preparation time needed to portray the character—it is an emotionally and physically draining role. The length of the monologue requires creative blocking, and lighting effects add to the presentation.
Several well-known hymn writers “reappeared” recently for one hour in Bloomington, Minnesota. They were our guests at a hymn festival that was planned to build appreciation for the hymnody of the church among our children—and adults. The service was inspired by an article by Hal Hopson in The Chorister (Summer 1998), the journal of the Choristers Guild.
The liturgical seasons of Lent and Easter call for divergent musical expressions from an organist. Fortunately, many composers have worked to create beautiful new works for organ for these seasons. I reviewed over fifty recently released works from major publishing houses. The following collections are those I found most rewarding for worship and inspiring for congregational singing. Each is marked E (Easy), M (Moderate) or D (Difficult).
SOLO ORGAN MUSIC FOR THE SEASON
With the increase of seniors among us has come a growing demand for local pastors, lay leaders, and ministry groups to conduct worship services in senior citizens’ centers and rest homes. Leading the elderly in worship can be a most rewarding experience. But it also presents its own challenges. Here are some things to keep in mind when addressing the elderly.
led and narrated by Robert Webber with a live congregation. Wheaton, Ill.: Institute for Worship Studies, 1999. Available from IWS, (630) 510-8905; fax: (630) 510-0601; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Robert Webber, who has been offering numerous one-day workshops around the country (see current list below), has pulled together many of his ideas in a six-session video course. The videos include segments of actual worship services that model what he teaches.