The Solemn Reproaches is an ancient text of Western Christendom associated with the ending of a Good Friday service. The reproaches follow the pattern of Psalm 78, which rehearses God’s continuing acts of faithfulness and Israel’s repeated rebellion.
Articles in this issue:
Another communion service is coming up—just in time! We need all the grace we can get.
U To do: Confirm with Pastor Peter and elders from our supervising church to join us for planning and prayer.
Winter can sap the life out of anyone. The forlorn landscape causes hearts to contract, shrinking inward until it’s safe to come out again. Broken branches, shriveled foliage, and rasping dry winds—all discourage any hope of life, either in plants or in our own dispirited hearts.
In the midst of life, we are in death.” But fewer and fewer of us share in the sad, sometimes openly commercial rituals that surround our final passage in this culture—more and more grieving family and close friends mourn by themselves.
Our congregation meets for a communion service every year on Maundy Thursday. Sometimes we meet in our fellowship hall and share a simple meal of soup, salad, bread, and water. The food is on each table before the service begins; one person at each table serves the soup to the others. Sometimes we also include footwashing as part of the service. This particular service included both.
Hughes Oliphant Old. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002. Revised and expanded edition. 195 pp. $19.95.
Old published an earlier version of this very readable and practical book on Reformed theology of worship in the 1980s. If you missed it then, get it now.
[Two people dressed in black stand silently beside a table with a folded white sheet in the center. To the right of the table stands a bench. To the left of the table, and slightly behind it, stands a wooden cross. Two readers, also dressed in black, stand on one side of the stage area; a third reader stands on the opposite side of the stage area. Performance time: 30 minutes.]
Reader 1: Praise the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty. (Ps. 104:1)
Banner block. I know you’ve been there. Your worship planning committee hands you yet another impossible assignment: “We’re having a series on the psalms of lament and would like something that reflects the somberness of the topic yet is bright and lively—after all, we don’t want to depress people” or “We’re having a special service on the quality and character of God.
Moravian churches have been celebrating this service for more than 250 years and singing the same hymns for at least the last hundred years (see p. 2). This entire service, including music, is found in the Moravian Book of Worship, edited by Nola Knouse, director of the Moravian Music Foundation in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (www.moravianmusic.org).