December 2003

RW 70
Reformed Worship issue cover

Articles in this issue:

  • Christian worship is based on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul says that Christ’s death and rising again must find its parallel in the life of believers: we must die to our old selves and rise to our new life in Christ (2 Tim. 2:11; Col. 3:1-5). He takes this one step further in 1 Corinthians 15:35-49, explaining that our very bodies are like seeds that must die and return to the earth before we can experience the resurrection of our new spiritual body. Spiritual truths suddenly become living (and dying) realities.

  • "If Christ has not been raised from the dead your faith is futile and you are still in your sins (and) those also who have died in Christ have perished."

    Say that again please. . . .

    "If Christ has not been raised from the dead your faith is futile and you are still in your sins (and) those also who have died in Christ have perished."

  • Picture Jesus Christ in your mind. What does he look like? A face gazing straight at you like the one in Warner Sallman's too-famous portrait? A cartoon character wearing a white robe and red sash (an image formed from years of exposure to church school papers)? A suffering body hanging on a rough wooden cross?

  • Teach Us to Pray

    My most distant memory of prayer in worship goes back to the “long prayer” in the Reformed Church in the Netherlands. Long it was, as the dominee covered our personal and communal sins; the needs of God’s kingdom and the Dutch kingdom as well as the rest of the world; the suffering of Sister Jacoba, who had pain in her left kidney; the cause of missions in Suriname; and an outline of the sermon.

  • The little boy came running over at a church gathering. “Pastor Mary!” he said, with a finger in his mouth. “Look!” I saw a fresh gap where his tooth used to be. “Ryan!” I said. “You’ve lost your first tooth!” He grinned back. “And the one next to it is loose!”

  • This article is the fruit of my work with CITA (Christians in the Theatre Arts) and their grant project on Worship and Theatre funded by a Worship Renewal Grant through the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. The substance of the article is the result of workshops offered at the 2001 CITA annual meeting in Oakland, California, and the 2003 Calvin Symposium of Worship and the Arts, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Thanks to all whose cumulative wisdom and insight contributed to this article. For information about CITA visit

  • The pastor called the children to the front of church and asked them to sit on the front bench. He pulled out a long rope, then asked for two volunteers to play the parts of Adam and Eve and hold the end of the rope. Two little girls volunteered and happily shared holding the end of the rope. The pastor picked up the rope about two feet down and asked for a Noah. Immediately a three-year-old boy whose name is Noah stood up and, with a broad smile, held his part of the rope. Next the pastor called children to be Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and Aaron. Then Joshua, Mrs.