Our worship planning team wanted to create a Maundy Thursday worship service that would provide historical and cultural context to Christ’s final hours before his crucifixion and offer an opportunity for the congregation to experience the symbols in a fresh way. I was challenged by our team to develop a vigil with a celebration of the Lord’s Supper as the centerpiece. In preparation, I immersed myself in the Passion narratives, commentaries, and historical accounts.
Articles in this issue:
The adventurous pilgrim in search of true wisdom will brave harsh clime and harrowing climb to question the mountaintop guru about the meaning of life. Modern pilgrims in search of worship-related wisdom need only brave slow Internet connections. The era of the point-and-click expert is here, via the World Wide Web. Of course, not all experts are equally helpful or equally wise. What follows, then, is a report of three helpful worship guru websites I’ve discovered on my electronic travels.
I’ll admit that I’m not too fond of sin. I’m speaking, of course, as a pastor and a preacher describing a bias in my preaching that I’ve carried for years. Too often in my experience the church has been a “guilt-giving culture,” and I have committed myself to preaching grace.
C. Randall Bradley. MorningStar Music Publishers, 2004. 330 pp. $32.00.
C. Randall Bradley offers a unique gift to those serving in the church’s music ministry: a book exclusively about thriving in the organizational and administrative aspects of the work.
Bradley systematically raises questions and issues that pastoral musicians inevitably face:
Our Lent series this year focused on the theme of sin. We used the seven deadly sins as a guide to examine our sin in some of the services. The first week of the series was a very general introduction to sin. The second week we introduced the seven deadly sins, using dirty rags to represent each of the sins.
William Willimon. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2002. 386 pp. $17.00.
Willimon’s announced task is to describe the theology and practice of ordained Christian ministry. His provocative book begins with an analysis of ordination and a description of images of the pastor that are common in contemporary culture. Chapter by chapter, he then describes and reflects on the biblical images of the pastor as priest, preacher, counselor, teacher, evangelist, prophet, and leader.
This service was prepared for the 2004 Symposium on Worship and the Arts held at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan. James Abbington played each of the songs on the organ or the piano; those considering this service will want to find a person (or more than one person) who is gifted at playing both instruments for the traditional hymns and spirituals as well as for the contemporary Black gospel songs. Most, but not all songs are by African Americans; those that are not have become favorites of African-American Christians.
Edited by Richard J. Mouw and Mark A. Noll. Eerdmans, 2004. 288 pp. $18.00.
Back in the 1970s, a big old church on the corner of Neland and Watkins in urban Grand Rapids faced an important decision—was it going to continue to provide a house of worship and a center of ministry in this neighborhood, or would it close its doors?
Earlier this spring, I attended a graduation open house held at a century-old church that had just been completely renovated. After the obligatory meet-and-greet, my friends and their three young daughters joined me on a self-guided tour of the sparkling new sanctuary that had been carefully fused to the original church building.
It was beautifully done—a nice blend of the fixed and flexible. Plenty of space for movement below and soaring space above for sound and light and large visuals.