December 2005

RW 78
Lent/Easter
Reformed Worship issue cover

Articles in this issue:

  • This past year Unity Christian High School in Grandville, Michigan www.unitychristian.org/ about.htm#mission), planned two chapel services during Holy Week. The first chapel was a time of reflection on Luke 22-23. The Good Friday chapel included a moving juxtaposition of a Christmas carol with the reading of the Passion narrative (see box).

  • After many years at Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ontario, Bert Polman (bdp5@ calvin.edu) recently joined the staff at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, as chair of the music department and professor of music. He is also a senior research fellow at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. He is currently writing two books, one on contemporary Praise and Worship songs, the other on musical settings of the Magnificat.

  • Many people are used to the idea of Lenten practices—giving up coffee or chocolate, perhaps, or doing some kind of regular spiritual discipline during the weeks before Easter. The worship planners at All Nations Church took that concept and applied it to Easter. What would Easter practices look like? Why do we do what we do every Sunday? Why do we go through the same motions? These practices are for Easter, but since every Sunday is a little Easter, they are encouragement for all Christians, in every season.
    —ERB

  • Toon Overvoorde has created many floral designs to fit the liturgical seasons, especially for Holy Week. We’re grateful to his brother Chris Stoffel Overvoorde for translating this article; Chris (over@calvin.edu) is also an artist and has been an RW consultant since we began 20 years ago.

    —ERB

  • All four gospels tell us that Jesus quoted from the Old Testament. No Old Testament book is quoted more frequently by Jesus than the Psalms. When we pray the psalms, we are praying the prayers of God’s people throughout the centuries. But, more importantly, we are praying the prayers that Jesus himself prayed.

  • Worship planning in the old days was easy, or so we’ve been led to believe. The pastor picked a Scripture text on Tuesday. The organist selected a few hymns the next day, and the church secretary typed it all up on Friday. No muss, no fuss.

    Perhaps those halcyon days seem so unbelievable because worship planning today is a very complex affair. It involves layers and layers of decision-making (themes, Scriptures, prayers, drama, art, and musical options) and schedule coordinating.