December 2007

RW 86
Lent/Easter
Reformed Worship issue cover

Articles in this issue:

  • This column has addressed the “cross/screen” dilemma once before (“There’s an Elephant in Our Sanctuary,” RW 79). Here you’ll find another proposed solution to the problem.

    An artist I worked with some time ago said he would never include a cross in his art in any form. It was simply too powerful a symbol for him. At the time, I didn’t know how to respond. His reverence humbled me and changed the way I think about this most-recognized symbol.

  • Background

    This liturgy has three movements: confession, assurance, and rededication. It’s as though the reconciliation part of worship that is common in many Reformed churches is magnified to encompass the entire service.

    Because I refer to him in the meditation, I used Saint Augustine’s words about finding rest in God as the opening sentences. This theme is immediately picked up again in the gathering hymn, especially in stanza 4. Another
    communion hymn that echoes this theme is “In the Quiet Consecration” (PsH 302).

  • This sunrise service began with contemplative instrumental music. Because the service was held indoors, a picture of a sunrise was projected on the screen before the service and during each of the prayer/reading segments. Parts for Reader 1 were adapted from an Easter prayer titled “Lord God, Early in the Morning,” from Stages on the Way by John L. Bell and Wild Goose Worship Group © 2000, GIA Publications, Inc. p. 184)

    Call to Worship: “Come into His Presence” CH 420, SNC 3, SFL 4, WR 119

  • This is the second of a two-part series on the church year. Part 1 presented a general context for the use of the church year and a brief introduction to the Christmas cycle. This installment will discuss the Easter cycle—the most ancient of the church’s celebrations—as well as the twentieth-century developments that have pointed us back toward this useful tool for telling the good news.

  • The three songs presented here are taken from the soon-to-be-released collection Singing the New Testament—a wonderful new resource based on texts from Matthew to Revelation and jointly published by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and Faith Alive Christian Resources. In RW 85 we introduced three Advent and Christmas songs from this collection. Here are three more songs: two from the gospels and one from Romans 8.

  • You may be wondering why we chose to profile Mars Hill Bible Church, since usually we profile churches within the Reformed tradition. Mars Hill, led by Rob Bell, has a national reputation for being a growing, leading-edge church. While many churches are grappling with the seeming exodus of their young adults, Mars Hill and churches like it are attracting young adults in droves. That led me to wonder what it was about Mars Hill that appealed to young adults, and what we can learn from that church.

  • In RW 85, Corwin Smidt wrote an article on politics and worship from a United States perspective (“Pulpit Politics: Are They Oil and Water?” RW 85). This time we’ve invited a couple of Canadians to give their perspective on the same topic.
    —Editors

  • God sees the plight of refugees. He hates the injustice that leads to their displacement from home and country. The church, called to emulate God’s character, must also care about the hardships of refugees. One way to do so is to incorporate into a worship service a celebration of God’s just character and a call to care for refugees by performing this drama.