Music and weddings go together hand in hand—in fact, music gives voice to the celebration in ways no other medium can! While the church considers weddings to be private family events, the gathered guests, who function as the congregation, can and should have opportunity to praise God joyously, pray for the bride and groom’s new life together, and encourage them with Scripture. Much of this can happen in song!
Articles in this issue:
Q Some people in our church want to sing more psalms. I often respond by saying that we sing songs with verses from the psalms all of the time. Why doesn’t this satisfy them?
by Karl Barth, trans. David Carl Stassen. Westminster John Knox, 2008. 80 pages.
Karl Barth was one of the most profound and challenging Protestant theologians of the twentieth century. He devastatingly critiqued the liberal theology of his day and inaugurated a counter-movement that came to be known as “neoorthodoxy,” forcing the theological world of Europe and North America to consider anew what it would mean to take a sovereign God seriously and respond to him in the present day.
Every time our worship planning team faces another major season of the church year, the same nagging worry creeps into the back of our minds: Can we come up with any new creative ideas for this season? You’ve probably been there too (which is why you’re cruising this periodical for ideas, right?).
Every year I stick to my guns and assure the team that all we need to do is open ourselves up to the Holy Spirit, listen with curiosity to the pastor’s ideas for the next sermon or series, and be faithful in collaboration.
Several years ago when I was teaching Sunday school for twelve- and thirteen-year-olds, my class was looking for a Palm Sunday reader’s theater to perform for the congregation. We specifically wanted something that would give worshipers an idea of what people along the route were thinking as Jesus entered the city. After checking out several drama websites and not finding anything, I decided to write a reader’s theater script. We have since performed this drama with both children only and adults only. You may use simple costumes or have all the actors dressed in black.
When I was growing up, there was no such thing as Lent—at least not in my church. We did know about Palm Sunday. That was the day the Sunday school kids made palm branches out of paper, though we didn’t do the whole processional with palms that is so common today. And of course we went to church on Good Friday and Easter. But I didn’t hear of Lent, Ash Wednesday, Passion Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and the Easter Vigil until my college years.
“Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit God’s love for them. But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the LORD.’”
“A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” “And now one greater than Jonah is here.”
—Matthew 12:39, 41