December 2010

RW 98
Reformed Worship issue cover

Articles in this issue:

  • There on the pulpit, my sermon was dead. Again. It was just too much: too heavy, too complicated, too cumbersome. It had given up its Holy Ghost. But I carried it up there to preach anyway. The truth is, after twenty years of preaching, I got lost for a while, and I preached a lot of roadkill.

    For the sake of my soul and for the souls of my hearers, I’ve identified three forces from within and without that were killing my sermons before God made me able to breathe life into them again.

  • My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Psalm 22, one of the greatest laments in the psalms, begins with this poignant cry of Christ on the cross. The Jews who had gathered at the foot of the cross (whether to mourn or to mock) would have heard these first few lines of the psalm and been led by their theological training to recall the psalm in its entirety. It is as if Jesus spoke the entire psalm as he hung in agony on the cross—proclaiming both his profound identification with a suffering world and the unlikely victory his suffering would produce.

  • What language shall I borrow to thank you,
      dearest Friend,
    For this, your dying sorrow, your mercy
      without end?
    Lord, make me yours forever, a loyal servant true,
    And let me never, never outlive my love for you.

    —Medieval Latin poem

  • Q We hear a lot about people “giving things up for Lent.” What implications might this practice have for corporate worship?

    A Individuals often go without a certain food or activity as a way to make Jesus’ journey toward the cross more prominent in their life. But perhaps congregations could consider similar practices or emphases communally.

  • Reviews

    The Worshiping Body: The Art of Leading Worship
    by Kimberly Bracken Long,
    Westminster John Knox Press, 2009. 130 pages.

  • Good Friday News

    For this litany David Gambrell took Psalm 22, a traditional psalm for Good Friday, and interspersed it with quotes from The New York Times (Good Friday, March 21, 2008). Consider putting together a similar service using current news articles. You could use two readers—one for the psalm quotes (in italics) and one for the news quotes (roman)—or use many readers by having
    different readers for each of the news quotes.


    Psalm 22. For the director of music. To the tune of “The Doe of the Morning.” A psalm of David.

  • News & Notes

    Reformed Worship to Celebrate 100th Issue

    The staff of RW has been working hard in anticipation of our 100th issue, which marks twenty-five years of sharing worship resources and articles. That issue will be dedicated to the theme of celebration and joy, with resources from the book of Philippians. If you have resources related to any of those topics, please send them to us by December 1, and we will be happy to consider them for inclusion in that issue.

  • Lead Me to the Rock

    Props and Set

    Eleven medium-size rocks, ten on a large black cloth at stage left and one at front, center stage. Metal wheelbarrow at back, center stage. Wooden cross, stage right. Lighted Christ candle on a high table next to Narrator.


    Narrator; Person (dressed in black and wearing black gloves); Judas; Jesus; False Witnesses; High Priest; two Servant Girls; Peter; Observer; Pilate; Crowd (can be made up of False Witnesses, two Servant Girls, and Observer); Soldiers

  • Jesus turned to Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns’” (Matt. 16:23).

    When I read that verse, my first response is that I want that kind of wisdom to rightly discern what is not of God. But then Jesus goes on to say to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (v. 24).