When I was a child, my father served on the sacraments committee of our church. That sounded like an important job to me: the sacraments were the most awe-inspiring actions I had yet experienced. No wonder I was surprised and disappointed to discover that "sacraments committee" was just a fancy name for the people who cut bread, washed dishes, and filled the font before baptism. I expected more, I guess.
Articles in this issue:
In Into His Presence James De Jong describes worship as a dialogue in which God's people receive God's greeting, pardon, instruction, and blessing, as well as respond in confession, thanksgiving, and praise. Many times the music in our services has blurred this view of Reformed worship. Howard Hageman tells of a worship service he attended in which the congregation had as much music to listen to as it did to sing, and the music had little or no relationship to actions of receiving and responding.
Cory Atwood. Wilton, Conn.: More-house-Barlow, 1986, 82pp., $9.95.
Inspired by the growing use of banners in worship, many people have considered becoming banner makers. Some have succeeded. Others have hesitated, unsure of where to begin or what's involved in making a banner. Banners for Beginners offers clear guidelines that will help potential banner makers translate their ideas into banners that enhance worship.
I am no liturgical expert. But I do care about liturgy and often feel its power to lift or depress, to focus or scatter attention. Especially, I feel its power to attach us to Jesus Christ.
Given the nature of my ministerial work, I am able to get out for a fair amount of guest preaching. Usually a consistory wants the newcomer to lead worship as well as preach, but sometimes others lead. In either case, a guest preacher both participates in and observes an already established pattern. Such experiences prompt the following observations.
As the new choir season gets under way each fall, many choral groups begin rehearsing anthems for two festive services: Reformation Sunday and Thanksgiving Day. Fortunately, a wealth of material is available for these two events. Many published anthems are based on familiar hymns associated with the Reformation and on traditional hymns of thanksgiving. You'll find some of those anthems listed on this page.
During a recent coffee break, the conversation wandered into worship. One colleague commented that services at her church weren't much fun.
This Service of Thanksgiving was submitted by Rev. Donald Jansma, pastor of the Reformed Church of Palos Heights, Illinois. Parts of it were borrowed from the Hunger Packet distributed by the R. C.A. in 1985.
*Everyone who is able, please stand.
The Approach to God
Organ Prelude: "Now Thank We All Our God"
E. Hovland and G. Kauffman
Introit: "Father, We Thank Thee"
Call to Worship
Thanks for beginning my RW subscription. And kudos on your work! I deeply appreciated RW 6—especially the Perspectives. I particularly valued the articles on fasting and the Pascal Vigil and the gem on the Ash Wednesday service.
Herman E. Luben
New York, New York
In reference to your article "Fasting" in RW 6,I would like to point out that the Westminster Standards do give instructions concerning public fasting.
Prelude: Our Father, Who Art in Heaven J.S.Bach
* Processional Hymn: Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven Rejoice in the Lord 144
st. 1-3 all
st. 4 choirs
st. 5 all
Scripture: Matthew 4:1-4
New Psalter Hymnal Arrives
The week of April 11 was intense, to say the least. We had scheduled our first Psalter Hymnal conference in Kalamazoo, MI, on Saturday, April 16—before we discovered that the printer couldn't deliver the books until the end of April. Fortunately the printer provided a solution: he promised a small advance shipment (with hand- rather than machine-sewn bindings) just to cover that conference and one the following week in Edmonton, AB.