I'm at the age now where I'm getting invitations to weddings of the next generation: nieces, nephews, and children of friends. Weddings haven't changed that much from a generation ago. For that matter, weddings have stayed remarkably unchanged for centuries. They, along with funerals, are just about the only ceremonies left in our culture that are broadly celebrated in similar ways.
Planning worship that becomes a meaningful dialogue between God and his people requires careful attention to each part of the liturgy. Every call to worship, response, assurance of pardon, and hymn should contribute to the theme of the service and to our ongoing conversation with our God.
In the series of service plans that follows I have attempted to emphasize that dialogue. Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians provides an ideal framework for a series of services that focus on thanksgiving.
The Book of Common Prayer calls marriage a "holy estate which Christ adorned and beautifiedwith his presence and first miracle that he wrought in Cana of Galilee." I like that very much, calling marriage a holy estate. And I'll tell you why.
For organ, other instruments, solo voice, and choir
Although nearly all church weddings include organ music, many couples seem uncertain about the place for other musicians in the ceremony. Should family and friends who are musicians be encouraged to do their part to make the occasion joyful and memorable?
A seasoned pastor answers common questions couples ask.
Some couples take months, even years, to plan their marriage ceremony. Others organize this special event in a much shorter period of time. But regardless of the amount of time they put into planning, every couple wants their ceremony to be meaningful and memorable.
What songs may be sung in a Christian wedding? Must we use one of the "traditional marches" for our processional and recessional, or is other music available? Must the music preceding the wedding always be soft?
As couples begin to think more and more seriously about their weddings, questions about music are inevitable. A Christian wedding is a sacred service, reflecting a scriptural view of love and marriage. How can we convey that same sacred theme through music?
Family, church, and state all play a role
The bride was obviously nervous. It was only the rehearsal, but she showed signs of panic that didn't bode well for the next day's big event. With a gentle touch, the pastor led her aside.
Our church's librarian, Darcy Bulthuis, personally subscribes to your magazine and has made it available to us through the library. As a result, our worship committee, established in the spring of 1988, has made full use of the resources provided by your publication-the litanies, prayers, hymns, and suggestions for dedicating the new Psalter Hymnal.
Too often the wedding production seems to get cluttered with a parade of professional people--musicians, florists, photographers, coordinators—all doing a "perfect" job in a mechanical way. Perhaps that's why it's always rather pleasant to discover exceptions to the rule--to leam, for example, that so-and-so's mother made all of the bridesmaids' dresses or that the brothers of the groom wrote and sang that very touching, yet slightly off-key song for the service or that a favorite niece made 487 of those hand-decorated cupcakes.
ACP AWARDS TO RW
The staff of Reformed Worship is delighted and proud to announce that we received three awards at the annual meeting of the Associated Church Press (ACP), a group established to promote fellowship and foster helpfulness among editors and publishers of Christian periodicals and to stimulate higher standards of religious journalism. RW submitted entries in eleven of the thirty possible categories and competed with eighty other newspapers and periodicals for the awards. We were honored with the following:
Someone needs to keep track
Every wedding involves details that most people don't notice— unless something goes wrong. To help couples plan and prepare more efficiently for their weddings, some churches have appointed wedding coordinators.
A collection of recent hymns that invite the congregation to celebrate
Guidelines for weddings from two congregations
What kind of music is permitted? Do we have to be members? How much does it cost to use the church? How many people does the sanctuary seat?
In the past, couples had little choice about the shape of their wedding service. Out of two wedding liturgies in the back of the hymnal the pastor had his favorite, which he repeated wedding after wedding after wedding.
Confessions of a wedding soloist
The great feminist revolution notwithstanding, weddings remain the sole province of women. I know. I've watched weddings stealthily for years—hidden behind great palm fronds, tucked furtively into the shadows cast by huge pipe organs, or concealed in an out-of-the-way corner of a choir loft.
Brief notes on books and resources from various Christian traditions
Hymns for September, October, and November
For many—especially in our churches and schools—autumn is a time of new beginnings. What better time to sing to the Lord some new songs?
Earth and All Stars
"Let them praise the name of the Lord!" The words of Psalm 148 exhort all creation to join in praise of God. In a similar way, Herbert Brokering's hymn text, "Earth and All Stars," calls the universe to unite and "Sing to the Lord a new song."
During this past year we have witnessed many great historical events. We have seen walls of hostility crumble and have been challenged by profound political changes. We have noted the important role of the church of Jesus Christ in many of these changes.
A Reading for World Hunger Sunday or Thanksgiving Day
Narrator: Stomachs protruding, bulging sore. Two boys. Two reasons.
First World Boy: Mom, can I have more turkey?
First World Mother: Help yourself—there's plenty more.
Third World Boy: Mom, isn't there anything to eat? My stomach's
Third World Mother: Maybe tomorrow.
Narrator: One mom laughs. The other mom cries.
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with
Lord of lords, Creator of all things, God of all things, God over all gods, God of sun and rain, you created the earth with a thought and with your breath.
Lord, we brought in the harvest. The rain watered the earth, the sun drew cassava and corn out of the clay. Your mercy showered blessing after blessing over our country. Creeks grew into rivers; swamps became lakes. Healthy fat cows grazed on the green sea of the savanna. The rain smoothed out the clay walls; the mosquitoes perished in the high waters.