This article has been difficult for me to write. I know how important music is in the church. But I also know that in many churches the area of music continues to be a battleground.
Commissioning is appropriately conducted in the response section of worship, before the prayers of thanksgiving and intercession. Leadership could well be shared by pastor, elder, or other congregational representatives.
The leader addresses the congregation:
The retreat was coming to a conclusion. All week the young people had been struggling with the issue of leadership. On this final morning they would have a chance to exercise that leadership by planning and leading our worship together.
We waited eagerly to see what they would come up with. Would it be something totally new, filled with the rhythm of the music they live by? Would it be irreverent to our adult eyes and ears? Would we truly be able to worship with them?
"Great Is Thy Faithfulness" (piano)<
"My Jesus, I Love Thee" (organ)
Psalter Reading: Psalm 111, read in unison
Hymn: "New Songs of Celebration Render" (Psalm 98)
[Tune: RENDEZ A DIEU; PH 28, RL W, TH14; concertato by Dale Grotenhuis available from CRC Publications (1-800-333-8300)]
We Celebrate Who God Is...
Reading on God's Word
John Calvin (1509-1564)
"Hey you guys, let's put on a play!"
"Great idea, Lucy! My dad has some old boards laying around for a set. I'll get them"
"Mom threw out some curtains the other day. We can make costumes!"
"Fantastic. Who can get some paint?"
"Abby, you do publicity. Barney, see if Mom mill give you some of her lipstick.
"Can I be the bad guy? "
Worldwide Communion Sunday (or 'All Nations Heritage Sunday/' as it is often called in the Christian Reformed Church) is held each year on the first Sunday of October. The day presents a wonderful opportunity to broaden the perspective of the local church and experience and celebrate "the Communion of the Saints," as is professed in the Apostles' Creed.
Thank you for the excellent article "Take Time to Celebrate" by Cynthia de Jong in the December, 1992 issue (FW 26). Personally I would have appreciated it even more a year earlier since we also celebrated our 40th anniversary in December, 1992. Out of our experience with that celebration I would like to add the following thoughts to her many wonderful suggestions.
Book: The North American Liturgy: A Critical Edition of the Liturgy of the Reformed Dutch Church in North America
Daniel J. Meeter. Available through University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1989.510 pages.
The author, a Reformed Church in America pastor in New Jersey and frequent contributor to Reformed Worship, completed this work as his doctoral dissertation at Drew University. Meeter has provided an invaluable historical service in the study of this liturgy, which was officially approved as the English text for the Dutch Reformed Church when it became independent of the Church in the Netherlands in 1793.
Naomi (college junior):
When I came to college as a freshman, I was really excited about the new experience. But I couldn't believe how lonely I was. I missed my family and friends, of course. But Sunday was especially bad, because I really missed my church.
What did you miss about your church?
Call to Worship: Mark 12:28-31
This is Jesus' statement about the two greatest commandments. Thus the service begins with a foil that the minister can use later on in the sermon.
Opening Hymn: "Christ Is Alive!" (another foil)
[RSH 413, PH 108]
Read responsively the Ten Commandments, alternated with some of our Lord's moral teachings (e.g., the Sermon on the Mount). You'll find a good example on page 1013 of the worship edition of the 1987 Psalter Hymnal.
Do young people find our worship services satisfying, uplifting, and a good vehicle for their own praise of God?
That's the question underlying this theme issue of Reformed Worship.
My husband and I have been church youth leaders for almost eight years—maybe that's longer than people should.
It's not that I don't love the job. There are times when we're coming home in our van and the whole vehicle bounces with the life of the kids in the back, singing and laughing and teasing. At moments like that I know there's nowhere I'd rather be. Sometimes the kids say some really moving things to Tom and me too—things that make us think we're being what we should be, people they can trust.
Call to Worship: John 8:34-36 and 1 Corinthians 6:12
Run these two passages together—e.g., "If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed...Am I not free?")
Law: Galatians 5:1-15
This passage deals with Christian freedom and obligation.
Assurance of Pardon: Isaiah 61:1-3
This is a tremendously liberating passage!
Hymn of Gratitude: "Make Me a Captive, Lord"
[PsH 546, PH 378, RL 442, TH 687]
Anyone who takes a close look at the history of the Christian church in the United States and Canada cannot help but be struck by the many ways in which our cultural and ethnic diversity has enriched and blessed us. We are truly a body that has been influenced by people of "every tribe, language, and nation."
Objection Overruled: Objection 3: Conversion and religious experience are just the result of social conditioning
Hymn of Repentance: "Out of Need and Out of Custom"
Read a selection of verses from Proverbs regarding sons and daughters honoring their moms and dads.
Prayer for Illumination:
"We confess that sometimes going to church is something we have been conditioned to do. Some of us might not even want to be here today, but felt we had to come. Speak to each of us individually. Call us by name. Your sheep hear your voice when you call them by name."
I-to Loh, general editor. Manila; The Christian Conference of Asia and The Asian Institute for Liturgy and Music, 1990. 280 hymns, 442 pp.
Sound the Bamboo is the trial edition of the new hymnal of The Christian Conference of Asia (formerly the East Asia Christian Conference). It is to be the successor to the 1963 EACC Hymnal, prepared by D.T. Niles, which was internationally respected, especially in Western ecumenical circles, but which has had little impact on the worship of local Asian congregations.
Call to Worship: 1 Corinthians 1:20-24,19,25 (in that order)
You should memorize and practice delivering the words of this passage, since it is a very powerful piece of oratory. Read the verses dramatically, with appropriate gestures.
Opening Hymn: "Come, All Who Fear the Lord God"
This hymn already reflects the fact that this service will be anti-scientism—though not anti-science.
Law: Job 28
Carol M. Noren. Westminster/ John Knox Press, Louisville, Kentucky, 1992.109 pages. $8.95.
Objection Overruled: Objection 5: The presence of evil and suffering in the world proves there is no God
Call to Worship: Psalm 147:1-6
This is a celebratory passage that still introduces the enigma of evil.
Opening Hymn: "God Loves All the Righteous," verses 1, 6, and 7
As we sing this song, we admit that this service will be difficult.
Psalm of Meditation: Psalm 88
This is the most raw and unresolved expression of grief in the Psalms; outdone, probably, only by Job 3.
Responsive Reading: Heidelberg Catechism 27
Donald Wilson Stake. Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1992.196 pages. $9.95.
Reviewers of dictionaries and encyclopedias are apt (perhaps ungraciously) to cite lists of items not found in a new work. Such a list of omissions would be easy to produce for any liturgical dictionary especially a concise one such as Stakes. But in this case the omissions make room for inclusions that are of special interest to Reformed Worship readers.
Objection Overruled: Objection 6: It doesn't matter what you believe because all religions are basically the same
Call to Worship: Acts 4:11-12
Opening Hymn: "Christ Shall Have Dominion"
This song contradicts the sentiments of those who hold to Objection 6.
[PsH 541,TH 439]
Prayer for Illumination:
"Lord, why does it matter what we believe? Please show us today why it matters what we believe, why you call us to be specific when we draw near to you."
Scripture: Acts 17:16-34
"If there is a God, why is this world so terrible?"
"How can we be sure that Christianity is any more valid than any other world religion?"
"If God is always with me, why do I feel as though I've never met him ? "
The first youth service at Georgetown Christian Reformed Church (CRC), Hudsonville, Michigan, was a raving success.
"We put 120 chairs up, and they weren't enough; we needed 140," said Rev. Dan Ackerman, copastor at Georgetown. "We packed the place tight."
In Tales of Tittivillus, Vorsteeg, a United Methodist minister, offers the reader a hilarious collection of dialogues between church leaders and Tittivillus, a medieval devil who delights in subverting worship. Since Tittivillus is fluent in Latin, all of the sixty or so vignettes are titled in Latin, Vorsteeg's intent in producing this little paperback was "to offer in a humorous way some thoughts, suggestions, and viewpoints to stimulate, enrich, and improve our practice of worship."
What is it that makes senior pastors, youths, and worship mix like oil and water? Having recently moved from a ten-year sojourn as youth minister into the senior pastorate, I wonder if I too will be a victim of what all pastors and youth workers fear when it comes to worship— the dreaded Eutychus Syndrome, described in Acts 20:7-12.