John D. Witvliet has been appointed assistant professor of worship and music at Calvin College and adjunct professor of worship at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Two future articles will explore the way in which lament can function in the ebb and flow of weekly worship, apart from times of crisis.
Articles in this issue:
For hundreds of years, printed music has been prepared mostly by engraving metal: scratching or punching the notes and ledger lines and all the musical elements into the metal plate (and it was done backwards so that when the paper picked up the ink from the depressions, it would appear correctly). This was a very skilled trade.
Along came music typewriters with noteheads and stems and dynamics markings rather than the alphabet. Typing required less skill than metal engraving, but the pages looked clunky.
How do we keep our young people in the church? What is it about our congregations and our worship services that make young people leave? How do we transform our worship to make teens and young adults feel they are part of the body?
As a teenager, Barry Liesch was fascinated by jazz, learned to improvise at the piano by imitating others, started transcribing music from recordings, and became a skilled piano accompanist, even going on tent crusades in his native British Columbia. His church gave him a music scholarship to a Bible college, something family circumstances would not have permitted. He continued his studies, earning a doctorate in music theory, and for the past twenty years has taught at Biola University in Loma Linda, California.
WE APPROACH GOD IN GRIEF AND SORROW
Prelude: "Duet No. 2 in F Major," Beethoven unaccompanied flute and bassoon
The Call to Worship
Hymn: "Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise" PsH 460, PH 263, RL 7, TH 38
Our Declaration of Trust and God's Greeting
Congregation of Jesus Christ, in whom are you trusting?
Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.
The children's hymnal Songs for LiFE makes frequent reference to Orff instruments. It even includes an index devoted to "Orff and Rhythm Instruments." At first glance, one might assume that "Orff" is a special brand name or type of musical instrument. In reality, the name refers to Carl Orff (1895-1982), a German music educator who was devoted to helping children interact with music in active, meaningful ways.
"Why sing songs written by fallen mortals when Almighty God has inspired 150 of his own hymns?" That kind of thinking made choosing music for worship a moot point for many of our Reformed forebears. You sang the psalms. No wrestling over hymns versus praise choruses. How things have changed over the centuries!
Maybe you've heard the joke before. The pastor of a rather "cognitive" denomination was really struggling with bringing his preaching to life. Let's call him Pastor C. He read all the books he could, but that really didn't seem to help. His sermons stayed dry and unappealing. He took a continuing education course in homiletics, but that didn't really seem to change anything except the balance in his study leave account.
Have you ever filled put one, of those product cards in a card pack or magazine? I ordered a catalog from "Banner Media Services," hoping to get some new banner ideas for use in worship. But the word banner was used in quite a different way than I expected; the company was marketing audiovisual equipment. More catalogs followed from different companies that mysteriously got my address; they offered a dizzying array of sound boards, microphones, video systems, "cassette ministry" systems, and more.