t is difficult to imagine worship without music. Indeed, for too many worshipers the music is the worship. As congregations are working to make their worship more accessible to a wider range of people and more expressive of the voices of young and old, traditional and contemporary, modern and post-modern worshipers, the greatest struggles and most obvious changes often have to do with music.
Articles in this issue:
Maranatha! Praise Band with Angela Dean and Bobby Brock. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003. $27.99.
Like many resources for churches doing “contemporary worship,” this collection (a book plus a VHS video or a DVD) focuses primarily on the technical aspects of leading a congregation with guitars, drums, mics, monitor speakers, and so on.
When words fail us, whether in times of joy or sorrow, it is often the words penned by another that help us give voice to our soul’s prayer. Maybe the written prayer expresses our thoughts so profoundly we use the same text, or maybe it helps free our own tongue to form a new prayer. But where do we find those prayers? There are many great prayer books, but another readily accessible source is the Internet. Many good sites provide prayers and other worship resources free for use in congregational worship.
Sara Singleton. Carol Stream, Ill.: Oasis Audio, 2002. 14-page booklet and 4 CDs. $29.99.
Producer Sara Singleton has assembled an “audio sanctuary” that clearly reverences the Scriptures, warmly embraces the prayers and spiritual disciplines of past generations of believers, and, through vocal and instrumental selections, encourages the listener to savor the truth of the gospel and sweetness of close communion with the Savior.
On February 18, 2003, a Tuesday morning, Immanuel Christian Reformed Church of Brampton burned down almost completely. Many of us stood that morning watching the firefighters struggle to control the flames as we struggled to comprehend what was happening. The congregation experienced mixed emotions. Erick and I had been in Brampton for less than a year, so we hadn’t yet become attached to the building; others struggled, knowing that the building had been in need of expansion or revamping to become a more functional space.
Deborah Moore Clark. Macon: Smyth & Helwys, 2003. 252 pp. $18.00. ISBN 1-57312-364-1.
Author Deborah Moore Clark has written a focused and thorough book on the theology and practice of Christian worship. The book lends itself to group study by a worship committee or church staff in that each chapter ends with probing questions that get to the heart of worship priorities.
In a culture obsessed with health, it is perhaps too tempting to describe everything in terms of health. But health-related metaphors are easily understood and often are illuminating—the kind of metaphors that communicate well in church newsletters and choir bulletins.
Reconciliation is a process. It is a long and often difficult road through truth and justice aimed at the restoration of broken relationships, in order to establish a new reconciled reality. There are no quick-fix solutions, no shortcuts or easy roads. The process of reconciliation that is taking place in the church in South Africa illustrates the challenges and offers guidelines for rituals of reconciliation that can help the church worldwide address its ongoing need for reconciliation.