Historically, this final issue of the liturgical year has been dedicated to one topic, such as psalms (RW 96), faith formation (RW 92), or the Lord’s Supper (RW 88). In that vein, this issue is focused on our gifts and how we use them for the glory of God. In a way, that’s the subtext of every issue of RW, but this issue takes a closer look, expressing the theme in four related subthemes.
Articles in this issue:
Life is a story. Or, rather, a series of stories. “What’s your story?” is a question we like to ask each other. Your story, like everyone else’s, has a specific arc to it: birth, childhood, education, work, family, and eventually death—but every story is different.
At breakfast recently, my two-year-old, Maggie, was having an animated conversation with a sausage. When I asked her with whom she was talking, she held up the link and told me it was Olivia, the precocious pig who is the subject of her favorite books. While the irony of pretending that a sausage was a pig was lost on Maggie, the joy of imagination was not. Her “Olivia” went on an adventure around her plate, chatting with strawberries, playing in the oatmeal, and finally suffering a tragic end, eaten by a “Maggie-monster.”
A coffeehouse service is a wonderful opportunity to use your imagination in a setting where you have more freedom to present the gospel in creative ways, especially if your church tends to be more traditional.
For this service, use your fellowship hall or another casual space, rather than your sanctuary. Set up this space as you would for your coffee hour, complete with coffee, tea, and juice as well as snacks like doughnuts or other food appropriate to your theme.
Because the atmosphere is casual, the following rules apply:
Dance without music, you say? That sounds rather intimidating! Where is the rhythm and the underlying flow and melody to accompany the dance?
Dance without music and with Scripture or other spoken words can be very effective and pow- erful. Dance has the ability to make words come alive as the movement helps paint the overall picture. Many Scripture passages and poetic litanies have a natural flow to the wording, making them appropriate for pairing with dance.
Pastors encourage people in our churches to be more than passive observers. Affirming the priesthood of believers, we encourage members to be active participants in the life of faith and in the work of the church. But usually these encouragements happen in the context of a sermon, where we do the talking and they just listen. We teach with our words about participation, but the way we do it teaches people to be disengaged, silent, and inactive. In this article, pastors Michael Kooy and Mark Brouwer engage in a conversation about interactive preaching.
This litany includes quotes from the Belgic Confession and the Heidelberg Catechism. Both documents are ecumenically Reformed. The Belgic Confession was written primarily by Guido de Brès in 1561. He was martyred in 1567. The Heidelberg Catechism was prepared by Zacharius Ursinus and Caspar Olevianus, and was approved by the Synod of Dort (1618-1619). While written in the sixteenth century, these documents are useful today for their summary of biblical teachings.
The god of the innovative is hard to resist. While this issue of Reformed Worship encourages us all to pay attention to how multiple intelligences and multiple learning styles inform worship planning, we need to do so with thought and discernment. This article causes us to pause and to take the time to think about what we do in our worship. Nothing is value-neutral.