It isn’t enough. I am wholly convinced that it isn’t enough.
World Communion Sunday isn’t enough. All Nations Heritage Sunday isn’t enough. It isn’t enough to sing a song from a different culture on occasion. It isn’t enough to pray for a nation and community other than your own on occasion.
Some parts of the Bible tend to get all the spotlight—the gospels, Paul’s letters, the psalms, Genesis, Isaiah. But it’s rare that we hear the names of Nahum, Habakkuk, or Obadiah on Sunday morning. The 12 books known as “the minor prophets” are often left out of the worship rotation because of the harsh nature of the words and ideas they contain.
This lecture was presented by Rev. Kathy Smith at the January 2015 Calvin Symposium on Worship at Calvin College, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, as part of a plenary session titled “Public Worship and the Many Layers of Gospel-Shaped Reconciliation.”
How can worship lead us to a deeper unity in Christ in spite of our differences, and how can it be a means of healing and hope?
About ten years ago I was given the chance to work at the national offices of the Presbyterian Church (USA) in Louisville, Kentucky. I had never lived outside of Puerto Rico and had only experienced church as a Presbyterian in the context of the island. Coming over to the United States provided unique opportunities and challenges. I had to navigate a language other than Spanish. I had to live in a place where I became a minority. I had to deal with a different culture (or cultures). It was fascinating and terrifying at the same time.
As we work to create multicultural communities and worship, we must at some point talk about belonging and what it means to be part of our community. What does it mean to belong to our group, our tribe? More important, perhaps, is the question “What makes a person feel that they belong?”
Pullman Christian Reformed Church’s diversity in worship is a result of the efforts of our membership and staff as well as our commitment to meet the needs of the community in which we reside.
Tucked into a neighborhood of middle class homes in Denver where South Race Street makes a diagonal intersection with East Cornell Avenue sits a 1960s-style building covered by a low-hanging shake roof. For 30 years, a vibrant congregation filled the pews on Sundays, engaging various generations in worship and experimenting with newer styles of outreach and music. Then, 20 years ago, the congregation voted to accept an opportunity to merge with another church in order to plant a ministry in a newer part of the Denver metro area that had few worship options.
Is there a place for a gospel choir in a predominantly white Christian high school? What would such a choir look like? What would it sound like? What would be the benefits to the choir members and their communities? In this article Nate Glasper shares his heart and his journey with a group of high school students from Grand Rapids Christian High School. —JB
Reformation Day services are often festive, rightly celebrating the recovery of central Christian truths in the Protestant Reformation: the great “solas”—by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Another great recovery in the time of the Reformation was that of congregational singing and particularly of psalm-singing. It was psalm-singing that became part of the focus of the 2012 Reformation Day service of several Christian Reformed churches in Sioux Center, Iowa.
This Psalm 23 litany is designed to be read by people from three different generations—whether from the same family or from different families. It provides a low-stress way for people of all ages to participate in the worship service. This litany would also be a beautiful addition to a family reunion, funeral, or even a wedding.
The three parts are indicated like this:
Gen 1 = first generation person
Gen 2 = second generation person
The book of Psalms begins with metaphor. The righteous, those who are close to God and follow his way, are like trees, Psalm 1 says. This message is foundational for understanding the rest of the psalter. It is the referent for psalms of praise and protest, of comfort and fear, of adulation and anger.
As our worship team began planning for Thanksgiving, we realized we wanted to do more than offer a one-time Thanksgiving service. We wanted the congregation to think about what they were thankful for through the whole Thanksgiving season, and we also wanted them to think about how they could give back to God. This series was started six weeks before Thanksgiving.
The United States has seen an increase in protests in this past year over the treatment of people of color by police, challenging the country to address questions of systemic and prevalent racism that is so insidious many can’t even recognize it. This struggle is not unique to the United States; it’s happening around the globe where race and ethnicity have created social strife among various peoples and nations.
La constancia, los valores litúrgicos permanentes, y la ayuda del Espíritu en medio de nuestras debilidades.
지속성, 지속적인 성품, 그리고 우리 연약함을 도우시는 성령님
Desiring to further express the diversity of the body of Christ and support a broader base of Reformed churches, RW is committed to taking a very small first step by making one article in each issue available in Korean, Spanish, and English. —JB