The "hymn festival" is rapidly growing in popularity. With the explosion of new songs for worship, the rediscovery of old gems, as well as the joy of singing familiar favorites, the hymn festival provides an opportunity for congregations, choirs, and instruments to join in varied ways of singing hymns together. A hymn festival can celebrate the hymns of a season or of a given tradition, author, composer, or theme. Any good reason will do!
Articles in this issue:
Why does the minister wear a robe? What is justification? Why can't I eat the bread? What is a benediction? You know how many tiles there are in the church ceiling?
Those who sit in church with children will not find these questions unusual. Children often find our worship practices beyond their size: the pews they sit in and the words and concepts they hear are too big.
The Common Lectionary (see REFORMED WORSHIP 1) provides pastors with a guide for preaching on the Christ-centered events and teachings of the liturgical church year. Below are the Scripture passages that year A of the lectionary suggests for the Sundays from Easter to Pentecost. Also listed are hymns and service music that focus on the themes of the resurrection and the presence of Christ in our lives. Hymn page numbers are given for four hymnals:
The Hymnbook (HB)
The organ music suggested on this page is based on hymn tunes in both the forthcoming new edition of the Psalter Hymnal (PH) and the recently released Rejoice in the Lord (RL). All the tune names are listed in alphabetical order, followed by hymn title, composer, publisher, and a letter that will tell you whether the piece is easy, medium, or difficult (E, M, D). We worked by tune names rather than hymn titles, since different texts are sometimes sung to the same tune.
Our Worship Begins(1)
Words of Welcome
*Processional: Psalm 24(2)
Pastor: People of God, receive the greeting from our God, the King of glory: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, through the working of the Holy Spirit.
The people greet each other.
*Hymn: Rejoice, the Lord Is King
We Hear the Word of the Lord
Prayer for Illumination
Scripture Reading: Acts 1:1—11
Word for the Children
When interviewing James Ward, one is interrupted by children (his and neighbors') running through the room and by a ringing telephone. Thus our conversation about intercultural worship was punctuated with muffled giggles and with talk about concert bookings, mikes, synthesizers, and recording facilities.
Some preachers are tempted to do as little "doctrinal" preaching as possible. After all, people expect preachers to be relevant, to relate the gospel to the here and now. How does a preacher do that with an old document filled with intellectual statements about faith that seemingly have very little to do with life?
Most (Christian) Reformed congregations cannot get many of their members to attend an Ascension Day service on the Thursday evening ten days before Pentecost Sunday. For that reason—and because they are not quite ready to give up—many congregations have begun worshiping with other congregations on Ascension Day. In some areas the churches have even organized Ascension Day rallies.
Richard Stoll Armstrong. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1986, 216 pp., $9.95.
Books about worship rarely mention evangelism; books about evangelism only occasionally touch on worship. In this book Armstrong focuses on the intimate connection between the two. Formerly an Episcopalian, Armstrong is now a Presbyterian and a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary.