March 1988

RW 7
Ascension/Pentecost
Reformed Worship issue cover

Articles in this issue:

  • Austin C. Lovelace. Chicago: G.I.A. Publications, Inc., 1987,120 pages, $9.00.

    This little book does exactly what its title says: it offers background material on hymns in short paragraphs that can be used in church bulletins or educational materials; anyone who purchases the book may use this information without permission or charge. The stated purpose of this resource is to help worshipers to sing not only with the Spirit but also with understanding, as Paul exhorts us to do (I Cor. 14:15).

  • Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1986,104 pp. $7.95.

    The only way, really, to review a book of this kind is to use it. However, for a retired seminary professor, that is next to impossible. In the past two years I have conducted only three funeral services. Therefore, in assessing this book I must rely on the next best method: reading each of these services out loud.

    Before examining the contents of this book, however, I should like to mention some of the problems I had in the area of funerals when I was in the parish ministry.

  • Unlike the readings recommended for Advent through Pentecost (which are often related thematically around the main motif presented in the Gospel lesson), the lessons for this post-Pentecost season are seldom tied to the other readings for the day. Often during this season lessons follow a different Bible book in each category (e.g., 2 Corinthians, 2 Samuel, Mark) but share no discernible common theme.

  • The list on this page focuses specifically on hymn concertatos for this part of the church year. A hymn concertato is a festive arrangement of a hymn, usually featuring congregational as well as choral and instrumental involvement. Brass fanfares and accompaniments appear frequently in concertatos.

  • The dramatic reading on these pages was prepared by Ervina Boeve, professor of Speech at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for the Conference on Liturgy and Music at Calvin Seminary, August 1985. Professor Boeve has also included some directors notes for those interested in rehearsing the reading and using it as part of worship on Pentecost Sunday.

  • The Opening

    Preludes: "Come, God, Creator, Holy Ghost"
    J. S. Bach

    "Breathe on Me, Breath of God"
    Edwin T. Childs

    Choral Call to Worship:
    "Breathe on Me, Breath of God"

    Sentences of Dependence and Greeting:

  • April-Easter
    Good Christians, All Rejoice and Sing

    This joyful hymn, which celebrates Christ's triumphant resurrection, first appeared in Melchoir Vulpius's hymnal Ein schoen geistlich Gesangbuch in 1609. The original text, "Gelobt sei Gott im hoechsten Thron" ("Praise Be to God Enthroned on High") is much older and ascribed to Michael Weisse, Bohemian Brethren minister and editor of the Brethren hymnal of 1531.

  • An item in the liturgy called "Encouragement from the Saints" may seem out of place in a Protestant worship service. Saints, after all, have never fared well in the Reformed tradition. We don't pray to them; we don't celebrate their feast days; we don't recognize them.

  • Choir Camp

    I first read about summer choir camp in the Guild Letters, a magazine published by the Choristers Guild. It sounded like such a good idea—-just the thing to involve our children actively in the church music program. I talked to our pastors, outlining some possibilities, and they were enthusiastic. Together we started planning.