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March 1990

One Lord, Four Questions, and Three Stories

The morning worship service is well under way. God's greeting and his people's praise have already been sounded. Sins have been confessed and forgiven. The order of worship calls for "Profession of Faith and Holy Baptism." We listen and watch expectantly.

Until He Comes: Six themes for the Lord's Supper

>Dear RW,

During the last few years my congregation and I have been learning together about the Lord's Supper. It all started one day when I was studying Luke's account of the Last Supper and compared it with Paul's teaching in 1 Corinthians 11.1 was struck by how rich the Scripture's teaching about the Supper really is.

Seek Ye First: Interview with Karen Lafferty

Even if you don't know very many Scripture choruses or praise songs, there's a good chance you'll know "Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God." From the time it was written in 1972, the song has been a "hit" and has been incorporated into countless hymnals and albums. To its composer, Karen Lafferty, "Seek Ye First" has been a wonderful miracle which gives her daily joy.

Book: Understanding Worship in the RCA: The Lord's Day Service with the Directory of Worship

Prepared by the Commission on Worship, The Reformed Church in America. The Reformed Church Press, 1988. Price: 1-9 copies, $2.00; 10 or more $1.50

Understanding Worship is a companion booklet to the RCA Worship the Lord (1978). While Worship the Lord is largely a collection of worship services (with brief explanations), Understanding Worship is a commentary on the services.

The Danger of Alien Loyalties: Civic symbols present a real challenge to the faithfulness of the church's worship

As any liturgist knows, we have to take more than one "church year" into account as we plan our worship services. The last time I counted, I came up with six distinguishable "years."

Book: Book of Worship

New York: United Church of Christ, 1986,563 pages, $28.00

Summer Festival of Praise


Words of Welcome and Introduction

Tonight we rejoice and give thanks for the arrival of summer. We celebrate God's glorious creation, we express gratitude for a season of accomplishments in school and at work, and we offer thanks to God for his gift of leisure that we will enjoy in the vacation days ahead.

Call to Worship

God's Greeting

Psalm 148: Praise the Lord, Sing Hallelujah (PH 188, TH 105)
[with organ and trumpet]

Prayer for the Service

A Hymn and a Prayer for Ascension Day


Up through endless ranks of angels,
cries of triumph in his ears,
to his heavenly throne ascending,
having vanquished all their fears,
Christ looks down upon his faithful,
leaving them in happy tears.

Death-destroying, life-restoring,
proven equal to our need,
now for us before the Father
as our brother intercede:
flesh that for our world was wounded,
living, for the wounded plead.


Worship Study Programs

Brochures for two different worship study programs were recently sent to the RW office.

"Exploring the Dimensions of Worship" is a seminar for members and leaders of the local church. The seminar, intended for a weekend retreat, is led by Dr. Paul Engle, an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America. For brochure contact: Bible Discovery Seminars, 2545 Berwyck SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506,(616949-0523).

Serving the Hymn: Some thoughts on hymn introductions

Jan Overduin, professor of music at Wilfred Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, is skilled in organ improvisation. He has performed throughout North America and is frequently heard on CBC (Canadian Broadcast Corporation) radio. He is pictured on this page at the Reil organ at Redeemer College, Ancaster, Ontario, where he accompanied three choirs in a recording of psalms entitled Sing a Psalm of Joy (available from CRC Publications for $8.95; $11.20 CDN).


Appreciates Advent Resources

Thank you for the Advent series in the September 1989 issue. I find these kinds of resources very helpful. I suspect that a lot of worship services will be similar this year! At least I know of two other pastors in this area who said they are using your materials. The bulletin covers are a real neat idea too.

But I Like to Sing Bass...: Why we shouldn't always sing in 4-part harmony

The other day I had parking-lot security duty during our worship service. The person who shared that duty with me used the opportunity to express his frustration about organists who play different arrangements of the hymns on different stanzas. He likes to sing bass and is irritated when organists take off on strange harmonies and lose him. "Why do they do it?" he asked.

Let Us Pray: Turning a monologue into the prayers of the people

How can we make congregational prayers more .meaningful? Like most pastors and worship leaders I've struggled with that question, searching for ways to make the prayer or prayers of the worship service truly the "prayers of the people."

Banner: Pentecost

The dramatic description of the wind and tongues of fire found in Acts 2 was the inspiration for this Pentecost banner, designed by Norman Mathias for Covenant Christian Reformed Church of Sioux Center, Iowa. The banner was submitted by Joanne Alberda.

Sharing a Common Faith: Participar en una fe comun


Prelude (a time to prepare for worship with prayer)

Words of Welcome

Calling on God (from Psalm 104)

May the love of God the Father, the
grace of the Son, and the fellowship
born of the Spirit be among you all.
Que el amor de Dios el Padre, la gracia
del Hip, y la comunidn del Espiritu
permanezcan con todos ustedes.


Hymn Festival for Pentecost


Prelude:"In Thee is Gladness".........................Busarow

"When in Our Music God is Glorified"..................Stanford
"Praise to the Lord"..................................Manz

Choral Call to Worship: "Now With Joyful Exultation" (PH 95:1)

God's Greeting

Hymn: "When in Our Music God Is Glorified" (PH 512, RL 508)

Scripture: Colossians 3:1-4,12-16

Youth Service: Full Circle

This service, organized around the six parts of the church year, was led by the junior choir of Park Christian Reformed Church, Holland, Michigan, at the conclusion of their choir season. For each part of the service, one choir member changed the pulpit parament with its appropriate colors and symbols. Others read passages from Scripture or Our World Belongs to God, a contemporary testimony found in the Worship Edition of the new Psalter Hymnal. And both choir and congregation sang songs for that season.

Fellowship Cookies

By some ancient arrangement, the entire town of Turtle Lake knew that in the event of a blizzard—October through April—First Church would always have services, no matter what the size of the drifts. The church's central location, people claimed, would allow the hardy and fervent from all congregations to plow through the banks to sanctuary at this one house of worship.

The Lord's Supper: How Often?

In most Reformed and Presbyterian churches, the typical Sunday morning worship service is a preaching service in which the sermon is regarded as the centerpiece. The Lord's Supper, or communion, is celebrated infrequently—perhaps four to six times a year—and is viewed by the congregation as something of a special occasion. Such occasional celebration is so much a part of the life of Calvinistic churches that it is probably not widely known that Calvin himself favored weekly celebration of communion.