Many churches send out the message that the morning worship service is the most important one by including most special events in that service. We do the opposite. Baptisms, professions, and our choral music ministry are usually part of the evening service. In addition, every six to eight weeks we try to schedule a special service of praise that focuses on lifting the congregation into a celebration of joy.
Articles in this issue:
Although an infrequent occurrence in most Reformed churches, the laying on (imposition) of hands is among the most venerable of all religious ceremonies—and one that is beginning to attract renewed interest in some Christian circles. What does the imposition of hands signify? Why has it played such a minor role in the Reformed tradition? Can this ancient practice contribute anything to Reformed worship today? Is it biblical?
A Biblical Tradition
WE MEET GOD
Prelude and Processional: "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty," arr. M. Shaw, H. Hopson [PsH 253]
[The congregation is asked to join the choir in singing in unison stanzas 1,2, and 4 at the conclusion of the processional]
Reading: Psalm 95:1-2
Psalm 98: "Sing, Sing a New Song," arr. D. Grotenhuis [PsH 98]
Federico Machado is the pastor of The Servant of the Lord Church (Iglesia El Siervo Del Senor) in Chula Vista, California. Worship services in this church are designed to meet the needs of part of the Hispanic community in the Chula Vista area.
I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.
Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only begotten Son, our Lord.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.
It's Sunday morning. All over the city Christians are leaving their homes and gathering in churches. For the next hour or more they will meet and perform a number of liturgical acts together. They will pray, sing hymns, read Scripture, listen to a sermon, and more—a stylized series of actions that we call "worshiping God."
LORD OF THE WINDS AND FIRES OF EARTH
You are the breath and the fire
with which the word of God is spoken,
The wind on which the Gospel is borne
anywhere and to anyone in the world.
It is your work and the wonder of your inspiration whenever people experience that Jesus lives.
That we follow him, that he becomes our way,
that men and women acknowledge that he is worth
all the trouble that this life can bring—
this is your enthusiasm and your power in us.
The elderly gentleman approached me determinedly from the center aisle, obviously intent on talking to me about what we had just experienced together in our evening service. With both hands he clasped mine and said huskily, tears welling up in his eyes, "Tonight, for the first time in my life, I'm proud to be the father of a mentally handicapped son."
Martin Thielen. Nashville: Broadman Press, 1989. 239 pages.
Reviewed by Ruth Hofman, a student at Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Jon couldn't wait to hold the doll I had brought along to his home that Wednesday afternoon last December. It was one of the visuals I planned to use to help him remember his baptism in preparation for his profession of faith. As I held the blanket-clad plastic doll in my arms, I told Jon about how small he had been when his parents brought him to church to be baptized, but he didn't listen. He only wanted to hold the doll—so I gave it to him. Tenderly he talked to the lifelike load in his arms, as if it were real. He caressed it lovingly and kissed it.