March 1997

RW 43
Ascension/Pentecost
Reformed Worship issue cover

Articles in this issue:

  • God Gathers Us for Worship

    Opening is structured as congregation is accustomed. Songs should be celebrative. Include the song "And Jesus Said," by Gloria Grindall and Joy Paterson (see RW 41, p. 32). Include prayers of the people in this section.

    God Invites Us to a Party

    Prayer for Illumination

    Scripture: Luke 15:1-32

    Sermon: "It's Party Time!"

  • The pattern of fall thanksgiving services for the harvest is well established in most North American churches. Less often observed is an even older tradition of springtime prayer services around the time crops are planted. But interest is growing again for spring services of intercession, which provide a counterbalance to fall thanksgiving services.

  • Characters: Younger Daughter, Elder Daughter, Mother, Bartender/Diner, Neighbors, Interrupter

    Props: Textbooks, apron, bottles and glass, table settings, food scraps, bar stool, desk, knapsack, suitcase

    Note: In week one, use the script as printed below. In week three, add the two shaded portions of script included at the end of the drama and indicated in the script.

    [Mother and two daughters go to center platform, one on each side, mother's arms on their shoulders.]

  • This series of services based on the parable of the prodigal son was developed by Rolf Bouma when he was copastor of Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church of Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was influenced by Henri Nouwen's The Return of the Prodigal Son and Robert Farrar Capon's The Parables of Grace. Bouma also acknowledges contributions by others in churches where he preached this series, including copastors Leonard Vander Zee and Roy Berkenbosch at Eastern Avenue and Paul Brink and Charlotte Larsen of the Ann Arbor (Michigan) Christian Reformed Church.

  • Letters

    LOVED THE COLOR

    Your December issue of RW [42] came yesterday, and I have found myself devouring it! It is a first-class journal with many aids to the pastor and the worship committees of local churches.

  • The long summer season after Pentecost (in many churches called Ordinary Time) offers an opportunity for congregations to become acquainted or reacquainted with hymns that, while not seasonally specific, are especially appropriate for certain times in the worship service. On these pages we will look at a hymn particularly suited to the opening of worship, a communion hymn, and a hymn for the close of worship.

    I Greet My Sure Redeemer

  • Notes

    CONFERENCES

    Winter Park, FL, March I
    Brandon, FL, March 3
    Coral Gables, FL, March 10
    Niagara Falls, Canada, April 4
    Windsor, ON, April 5
    London, ON, April 7
    Guelph, ON, April 12
    Oakville, ON, April 19
    Toronto, ON, April 21
    Oshawa, ON, April 26
    Peterborough, ON, April 28
    SanFrancisco, CA, May 10
    Modesto, CA, May 12 Mendocino, CA, May 14
    Arcata, CA, May 15
    Sacramento, CA, May 17
    San Jose, CA, May 19

  • Strange! We blow out all the stops celebrating Christmas—even though the Bible is mum on the time of year that Jesus began the humbling business of becoming our servant. And every year we fling open our church doors on Good Friday to celebrate how Jesus went through hell for us on the cross. But when Ascension Day, the crowning event of Jesus' ministry, comes around, Reformed worshipers increasingly keep the large oak doors firmly bolted.

  • When congregations think about changing their worship service(s), they usually start by asking two questions: "What are we going to change?" and "How are we going to change it?" Those are fair and logical questions. Yet, because of their focus on the future, they do not represent the healthiest beginning point. As strange as it may sound, the first principle of healthy worship change is to begin with the past. We need to ask, "What aren't we going to change?" In other words, what don'twe want to give up?