I remember well my boyhood ideas about the ascension of Jesus. Jesus went to the Mount of Olives, and, after lifting up his hands in benediction, he just "took off"—not like an airplane, but as if he were in an invisible elevator. He just started to go up, up, up, up—straight up, until he disappeared. If the disciples had owned telescopes and other twentieth-century technology, I assumed, they could have watched just a bit longer.
Articles in this issue:
CLAP YOUR HANDS, ALL YOU NATIONS
The celebration of Christ's ascension comes late in the year 2000, not until Thursday, June 1. Most churches will probably observe the event on the following Sunday, June 4.
In August I began a new job, teaching the history of art at a college in a city that is new to me. Every Sunday since I've been here I've visited a different church, looking for a new church home. The preaching and the service order tell me much about the life of the congregations I've worshiped with. Some churches also have informational brochures. Others have very friendly members who are happy to talk about their church. None of this is surprising. What has surprised me is how much I react to the look of the sanctuary and the objects in it!
The worship planning team has the mandate to plan services that enfold the whole congregation. However, often our good intentions to include children actually separate them from adults in worship. It may be easy to plan for children by including a children's sermon or a song for kids. A whole Sunday evening might be set aside for a special youth service. But because these activities suggest that the rest of the service is not for them, children can easily learn to feel separate.
Michael Morgan. Louisville: Witherspoon Press, in partnership of the Office of Theology and Worship of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and Columbia Theological Seminary, 1999. 182 pp. Hardcover $25.95; softcover $14.95.
Louisville: Geneva Press, 1999. 722 pp. Pew edition $14.95; accompanist edition (spiral bound) $29,95, Reviewed by Jorge A. Lockward, minister of music at West End Presbyterian Church, New York City
Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Press, 1999. 264 songs plus liturgical resources including psalm settings. $12.50.
Holy Spirit, Lord and Giver of Life:
At the beginning of time you moved over the face of the waters;
you breathe into every living being the breath of life.
Come, Creator Spirit, and renew the whole creation.
Sung Refrain (see p. 37 for music)
Come, Holy Spirit.
Come, Holy Spirit.
Come, Lord, come.
Q. Our worship coordinator has hccn stressing the importance of our visual appearance as we lead worship. She's been asking us for a lot more smiles. But I think she crossed a line when she said, "You can always tell when people are worshiping." I'm uncomfortable with this emphasis on appearance. What do you make of this?
Words are strange. Sometimes the longer you rthink about the use of a familiar word—or its spelling—the stranger it seems.