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March 2002

Child's Play

If you’ve been following this column at all, you know that I am very interested—and sometimes successful—in setting aside my artist’s ego every now and then to get other people involved in the creation of a worship visual. As hard as it is sometimes to work with a group of people with varying opinions, the result is almost always worth the extra effort. (And from what I read in your e-mails, some of you are doing way too much of the work yourselves.) For this cooperative project, why not recruit a group who are easy to work with: kids?

A Weekend at Taize: What is it that attracts people from around the world?

Several Chicago-area teens came to the youth pastor, wondering if they could try a new kind of worship a few of them had experienced. It was quiet and beautiful, they said, and it calmed their spirits. We’re so busy all the time, they said. Maybe instead of all the hype and fun in our youth group, we could try Taizé.

A classic TULIP bouquet: service plans exploring five doctrinal distinctives, Page 2 of 2

Week Four-Irresistible grace

Opening of Worship
For this Sunday, we used resources from our brothers and sisters inAfrica, starting with “Come, All You People,” arranged by John Bell(SNC 4). The two hymns were chosen for their focus on grace: “Amid theThronging Worshipers” (PsH 239) and “Marvelous Grace of Our LovingLord” (TWC 472).



Purim, Passover, Pentecost: Celebrating three Old Testament Spring festivals

We presented service plans for the three Old Testament fall festivals in Reformed Worship 61 (Sept. 2001). The three springtime Old Testament “religious festivals” are

Purim, Passover, Pentecost: Passover Script

[Family of four—Mom, Dad, two kids aged 8-12—enters the sanctuary. They are dressed for a summer outing and carry things for a picnic: lawn chairs, blanket, picnic basket. They also have Bibles.]

Child 2: [running ahead] Hey, everybody! I think this is the place.

< strong >Child 1: I don't think so. I think it’s further south.

The Fire, the Wind, the Water: A dramatic reading for Pentecost

We used this dramatic reading for Pentecost Sunday at All Nations Church last spring. The text, which comes entirely from Scripture, weaves Old and New Testament together in an attempt to enliven the historical context for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit ten days after the ascension of Christ. The reading replaced the usual New Testament Scripture reading and was followed by a shortened sermon.

Tongues of Fire: Highlighting the Pentecost scripture reading

Each year we try to include a fresh and biblical celebration of Pentecost in our worship. When one member of the planning team offered the idea of using clear glass cylinders with floating candles, our imagination shifted into active gear. These candles could help create the aura suggested by Acts 2, where “tongues of fire” seemed to float around the room.

Seeing visions, dreaming dreams: coming together for Pentecost

It was a Pentecost experience! On June 3, 2001, the members of four Lutheran and Reformed congregations in the Sherman Park neighborhood of Milwaukee gathered to worship God, proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ with voice, drum, tambourine, keyboard, and guitar . . . and with songs and prayers from Latino, Asian, European, and African cultures.

Snapshots of Worship in Cuba: A witness to Christ breaking down walls

How do our sisters and brothers live and worship in Cuba, a land stereotyped for decades as hostile to Christian worship and witness? What can we learn from those members of Christ’s family? The story of their interwoven life and worship challenges and inspires far beyond their borders.

A classic TULIP bouquet: service plans exploring five doctrinal distinctives, page 1 of 2

List the five points of Calvinism,” I asked the congregation one Sunday at the start of a service. “We often use the mnemonic TULIP to help us remember what they are, so let’s work our way down the list, starting with T.” “Total Depravity,” came back loud and clear, but after that the sound level decreased noticeably with each successive point, and I could see that most of the noise was coming from those with a bit—or more—of gray around the temples.

'Tis a Gift: Free--and nearly free--music resources

When deciding which sung prayers to put on the lips of God’s people each Sunday morning, worship leaders today have more choices than ever. Well over 200,000 songs are now available in print alone. But we’re entering a post-Gutenberg age; the Internet has become a significant source for worship music.

All Things Considered

They’d gathered in the pastor’s study early on that unforgettable morning because Tony Addamlee claimed she faced a horrendous three days at work and absolutely could not meet at night until at least next week, no matter how urgent. Morrie Tresshield said he was up to his ears grading papers and had trouble enough making the regularly scheduled meetings of the Liturgy Committee, much less some hastily called get-together to put out fires that didn’t exist in the first place—or shouldn’t have existed, he added.

Principles and Practicals: Cue cards for a crash course in leading worship

4/10 Working Group

After another dreadfully distracting prayer at chapel today (of the earnestly meandering sort), we talked about how wonderful it would be if everyone who leads worship on campus—in whatever capacity—could receive some rudimentary worship training. Not a seminar, not even a workshop—just some basics about speaking and singing, and a basic theology of worship too.

Give Us Peace Beyond Our Fear: Resources dealing with the pain of domestic violence

These worship resources are designed to encourage pastors and worship teams to bring the issue of domestic violence before the faith community. Doing so in a worship setting can raise awareness, offer help and healing to those who are hurting, and affirm the biblical standard for loving relationships with one another.

On Flags in the Sanctuary, Liturgical Powerpoint, and Paschal

Q. Since September 11, the United States flag has reappeared in our church sanctuary. But some people are offended and want to remove it. What is the issue here?
—Illinois

Songs from the Community of Taize

The opening of this article is taken from the Leader’s Edition of Sing! A New Creation (available from Faith Alive Christian Resources; 1-800-333-8300; www.FaithAliveResources.org). Others contributed to the notes on the three Taizé songs, which are also taken from that edition.

Drawn to the Mystery: A conversation with Brother Emile of Communaute de Taize

Brother Émile (last names are not used in Taizé) is a French Canadian from northern Ontario. We met under an awning in the garden at Taizé during a hot July day. Little groups clustered nearby. In a place that avoids titles and roles, Brother Émile does a number of things, including Bible studies with the young adults who come to Taizé for a week and with the international team of volunteers that stay for a year.

How to...Plan in the Style of Taize

Every Thursday afternoon just before 4:30, students, faculty, staff, and community people start moving toward the chapel at Calvin Theological Seminary for a time of prayer together. These contemplative services in the manner of the Community of Taizé, planned and led by students, have become for many an important mid-week Sabbath rest that provides, as one person said, a welcome time of “beauty in simplicity.”