March 2002

RW 63
Ascension/Pentecost
Reformed Worship issue cover

Articles in this issue:

  • 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.”

  • 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?

  • 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).

  • 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.

  • [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.

  • 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.

  • 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.