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.
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[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 its 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.